Choosing a Decorative Lantern for your Home

choosing a decorative lantern for your home
Image credit: RAZ Imports

Decorative Lanterns

I love lanterns! A lantern is a great spot to add just a little bit of seasonal decoration. It doesn’t require much in the way of supplies or time and it just adds that extra touch to any room. In this post, we will review some features to look for when choosing a decorative lantern for your home.

everyday lantern bow with neutral ribbons

Shopping for a Lantern

Here are the features and considerations that I look for in choosing a lantern.

  • Size
  • Construction
  • Simplicity
  • Glass or No Glass
  • Area lanterns will be used
  • Fillers


The size of your lantern depends on where you plan to place it. The one on my raised hearth is about 24.” If you plan to set one on the floor, you need about a 36″ or taller one.

Pairing different sizes of lanterns together can be very attractive. Foyers are great places for a collection of lanterns.

Carrie’s living area is open to the second story and has a ledge around the opening. She pairs huge lanterns in the corners and they are spectacular! I’ll look to see if I can find an image to share.

Lanterns range in size from 12″ to 48″ more or less. When ordering lanterns online, sometimes it’s really hard to decide what size you need. It’s helpful to keep a ruler or small tape measure handy so you can get an idea of the size of an item before you order. It’s discouraging to buy something and get home with it and discover that it won’t fit!

I have one particular lantern that is “thin” enough to fit on my mantel and sit there safely. That reminds, me, I haven’t decorated it in a while!


When looking at the construction of a lantern, you want something well-built of course. Some lanterns come with a door on the front, some have lift-off tops. Some just have open tops.

spring florals
Image credit: RAZ Imports

I like wood and metal myself. I stay away from fancy cutouts or metalwork. The more curlicues on anything, the more dusting you have to do!

Lanterns hanging from the ceiling are beautiful, but please be sure that the “ring” on top of the lantern is made securely and not just decorative.

hanging a lantern from the ceiling
Image Credit: RAZ Imports

For my purposes, I try to stick with lanterns that fit an everyday theme like natural or washed wood and metal.

Colored lanterns are pretty for certain occasions or holidays. A glittery gold lantern at Christmas is gorgeous….but for the most part, after the holiday is over you have to stash it somewhere until the next Christmas unless you have a very elegant event during the year. A 50th wedding anniversary comes to mind))) A matte gold lantern would be different.

Natural wood colors, black and white, or metals in copper, silver, pewter, and matte gold colors work great in almost any room all year long.

wood look battery candles
Image Credit: RAZ Imports


Glass or no glass in your lantern? It’s just a preference, I’m not opposed to either way. One con is of course that glass can break. A lantern with glass somewhat limits how you can decorate it.

decorate a lantern with florals and candles
Image Credit: RAZ Imports

For instance, you might want to use some leafy greenery or blooms in a decorative lantern that would extend out the sides of the lantern. You can’t do that if the walls are glass.

peonies and candle display
Image Credit: RAZ Imports

Areas To Place Lanterns

Some lanterns are made specifically for outside use, some are not. Just be aware when you purchase. Some metals can corrode in outside weather.

Tabletops, coffee tables, and bookcases are favorite places to display lanterns, especially those of smaller sizes. Grouping lanterns of a similar style but different heights is an easy way to create a focal point in your living area. Large lanterns are beautiful sitting on the floor in foyers, the base of stairs – almost anywhere you have room for them))

Be careful when displaying lanterns on your dining table, so that you don’t get carried away and obstruct your guest’s view. You don’t want to hinder conversation because they can’t see around your beautiful lanterns. Place a lantern on a stack of books, baskets, etc. Elevating them has a nice visual effect.

lantern with metal roof
Image Credit: RAZ Imports

You can even place a lantern inside a wreath! Just choose one carefully and secure it well. Here’s an example.

lantern hanging in an oval boxwood wreath
Image Credit: RAZ Imports

Fillers & Lantern Decor Ideas

The types of fillers or things you can use in your decorative lantern are just almost limitless. Here are a few just to start. Many items can be purchased from Trendy Tree.

I just want to say one thing about candles. Use only battery candles. I know, some lanterns are metal and open-topped but don’t do it. Never use real candles in a decorative lantern. Some outside lanterns may be candle burners, just be sure before you light up.

The variety and quality of battery candles are outstanding nowadays. You can get everything from tea lights to 12″ pillars and tapers. The candles have timers and remotes and many are made out of real wax. So invest in battery candles and stay safe, you’ll be glad you did)))

I hope this post has given you some food for thought when choosing a decorative lantern. Choose the best (quality-wise) lantern that you can afford and you’ll enjoy years of decorating it!

If you’re into crafting – decorating and re-decorating your lanterns can be loads of fun! Here are a couple of posts that I did on Trendy Tree making lantern toppers.

Now if you want to see some EXPERT lantern topper tutorials, browse these links to my friend, Julie Siomacco’s Southern Charm Wreaths page. You’ll be so jealous! You’ll want to try her tutorials for sure!

Purchase a Lantern

Here’s a link to my Amazon Shop. It contains several of my favorite lantern styles from RAZ Imports and Melrose.

More from my blog

Spring Lantern Ideas

How to Decorate a Lantern for Winter

Lantern Bow with Neutral Ribbons

Repurpose Reuse Refresh…a Damaged Boxwood Wreath

How to Keep a Fitted Sheet on the Bed


  1. I have a 3 ft. wood lantern almost exactly like the one towards the top of your page.
    I am trying to figure out how to decorate it for Christmas.

    1. Thank you for following, I appreciate it))) I was kind of pressed for time this year, So I just put a large 12″ pillar candle, some twigs of spruce/cedar in there with it and a red velvet bow on top…..quick and simple))

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