Saturday, June 7, 2008


I have always appreciated the look of a lantern or two at the front door of an architecturally classic home, especially if the lantern is gas lit. My favorite look is two lanterns that flank the front door, but I also appreciate a single lantern above the door, if space and architecture do not allow for two. I love the current trend to make the lanterns slightly oversize.

Tradd Street Lanterns, from Carolina Lanterns

The angle of this picture only shows one lantern, but there is another one on the other side of this door.

I saw this home in Charleston, and thought it was a unique way to have two lanterns flanking the front door.

A classic Georgian townhome in London has a lantern above the front door. I see this quite frequently in Atlanta.

This Charleston home only has one lantern by the door; I took the picture because I liked the door, and did not notice the single lantern until writing this post.

Lanterns flank the gate of this home in Charleston.

A few years ago, I was in a showhouse in Atlanta, and noticed that they had a lantern in the family room, instead of a chandelier. I thought this was striking and so beautiful. Since then, I have seen lanterns used inside with increasing frequency. Perhaps it is a trend, but I love the look it gives a room.

Interior design by Sarah Richardson, photography by Stacey Brandford, via Design Smack (oh, how I miss this wonderful blog!). A lantern is perfect in this space.

Interior design by Michael Smith, via Cote de Texas. I think lanterns look particularly good over casual dining spaces.

Interior design by Nathan Egan, via Habitually Chic. This lantern hangs quite low, but works perfectly because it is centered over the hall table.

Interior design by Kimberly Seldon. I love this picture, but can never quite tell where in the house this is located. I imagine it is a center hall, seen from a side hallway.

Interior design by Michael Smith, via Cote de Texas. This lantern is very large in scale, and quite elaborate for a lantern.

Interior design by Michael Smith, via Cote de Texas. Michael Smith clearly loves to use lanterns in his design work!

Interior design by S. Gambrel, via Mrs. Blandings. I love this lantern, and also find it interesting that it is hung almost all the way to the ceiling. Perhaps lanterns are a good solution for ceilings that are not high enough for a large chandelier.

Another picture from the portfolio of S. Gambrel, via Mrs. Blandings. The color of these lanterns is the perfect complement to the scheme of this hall. There is something about a hall with lanterns that reminds me of the campuses of Princeton and Rice University.

Traditional Home magazine. That's it, I am going to put a lantern above my breakfast table. Isn't this an inspirational photo? I love the lantern, how it picks up on the color of the chairs. I am also enamored with the French doors and windows off the kitchen.

A home on the market in Houston, via La Dolce Vida.

From Traditional Home magazine, via Red River Interiors. I think that lanterns look beautiful in double height entries.

Traditional Home magazine, via Red River Interiors. Well, maybe a lantern looks good with a regular height entry as well!

Traditional Home, via Cote de Texas. This is one of my favorite pictures from recent months. Since I have young, messy kids, I do not think it would be practical, but I am not sure how practical it is for me, but I am saving it for my file! The lantern is the perfect lighting in this area.

It is less common to see a lantern in a formal dining room, but this one appears to be at a beach house. I can see how a lantern would be a good foil to the formality of a typical dining room. Via Red River Interiors.

Interior design by Ashley Whittaker, via Peak of Chic.

Ashley Whittaker also seems to like to use lanterns in her designs. Here is a boy's room designed by her, with a cheerful red lantern. Via Peak of Chic.

The focus of this picture is not the lantern, but it is what I focused on! Via My Notting Hill. I seem to have a weakness for green hued lanterns.

A lantern sets this room off beautifully, in a home designed by Atlanta architect Bill Baker.

Another entry with a lantern...again, over a center table. Interior design by Suzanne Kasler, from House Beautiful.

The outside lantern is clearly an enduring feature, as it is functional and classic. Do you think that interior lanterns are a trend whose time will come and go? As I am only a casual observer of design, I do not have the context to make that judgment. All I know is that it is a design feature that really captures my eye!

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  1. i don't have your email address, so i posted a picture for you on my blog. by all means, hang a lantern over your table- i couldn't be more in love with them right now...

  2. I too am loving lanterns and wish I had room for one inside my house. I love them inside and outside & it sure looks to me to be a classic thing on the interior too. I'm an avid reader of Traditional Home & they show them all the time. Always catches my eye too. All those over-sized lanterns are just so stunning. I would love to find just the right spot for one.

  3. rhoda- i bet you do have room to hang one in your home!

    people tend to think they need high ceilings to hang a big dramatic fixture (and it's true, that often helps), but even low ceilinged rooms can accommodate a large fixture, as long as there is a stationary piece of furniture under it- usually a dining table, coffee table or center table. chairs, obviously, would not be the right piece of furniture for under a low fixture.

    personally, i LOVE a lantern or chandelier hung low over a dining or center table (at, or just above eye level when standing). something hung over a coffee table should be higher, but still you don't need full headroom clearance under it- unless you have people dancing on your coffee table- in that case, you probably aren't worried about your decor so much anyway!

  4. Maison...I see the beginning of a maison21 post on lighting. Please??? Let's have the maison21 input (with illustrative pictures, of course) on the rights and wrongs of ceiling lighting.

    Everyone needs to look at M21's picture of his breakfast room with the stunning lantern. Do you still have this lantern, or has it been replaced with something else?

    Thanks for stopping by, Rhoda. I'm off to check your blog.

  5. Love all these lanterns - both inside and out. Just added you as a link too - thanks! Michele

  6. I am a lantern lover too. I just put one on my outdoor room post for tomorrow I love them so. Inside, outside, on the wall, above the table, anywhere! I use them a lot.

    I agree with Maison21 that you can put a large one above a table in any room. I am not sure on the whole trend thing, but lanterns have been around forever so even if someone declares them "out" I think if they fit the style of your decor and home, I'd use them and keep them!

    Thanks for your comment today, I agree the key to contentment is simply wanting what you have, and even then, holding that with an open hand.

    Great post, love those lanterns!


  7. Thanks for stopping by!

    I should say I just bought a new light fixture in recent months over my DR table & that's where I probably should have put a lantern, but I do love the one I got. But, I did just add a pretty rustic wood & iron candle lantern over my outdoor patio table, so that will have to curb my lantern enthusiam for now.

    I do stop by Joni's blog pretty often & she has wonderful, gorgeous taste. I could only hope to do French or antiques as well as she does. I totally agree though that mixing in antiques is the way to go. I'm from Atl. so know all too well the high-end antiques stores that are there (that I definitely can't afford!). I would frequent Lakewood and Scotts for much better prices. Sadly, Lakewood is gone, but I found 2 of my best French pieces at Scotts antiques several years ago. You need to go there if you haven't already!


  8. Me again! Just read your comment on my black painted furniture post. Really painting furniture is so easy. Don't fear! That gray color you mentioned sounds like it would be perfect for your French buffet...go for it. As far as the Liquid Sandpaper, it deglosses the surface so that the new paint will stick, but if you don't have a lot of poly on there to begin with, it's probably not an issue. But, just to be safe, I'd use the LS, it couldn't hurt. I used it over my kitchen chairs that had a bit of shine from the old poly and the new paint has stayed on with no problems. I've got an old dresser I'm about to paint, looking for the perfect gray-green.


  9. I love the lantern look, and you showed some great examples. And of course if you get the go-ahead from m21, that's the ultimate stamp of approval!


  10. The Smith and Gambrel rooms are, of course, my favorites. I have a really, ridiculously large lantern in my front hall. When I bought it, the dealer, Christopher Filley said, "Patricia, you can't use that your ceilings are too low." If you are taller than 6 feet, you have to walk around it; fortunately, most people, including my husband, are under 6 feet tall. I adore it.

  11. I love them when hung over the table, they look awesome

  12. Beautiful pictures! I love lanterns, especially outside Georgian archtiecture. They have a nice old-fashioned feel which is my favourite - polished and clean, and not too fussy. Thanks for the mention, you're too sweet. I suscribe to your blog and every new post is like a little present ;)

  13. Great! I have been dying to visit Charleston, now I know why...so much to oooh and ahhhh over!

  14. such a lovely blog!
    I love lighting so your post today was a treat.

  15. This has to be the best post ever!!! It really puts in perspective how versatile they are - use them indoors, outdoors - dressy, or not. Just beautiful. I can't think of a favorite image - they are all wonderful and makes me want to run and buy a lantern right now. Have you ever seen the French antique ones? Those are my favorite ones (Natch!)

  16. Ronda - thanks for the sweet comment!!!!!!! much appreciated!

  17. Thanks for the comments!

    Emily, you are missed.

    I have always been inspired by lanterns, but it reached a fever pitch when I visited a friend's house last month and saw the beautiful lantern in her front hall. She said it came with the house, and it was just about the only thing she kept. It was green in hue, and the walls of her small entry were the same green, and it looked perfect.

  18. I have plans to do a lantern fixture over my dining room table because I love them so much! Great post and wonderful examples of this fixtures versatility.


  19. I love lanterns too and seem to see them everywhere. But for me, I love them most at a front door, or in a grand entrance, or a central hallway. I'm not crazy about them over dining or breakfast tables, I don't know why. They just seem inappropriate. But my eye warms up to these things and in two months I will be wanting one. Funny how tastes change, even in ourselves, as we are exposed to more.

    A great collection of photos. I wish I were so organized!! Great post S!

    Terri xoxo

  20. I think they look fabulous, especially over a casual dining table, which Michael Smith seems to do to perfection. Charles Edwards (http://www.charlesedwards.com/) does some really great pagoda style lanterns that I'd love to use one day.

  21. I hope to switch the two lanterns on each side of my front door to gas one day but until then I just have to dream! I have been thinking of adding a lantern on the interior of my home and now aftering seeing all these wonderful pics I simply must have one.....somewhere!!!!! Thanks for inspiring me :o)

  22. The trick is getting the right size.... I didn't, damnit.

    Bigger, in this case at least, is better.

    Great photos and idea for a post!

  23. Wonderful posting! Another fan of lanterns here too! And each of the photos just proves how versatile these lights can be in any room or home! And my favorite photo is the one with the breakfast nook -- the same one that you like! Isn't it cozy and charming -- just right for a drinkie and a great decor book! Thanks for sharing all these inspiring photos!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  24. Thanks for the comments. I have been collecting these pictures in my computer files for some time!

    Suzy, I forgot about Charles Edwards lighting. I am going to be in London this summer, and I plan to stop by Charles Edwards antique shop.

    E&E - although I know what I like, I usually employ the services of a designer when I make big purchases because I am not good with scale! I usually tend to get things that are either too big or too small for the space. I would probably be too timid to go big...unless someone told me it was the right thing to do!

    Teacats - I adore that picture. I can completely imagine sitting on that window seat, sipping a cup of tea, reading the morning paper. I can also imagine my 5 year old spilling spaghetti sauce all over it! I like the window and the lantern, though, and this is what I will keep in mind.

  25. Most enjoyable posting! Lanterns are the new chandeliers.

  26. I just did a lantern post too- but mine were more decorative- I love your different take on lanterns and how you went in a totally different direction w/ the hanging ones...love the pictures you provided too! Thanks for the lovely post!

  27. these made my heart sing - thank you!

  28. Hello, & THANK YOU for a FABULOUS read just now! I found you quite by "accident" (am relatively "computer illiterate"!), while I was TRYYYYING to find some VERY LARGE lanterns for outdoors ~~~ frustration w/ "google" led me to FINALLY write down "designer lanterns" and, well, HERE I AM! What a stroke of luck ~~~ so DELIGHTFUL! I am not a "blogger" (I could never figure it out, I'm sure!), but I am "Mom of a German Shorthair" on HGTV's Rate My Space. I hope it's OK to return tomorrow to "back-read"! Thank you for the delightful company while my husband is in DC on business!!! Warmly, Linda in AZ


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