December 26, 2017
modern outdoor lanterns

12 Reasons Lanterns are Better than Lamps

Lanterns are a form of lighting that protects the source of light with a metal frame. Originally portable lighting that people carried to illuminate dark grounds and streets, now the most beautiful ones are permanently installed as street lights and as interior and exterior lighting fixtures on buildings and homes. Although they do the job of many other types of lamps and lighting fixtures, lantern style lighting does it with a flair that sets them apart.

Modern lanterns are kin to paper lanterns used in China, Thailand, the Philippines, England, and many other countries of the world where they are used for decoration and are worked into the theme of many festivals. Popular variations include sky lanterns, paper hot air balloons that contain a flame suspended at the bottom that are launched into the sky. While they make a beautiful spectacle, they are fire hazards responsible for major blazes and pose dangers to aircraft and to animals who eat their remains.

12 Reasons Why Lantern-Style Lighting Is Better Than Lamps

Unlike their fragile paper counterparts, copper lanterns are both safe and beautiful, which has made them extremely popular in home décor for at least a dozen reasons.


One. Their design has safety built in. The lantern frame, which may have four or more sides, were covered with a medal grid, animal horn, or now, most commonly, glass or plastic. Even though early lanterns used candles, the design was safer than using a naked flame so they reduce the risk of fire. Later versions used gas and then electric fuel. Gas versions often included a yoke mounting that made them safer in wind, as the mount kept the gas lines from breaking.

Two. They have a rich history. In colonial America, they were hung outside the door to illuminate the entry at a time when there was no street lighting. Even after public lighting was the norm, the lantern remained functional while adding an attractive touch to homes and buildings. Early streetlights used the concept of the lantern.

Three. Lanterns have a nostalgic factor that appeals to 21st century homeowners even though most homes up through the late 19th century did not have permanent exterior lighting. There are few examples of original early exterior lanterns around today as the materials were fragile, but the designs buried in company archives or captured in art or early catalogues are widely copied for their artistry. In the absence of many examples of fixtures, light manufacturers have adapted lighting styles known to be popular in the past to create authentic looks. Inside the home, electrified versions of lanterns, sconces, and chandeliers used in earlier times became popular in the early 20th century.

Pleasing Ambient Light

Four. The detail of lanterns makes them stand out. Some design elements are no longer needed for function but are interesting enough that they remain in modern renditions. For example, mushroom tops with holes in them were originally needed to vent heat and gasses, while the crisscross designs once protected costly glass. These features are pleasing to the eye and in the case of lattices, flourishes, and cutouts in the metal contribute to the beautiful patterns of light on the wall.

Five. A major reason lanterns remain popular is that the light they provide adds ambience to any setting. The geometric shapes of the side panels can also create interesting patterns on the walls and ceiling, especially when the light bounces off materials such as copper. They create a soft glow that is pleasing in any home.

Six. Soft lantern light is also appropriate to illuminate a piece of art or special décor piece. By coordinating the frame and colors of the art with the lighting fixture, the lantern can offer just the right amount and type of non-glaring light.

Versatile Lighting Options

Seven. Lanterns can be built in any metal. With the recent resurgence of copper in home decorating, the soft reddish-brown tone is popular, but they work in any metallic tone or color. Lantern & Scroll, which offers reproductions of lanterns that once graced the homes and streets of cities in the Southeast U.S., offers powder-coated options and mixed metal customization on many of its solid copper lanterns.

Eight. While lanterns are associated with the period homes of the past, they can be designed to match any décor not just those with traditional styling. Variations on lanterns have been popular throughout history, so there is a lantern style that will blend with any home whether it is an English cottage, a California bungalow, or neoclassical revival style . With roots in the past, they can appear very modern.

Decorator Touches Inside And Out

Nine. As lanterns were used in many variations in the last, there is no limit to the size of a modern reproduction. Whether you need a small version to illuminate a power room or a supersized one for a dining room, they are available in any scale.

Ten. Especially when constructed in larger sizes, lanterns become the focus of the room so that they become part of the its design. Regardless of size though, they become statement lighting that can enhance any décor.

Eleven. Once in the home, lanterns can decorated make them special for any occasion. Greenery can make them part of Christmas décor, while flowers can give them a fresh look for spring or summer.

Twelve. Lanterns are adaptable as many forms of lighting fixture inside and outside the home. You can light the yard with post/column mount lights, while using hanging, flush mount, yoke mount, or wall mount on the porch, by the doors, or on the garage in matching or complementary styles. The same principle applies within the home.

These 12 ideas of why lanterns make great lights inside and our touch upon just a few of the reasons that both residential and commercial customers alike flock to Lantern & Scroll for customized lighting design. While lanterns what and lamp or lighting fixture does, they do it with such style that they are often better than lamps and worth considering for your home or business.