The magic of lanterns – 6 clever ways to use lantern-style pendant lights in your home

 Warm, inviting and deeply stylish – there’s nothing lovelier than a lantern-style pendant spilling soft buttery light into a room. They can also be pretty spectacular statement pieces. Here are some inspired ways to bring the magic of lanterns into your home…

There’s something immensely comforting about a lantern – something that goes very deep. The word ‘lantern’ comes from the Latin for ‘torch’ and people have been using them since antiquity. Put simply, a lantern is a portable lamp featuring some sort of casing that both protects the light source from the elements and makes the thing easy to carry and to hang. Early lanterns had a candle or oil-soaked wick housed in a protective enclosure, and all through the evolution of lighting technology, from kerosene lamps to Victorian gas street lights to electric pendants, that simple design – of a portable container with a light in it – has remained constant.

Today’s LED pendant lanterns, with glass panels usually set in metal frames, can be fashioned into all shapes, sizes and styles to fit any interior design aesthetic. But even the most elaborate contemporary lanterns still retain the essential charm and character of their historical predecessors: there’s a magical cosiness about the little box of light that we all just seem to love.

At Pooky we’ve taken the lantern concept in all sorts of directions, from the elegantly traditional (like the Markham, top) to the rather radical… Here are six ideas for bringing the magic of lanterns into your home…

1. The dinner table talking point lantern

A large, unusual hanging lantern makes a terrific dining room centrepiece . Go for something eye-catching, like the Borealis lantern with its decagonal design and 30 individual pieces of clear bevelled glass, and you’re guaranteed a talking point as well as a soft warm light that will flatter your guests. Naomi Clarke (aka @the_style_fairy) has done exactly that (above) – and as you can see, it provides a focal point for the room, bringing the space together.

(See more dining room light tips here.)

2. The instant-elegance ‘inverted cloche’ lantern

'Hydra pendant light

At Pooky we tend to rather disrespectfully refer to this type of lantern as a ‘bucket light’, but the more formal term is an ‘inverted cloche’. It’s a style that brings instant elegance to a space – sitting room, dining room, hallway, bedroom, anywhere really, The Hydra pendant light in blown glass and brass (above) has a touch of traditional French class, while a more contemporary take is the Valerie, (below) with its horizontal etched lines and nickel finish.

Valerie etched glass pendant with nickel fixings

3. The ‘warm welcome home’ lantern

Stella pendant light in clear glass (Image: Amazing Productions Ltd)

The Stella pendant light in clear glass with antique brass is a Pooky classic that admittedly pushes the concept of ‘lantern’ about as far as you can…. But hang one in the entrance hall and wow, what a gorgeous light to come home to! People put Stella in all sorts of places, but the hallway or porch it can set the tone for the whole house – as seen in the Channel 4 programme Old House New Home (above).

(See more ideas in our post: How to light an entrance hall)

4. The long kitchen island lantern

 Ramesses lantern in brass and clear glass

This is another innovative take on the lantern design concept: the elongated, multi-bulb lantern. The Ramesses lantern in brass and clear glass has a strong, powerful, possibly industrial vibe and is ideally suited to a kitchen island or bar: a worthy centrepiece for what is often the most important spot in a family home.

(See more ideas in our post How to light a kitchen island.)

5. The cosy corner lantern

'Dickens pendant lantern

Sometimes, you just want a classic lantern: something warm and comforting to spill soft light into a cosy reading nook or keep you company on a dark evening. The Dickens pendant lantern fits that bill perfectly: an elegantly tapered light that feels like a friend: and since it’s quite small it also works well in pairs or trios.


6. The sitting room showstopper lantern

Apollo lantern

The Apollo lantern is a big, bold showpiece, a really hefty glass piece in an antiqued copper frame with a 37cm diameter and four bulbs. This is where the lantern design wanders into chandelier territory: a seriously impressive light that can sit right in the middle of your most impressive room.

Inspired? Take a look at our collection of lantern pendants here – and browse all our ceiling lights here.

See also:

How to clean glass pendant lights 
How to light an entrance hall
Tips for lighting a dining room

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