Once you have the major pieces of outdoor furniture in place, like a dining set and lounge chairs, it’s time to have fun with accessories and lighting. Namely, lanterns. And if you think that all you need is to buy a few citronella candles for the season and call it a day, we beg you to reconsider. Great outdoor lighting is just as important as beautiful interior lighting. In fact, we would argue that it’s even more important, because you have the opportunity to set the mood, whether it’s festive and party-ready for entertaining, or warm and intimate for a quiet night at home. Lanterns are a great way to achieve your desired look and feel, plus they make your space look more polished. And lanterns are those double-duty items that look gorgeous (and totally different) from day to night.
Gold Wire Brielle Hurricane Candleholder
If your outdoor decorating style is more glam than rustic, then these hand-welded geometric gold wire lanterns are for you. During the day, the metallic hue adds a sophisticated sheen to your patio, and at night, it casts a gorgeous glow on its surroundings.
World Market, from $20
Newport Teak Lantern
The clean lines and minimal design of this teak-and-stainless-steel lantern make it a natural choice for beach houses and vacation homes with a contemporary sensibility. Glass panels on the sides will keep flames glowing bright, and a drain hole in the bottom corner will keep it dry.
Frontgate, from $249
Inspired by century-old French gas lanterns used by train engineers, designer Jonathan Browning created these elegant brass versions that are sophisticated enough to use indoors or out. Try grouping different sizes together for a more visually interesting effect.
RH Modern, from $200
These beachy, blown-glass lanterns have a refined rustic vibe with their bronze finish and rope handles. They would look right at home on a backyard picnic table or on the patio of a lake cottage.
Pottery Barn, from $25
Pop! Candle Lantern Set
For a decidedly different take on the traditional look, check out this architectural set of metal-framed lanterns. The architectural design makes them a little more high design than typical lanterns, but the vibrant colors keep the look fun and playful enough for modern, family-friendly decor.
Aria Solar Lantern
The best way to keep lantern candles from blowing out on windy days? Skip them altogether and opt for a solar lantern. This gold metal lantern has an intricate fretwork overlay and, once the solar-powered bulb charges during the day, casts a gorgeous pattern on your outdoor table.
Joss & Main, $28
Bogotá Metal Garden Lantern
Sleek and sophisticated, these black metal garden lanterns belong on a swank urban rooftop patio or a modern poolside patio. Once night falls, candlelight should cast an interesting glow through the thin metal bars.
Carlyle Avenue, from $28