1. Illuminate Your Outdoor Kitchen
Make cooking (and dining) as the sun fades a more pleasant experience by adding a cluster of hanging lanterns above your outdoor kitchen area. On this patio, lights are wired for electricity, making it easy to turn them on with the flick of a switch. If you’d like to add wired lighting to your pergola, be sure to choose lights that are approved for outdoor use and hire an electrician to do the installation. For maximum mood control, install a dimmer switch too.
3. Get the Garden Glowing With Solar Lanterns
Adding a touch of glowing light to the garden is a lovely way to enjoy your outdoor space after hours — but wiring lights all the way out into the yard can be costly. Skip the hassle and hang up solar lanterns instead. They save energy, and some of the new versions (like the solar glass lanterns shown here) are so pretty you’d never guess they weren’t electric.
4. Pair With String Lights to Keep the Dinner Party Going
When you’re hosting dinner alfresco, string lights overhead are a no-brainer. But when the light really starts to fade, it helps to have some additional lighting at the table level as well — and that’s where lanterns come in. Unprotected candles will blow out in the breeze, but hurricane lamps will keep your candles safely aglow until the last plate is cleared.
5. Linger on the Porch by Lantern Light
Hanging out on the porch can be a great way to catch up with friends and neighbors — but if your only light is a single glaring bulb overhead, it may not be a very appealing place to gather. Upgrade to more subtle lighting with a row of hanging lanterns (like the ones shown here) for soft, flattering light you’ll love sitting under.
6. Get Creative With a Cluster of Paper Lanterns
Basic paper lanterns of all sizes are festive and inexpensive. Hang one giant moon-like lantern or gather several together to make a unique light fixture on a covered porch. To light your paper lanterns, you can add a cord kit (if you have an outdoor outlet) or string lights, or look for battery-powered versions.
Make Things Magical With Paper Lanterns
7. Give Steps a Magical Glow After Dark
Make your outdoor stairs safer (and a lot prettier) after sunset by placing an illuminated lantern every step or two. If you have kids at home or are concerned about fire risk, opt for battery- or solar-powered lanterns instead of those made for candles.
8. Enchant a Tree With Hanging Lights
A tree adorned with glowing lanterns feels like something out of The Lord of the Rings. Create your own little Rivendell by hanging colorful glass lanterns at different heights from a tree in the backyard. Since the lanterns probably won’t be easily reachable, either have an electrician wire the lights or go with solar-powered lanterns.
Define your outdoor gathering space by positioning sturdy lanterns around the perimeter. If you have a wide porch railing, you can use that, as shown here. If not, simply place lanterns right on the ground around your seating area.
10. Light the Way With a Lantern-Lined Path
Get the mood going right from the start by flanking the path to your outdoor space with luminous lanterns. Hang them from posts designed for the purpose or place them on the ground where they won’t get kicked over. Test your setup at night, and add more lanterns if needed.