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How to Decorate with Paper Lanterns

by Nina Makofsky

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Paper lanterns

Whether you prefer the cool sophistication of track lighting and ceiling fans or the eclectic, bohemian approach of handcrafted lamps and lighting, lighting design sets the tone and vibe of your home decor. With the wide diversity of home lighting styles available it can be challenging to choose which style you like the most. Paper lanterns, with all their many colors, patterns and sizes, offer a versatile choice for any room in your home. Decorating with paper lanterns adds form and function to your space. Check out the following ideas to create the perfect mood with paper lantern lighting in your home.

Decorating with Paper Lanterns:

  1. Survey your home to see which areas would benefit most from decorating with paper lanterns. Paper lanterns work best as ambient lighting or to set a mood with color and patterns. They do not provide enough light for studying or reading. Paper lanterns work well in indoor spaces as well as sheltered, outdoor spaces. You can also hang paper lanterns in gardens and on trees for special occasions, but you will need to bring them inside to keep them in pristine condition.

  2. Consider the array of colors and patterns available. A pair of simple white or cream paper lanterns against blue-grey walls has contemporary chic appeal, but when placed against a backdrop of bamboo and faded earth tones, it takes on an Asian-fusion look. A single bright or patterned paper lantern can serve as the focal point in an otherwise plain room, while a series of brilliant lanterns in layers of colors, sizes and patterns has an exotic look.

  3. Hang a few lanterns across a room to add dimension. They need not all be wired for light. Decorate a corner with paper lanterns strung at different heights or use miniature paper lanterns over party lights to frame a window or doorway or to outline the branches of a tree.

  4. Choose a type of fixture for the paper lantern. You can buy battery-operated and solar-powered paper lantern fixtures that avoid you having to connect them to any wiring. You can hang a paper lantern directly over the bulb on a fixture or purchase a cord kit for connecting the paper lantern to an outlet.

  5. Extend the look with other paper decorations. Paper lanterns look beautiful interspersed with paper parasols or fans. You can suspend bright tissue paper flowers from a paper lantern or create garlands of flowers attached to fishing line and hang paper lanterns from the line as well. An Asian tri-fold screen fitted with translucent paper can echo the colors, patterns or textures of a paper lantern.

Paper Lantern Tips:

  1. For a surprising effect at nighttime, use colored bulbs inside plain white paper lanterns.

  2. Use bulbs with low wattage to avoid fire hazards.

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