Tips for Selecting the Proper Lantern

Photography provided by Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights

A lantern not only lights the way for guests, but also makes a design statement. I think you will agree that the lantern/door images show an inviting entrance. Chad Graci of Graci Interiors offers tips for selecting the perfect lantern for your home.

Tip 1

When in doubt about your lantern style or what to even shop for, a good rule of thumb is to play to the architectural style of your home. Whether your house is modern or traditional, or even as specific as French or Gothic, style is one of the first, most simple indications of what should be your lantern’s overall look and feel.

Tip 2

Always consider scale. Nothing is worse than selecting a lantern that is too small for its location. Lanterns at an entry should announce that this is the primary entrance and be scaled accordingly. Conventional wisdom says that an entry lighting fixture should measure 1/3 to 1/4 the height of the front door. When in doubt, see if you can have a full-scale printout made from your manufacturer. If that’ s not an option, just blue-tape it out to be sure. Better to err on the side of larger here.

Tip 3

When deciding about exterior lanterns, clients often ask me about gas vs. electric. This really depends on the ambiance you want to create and the function of the lanterns. Nothing is more welcoming on a cold winter night that a pair of flickering gas lanterns flanking your front door. They instantly set a mood. Are you lighting a parking court or a secondary entrance? Perhaps then, one could consider electric for these scenarios. If you end up electric, be sure to have a dimmer installed so you can tailor your lighting needs to a specific event, holiday, or mood.

Tip 4

The finish of your fixtures is so key to getting lanterns to feel like a part of your home and its architecture. You really cannot go wrong with a classic copper lantern that will patina and age over time. Otherwise, natural metal finishes are best. Old iron or even aged steel can still give depth and permanence to your lighting choices, depending on your lantern’s overall style. The finish of the lantern does not necessarily have to match the hardware of your home; however, its feel and style should be consistent with other decorative and architectural selections throughout.

Tip 5

This tip goes back to the issue of scale. The location of a lantern on your home will determine how much importance it gets. For example, you would not use the same size lantern at the entry that you would perhaps on a second-floor balcony. I’d suggest a size smaller for these lesser locations. Larger works better in a more prominent architectural location.

Tip 6

Bevolo offers a convenient service where you can download a photo of the exterior of your home, and they will provide lantern options that best suit your needs. Visit for more information.

See more of Chad’s work at or on Instagram @graciinteriors

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