Candle lanterns add ambience to any space, indoors or out. But they are perhaps most magical used for alfresco dining at dusk.

“They’re wonderful, because people can sit outside even if they don’t have outdoor lighting, and see each other while they have dinner or drinks,” said Janice Parker, a landscape architect in Greenwich, Conn. “They’re very atmospheric, and add that soft glow and flicker.”

Ms. Parker frequently uses candle lanterns, also known as hurricane lamps, to illuminate tables, seating groups and circulation areas outside, even when there is landscape lighting.

“You can use them to outline the edges of a terrace or a patio, and they look amazing when you put them around a pool, because they reflect in the water,” she said. “Multiples are good as focal points or on tables, but singles can really explain the landscape for people in the dark.”

  • Should you use the kind that take real candles or the ones with LEDs? Ms. Parker likes both, but pointed out that LED candles are “ridiculously handy,” because they eliminate the risk of fire, don’t leave a waxy mess and look almost as good as the real thing.

  • Should the lanterns match? Mismatched arrangements can be appealing but are difficult to get right, Ms. Parker said, whereas “you can never go wrong with having them all the same style.”

  • How large should they be? Indoors, lanterns should reflect the scale of the room, Ms. Parker said, but “outdoors there is no ceiling, so you can really go big.”


Pierced-porcelain lanterns with metal handles

$39 to $59 each at West Elm: 888-922-4119 or

Glass-and-metal lanterns with doors

$20 to $30 each at Jamali Garden: 201-869-1333 or

Powder-coated steel lantern with glass cylinder

About $43 to $62 at YLiving: 800-236-9100 or

Glass lanterns with rope handles

About $20 to $59 each at Pottery Barn: 888-779-5176 or

Rattan lanterns in three shapes

$198 each at Serena & Lily: 866-597-2742 or

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