Beautiful Neutral Lantern Decorating Ideas for Your Patio

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Do you own a lantern that you couldn’t resist buying, but now you’re trying to find the perfect home for it? Well, today I’m sharing beautiful neutral lantern decorating ideas for your patio as part of our monthly blogger Pinterest Challenge!  

Neutral rustic Moroccan style lantern with pillar candle on outdoor patio with blue swirl pillow and plants in background

The Pinterest Challenge

The vignette you’ll see below is part of a Pinterest Challenge hosted by the lovely Cindy from County Road 407. On the fourth Tuesday of each month, Cindy challenges a group of us bloggers to create our own interpretations of a single photo. It’s like a music remix, but for pins!

Pinterest Challenge Blog Tour

The whole purpose is to give you some motivation to bring your pins to life. Each blogger has her own unique style, just like I’m sure you do.

If you came here by way of Christy at Our Southern Home, welcome! Don’t you love the Southern charm and elegance of her home? Her home tour is simply stunning!

Don’t forget to check out all the other amazing ideas from my fellow bloggers at the end of this post.

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. For more information, please see my disclosures.

The Inspiration: Neutral Lantern Decor Ideas

Our inspiration this month came from Kelley Nan in her Shades of Summer Home Tour.

Kelley’s neutral home decor has such a breezy and beautiful style. You really should visit the whole post to see how her lantern fits into the broader picture.

Lantern decor on hearth from Kelley Nan

Below, you’ll see how I used Kelley’s photo as a starting point and took some liberties with the setting and accessories.

The Big Three Elements

Since every home has a different layout and aesthetic, I always use a little creativity when working from an inspiration photo.

In this case, I borrowed three main elements from Kelley’s lantern decor:

  1. The Candle — These days, you can decorate a lantern with any number of objects, including shells, ornaments and florals. However, I stayed true to the definition of a lantern as “a portable protective case for a light” (Merriam-Webster).
  2. The Hearth — I love the flagstone hearth in Kelley’s vignette, so I chose to use our outdoor stone fireplace to mimic the effect.
  3. The Moss — Even when decorating with neutrals, I find a little pop of color, especially an organic element like greenery, makes the scene complete.

Is it just me, or does “The Candle, the Hearth and the Moss” sound like a movie title?

Lantern Decorating Ideas for an Outdoor Patio

Lantern on fireplace hearth with Moroccan pillow and greenery in background

The biggest difference between my lantern decorating ideas and the Pinterest photo is the outdoor setting. Let’s take each of the elements and talk about some of the details, shall we?

The Lantern

In this vignette, the lantern gets a private room with its name on it and a special hair and makeup crew. It’s the star of the show.

Neutral lantern with flameless pillar candle on outdoor fireplace with blue swirl pillow in background

There are umpteen choices you have when it comes to lantern styles. Just take a stroll through the aisles of Hobby Lobby or Pier 1, and you’ll wonder how any home exists without lanterns.

When choosing a lantern, you’ll want to decide whether you want a vintage look, Moroccan style, or mid-century modern feel, just to name a few.

I recently sewed a few pillows with Moorish patterns for our patio set, so I wanted a slightly Moroccan lantern to complement my decor.

Moroccan style lantern with Moroccan pillows on patio furniture in background for outdoor lantern decorating ideas

Below, you’ll get a sense of just how many different styles you’ll find these days when shopping for a lantern (scroll right).

The Candle

When you have pre-school aged kids, you grow to love flameless candles.

I once thought Pottery Barn had the market cornered on flameless pillar candles with the dancing flicker movement. Not so, my friends…

When I hosted a bridal shower with DIY decor for my niece, I discovered a very affordable battery-operated candle set with the same flickering phenomenon.

I did say this was a neutral lantern decorating post, so I stuck with a simple ivory candle for my lantern. However, you can find a wide variety of neutral textures and designs in flameless candles these days.

Shop for Lantern Candles

For seasonal decor, especially in the fall or winter months, you could easily incorporate color for your light source. However, my preference is always to add my color with a filler around the candle or florals on top of the lantern.

The Hearth

Remember how I mentioned that a little burst of color can make a neutral scene more interesting?

Neutral lantern on white stone hearth outdoors with plants and greenery in background

Since I have light-colored stone around our outdoor fireplace, the neutral lantern could easily get a bit lost. To combat the sea of white, I used one of my newly-sewn pillows and a trio of plants near the hearth.

It’s worth mentioning that this particular lantern is quite tall. Anything shorter would’ve ended up looking squatty by my fireplace. By the same token, this lantern would look gargantuan on a mantle.

My Goldilocks lantern looks juuuust right in her spot on this hearth. In the sweltering Houston summer, she’ll replace the fireplace as mood lighting for our outdoor soirees. (And by “soirees,” I mean eating burgers on the patio with the boys.)

The Moss

Time to fess up. I didn’t actually use moss in my lantern. However, I did incorporate a small candle wreath with faux greenery. It’s the green that matters.

Greenery in moroccan lantern with pillar candle sitting on fireplace hearth outdoors

You’ll notice a different feel with the fern in the background (above) versus the blue pillow (below).

Lantern decorating ideas with blue pillow accent or greenery for outdoor decor

In another challenge, you can see more of my ideas for patio decor with specific tips and tricks if you’re interested.

More Thoughts on Decorating with Lanterns

The wonderful thing about lanterns is that they carry you through to every season! I made decoupage flower pots to match my decor, and they perfectly complement my lantern.

I also made this easy Christmas lantern decor in just under 10 minutes using real and faux items I already had.

Red lantern with mix of greenery, pinecones, and ribbon decorated for Christmas
Decorated Christmas Lantern

Try decorating your lantern with some of these variations, and follow my Lantern Decor Pinterest Board for more inspiration. You can even make a DIY lantern if you feel so moved!

  • Candle Cluster: For extra wide lanterns, consider using a trio of candles instead of one large pillar candle. Add greenery, pebbles or other filler for contrast.
  • Flower Crown: Give the top of your lantern some “big hair” with a crown of flowers or an asymmetrical cascade of flowers down one side. You can add ribbon, berries and/or ornaments to the tops of the lanterns, depending on the season.
  • Green Belt: A favorite of weddings, this technique turns the lantern into a table centerpiece surrounded by a wreath of greenery and floral stems.
  • Sparkly Beacon: Replace the candle with string lights and greenery or pine cones. Watch your lantern sparkle.
  • Stair Climber: For a special event like a wedding reception, line lanterns up along the edges of a staircase to illuminate a path.
  • Twins: Tall, skinny lanterns often find strength in numbers. Try pairing tall and short twin lanterns together on one side of a fireplace, mantel or front porch.
  • Hanging Out: Remember, sometimes lanterns can hang instead of sit. Lantern sconces make great accents for both indoor settings or outdoor decorations.

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Lantern decorating ideas for outdoors

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I hope you enjoyed these lantern ideas. Your next stop is Paula at Virginia Sweet Pea. You won’t want to miss Paula’s exceptional collection of vintage items!

Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. This is so beautiful. I am a bit in awe of having an outdoor fireplace. In Canada that would add many days to the outdoor schedule. Your decorating style is gorgeous.

    1. Thank you, Leanna! It’s a bit ironic that we have an outdoor fireplace since it’s always some degree of HOT here in Houston, Texas. The prior owners built the outdoor area, so I can’t take credit for the design. However, we do love making s’mores out there when it gets slightly cool here.

  2. Hi Crissy!
    Your lantern looks so pretty on your outdoor hearth. I hope to have an outdoor fireplace built with the brick left over from building our house one day. I love all the ways you styled it and enjoyed your list of thoughts on decorating with one. Hope your week is going well!
    >>> Kim

    1. Thank you so much, Kim! We have really enjoyed using our outdoor space. It’s especially nice in the winter to make s’mores. I hope you’re doing well also! Thank you for stopping by!

    1. Thank you, Michelle! I have really enjoyed experimenting with my photography, and it’s a high compliment coming from you, my friend.

  3. Your lantern looks perfect in its outdoor setting, Crissy! I love it with your pillow or with just the greenery You are so lucky to be able to grow plumerias down your way – really pretty!

    Enjoy your summer patio with your family,
    Barb 🙂

    1. Thanks, Barb! I’m amazed that you noticed the plumerias! They are my little treasures and not just for their beauty. A dear family friend gave some to my mom before he passed away, and my mom handed some down to me. They are the most beautiful tropical plants when they bloom!

      Thanks for stopping by, and big hugs to you and your family as well!

  4. Absolutely stunning post! There is so much to love here! So funny, our lanterns our similar and we used the Godilocks reference!
    I am pinning away your beautiful photos. What a dreamy outdoor space!

    So happy to join you for this challenge. Happy summer!

    1. Thank you, Amber! Yes, we were on the same page with our lantern metaphors! Ha! Thanks for stopping by and leaving such sweet words. Have a great rest of your summer!

  5. Crissy, love your pretty lantern on the outdoor fireplace hearth. It’ so warm and inviting. The pillows are wonderful, add color and pattern and contrast. Would love to spend time on your patio. Great tips and suggestions for styling a lantern. Wonderful to be on another hop with you.

    1. You’re so kind, Carol. Thank you! I’d love to host you on our patio any time, my friend! It’s been a fun hop, and I’m thrilled to be doing it with you again.

  6. I love your extensive list of creative lantern ideas, Crissy! They really are one the most flexible decor items to own! Everyone should own one…or two…or three;)

    1. I totally agree, Lora. One can never have too many lanterns. Ha! I’m already becoming crazy plant lady. Maybe I’ll work on becoming crazy lantern lady, too. Thanks for visiting!

    1. Thank you very much, Janet! I’m so glad you enjoyed my little lantern categories. LOL! I fell in love with those fabrics, and it only took me a year to finally sew some pillows out of them! I appreciate you stopping by.

  7. LOVE your post, my friend! Your use of the lanterns and your outdoor hearth are very reminiscent of Kelley’s photo… and i love the two photos that show the difference of the fern vs the pillow in the background! Pinned to two boards!

  8. I love your Goldilocks lantern and how it turned out just right! The styling outside with that fun pillow looks so summery and cool. Even with hot temps and humid days, it makes it seem cooler outside. Thanks so much for joining us!

    1. Ha ha! Thanks, Cindy! Yes, anything to make it feel cooler outside!

      You are such a hero for putting this challenge together each month. I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the creativity. Your four lantern looks were fabulous and give me lots of ideas. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to do with a lantern, so it’s good to give us options. I hope you have fun traveling this summer. Looking forward to our next challenge!

    1. Thanks, Christy! The fireplace does come in handy to make s’mores when it’s cool outside…or when you need a hearth for a lantern. Ha! Thanks for stopping by! It’s been a fun hop.

  9. Crissy, Your style is so pretty. I love your lantern and how you styled your hearth. So happy to be hopping with you. Have a great Tuesday!

    1. Thank you so much, Terrie! It’s been such a fun challenge. I really enjoyed your DIY lantern, too. Can’t wait for the next challenge! Have a nice week.