Lanterns are ceiling hung pendant fixtures that evoke the traditional shape of candle or gas lanterns that were widely used in pre-electricity times. The silhouette of a lantern is typically tall and narrow with candelabra style bulbs mounted within the frame. Sometimes glass is used in the outer frame to surround the inner bulbs while other times the those lights are open to the air. They are often used in entry ways or foyers and can be rather large depending on the ceiling height and dimensions of the entry way. Lanterns can also be weather-proofed for use outdoors, either in a hanging form or wall-mounted.
Colonial style lanterns take the form of inverted clear glass bell jars suspended by chains attached to a metal rim. Inside the glass form is a cluster of candelabra style lights. Traditional lanterns are usually cylinder shaped with diameters ranging from 8 inches to 30 inches or more wide. The small ones may have three lights and the large ones several tiers of lights with 15 lights or more. Certain manufacturers will make custom lanterns for special applications. Glass can be plain and clear, rippled water glass, or faceted for sparkle.
Lanterns in traditional style often have curvy metal details which hearken back hundreds of years. Simplified versions of these are transitional style. Contemporary style lanterns are stripped down even more, using straight lines, no ornamentation and cube or rectangle shapes. Elegant crystal lanterns enrich the spaces they are placed in. Wrought iron evokes Mediterranean style. Ornate gold-finished lanterns bring to mind European castles.
Craftsman style lanterns are period design elements that complement the decor of Frank Lloyd Wright style houses and bungalow dwellings. These lights are mostly square but some are cylindrical. They may have honey-amber-beige swirl art glass, other kinds of textured glass, or mica (for indoor use). Finishes include Antique Copper, Rust, or Verde.