How to Decorate Outdoor Spaces with Lanterns in 15 Minutes

24th Jun 2020

How to Decorate Outdoor Spaces with Lanterns in 15 Minutes

With the relaxation of lockdown and the prospect of beautiful warm summer evenings, we can start to think of inviting friends and family for food and drinks in a socially-distanced garden setting. And after so long, it makes sense to push the boat out and give your outdoor space a bit of a wow factor. The great thing is, with nylon lanterns from The Paper Lantern Company, plus some of our White Outdoor Lantern Lights (or some outdoor Christmas lights from your loft or garage), plus a bit of imagination, you could create a magical look in minutes!

We used

  • 21 x 16” (40cm) and 8 x 12” (30cm) Nylon Lanterns in a mix of White, Lilac and Fuchsia
  • 7m of low-voltage outdoor LED festoon lights with the bulbs 50cm apart
  • 15m of low-voltage outdoor LED Christmas lights (our 13m White Outdoor Lantern Lights are the perfect alternative!)
  • Step-ladder
  • Tree in the garden


  1. Hook the lights up across your garden or outdoor space, using walls, fence posts, or (as we did) a helpfully-positioned tree.
  2. Ensure the lights reach a suitable indoor plug socket.
  3. Make up your lanterns and hang them from your lights using the ‘C’ hook in the centre of the lantern.
  4. Open some beers and fire up the barbeque.
  5. As dusk falls, turn on the lights and await the reaction from your friends.

Outdoor Nylon Lanterns

With a range of colours to choose from, you can select any colour combination you like. We went for an equal mix of White, Fuchsia and Lilac – remember that nylon lanterns are more robust than paper so you’re going to be able to use them more often and for lots of events. We used mainly 16” (40cm) but added a few 12” (30cm) where space was a bit tighter under our tree. We didn’t use any 20” because the height of our lights meant people could bang their heads, but if you’ve the space then 20” are really impressive. 16” also meant that one could hang over each bulb of the festoon lights we had (the bulbs are 20” apart on ours).

Festoon Lights

If you’ve got festoon lights or can borrow some, they are simple to use because a lantern fits over each bulb. Make sure they’re low-voltage, safe and suitable for outdoor use. Ours had three LEDs in each bulb making them really bright. They also produced no heat so there were no safety issues. The plug needed to be used indoors so we ran the lights from a socket in the kitchen, out of the back door, up a drain pipe and across the garden where we tied them to a tree on the other side.

The lanterns then just hang from the lights using the ‘C’ hook that is at the top of the wire insert inside each lantern.

Christmas Lights

If you haven’t any festoon lights, or if like us you wanted to make more of an impact, outdoor Christmas lights work really well. Ours had lots of small bright berry-like LED lights, and until now had only ever been draped along a yew hedge each December. Alternatively our Outdoor Lantern Lights are ideal if you don't have any already.  We attached one end of the lights to a small hook on the window frame of the house, ran it round our tree, and then up to an upstairs bedroom window where it could be plugged in to an indoor socket. It did mean however that we had to turn the two sets of lights on in two different places, but we got over it.

As with the festoon lights, the lanterns hang easily from the lights using the ‘C’ hook in each one. To be honest the Christmas lights gave more flexibility than the festoon lights, because you aren’t restricted by the position of the bulbs; and the twinkling effect of the extra Christmas lights looks really pretty when it gets dark. We tried to line up the lanterns to get more than 1 light above it, but it became a bit fiddly so we didn’t try too hard and the result is still really impressive.

The Result

For just a few minutes effort and a small outlay, we think the result is really impressive. We threw some bean bags down and took full advantage of a balmy summer night to have some good company, beers and food until late…