Low Cost, High Impact: Paper Lanterns

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Here, strings of small paper lanterns are festive
We don't know why but we've been noticing a lot of paper lanterns lately. Sometimes white, sometimes brightly coloured, they're inexpensive and fun. Though they can read as beachy, we also find they're surprisingly versatile and fresh and work well in many settings from mid-century to shabby chic, from the dining room to the kitchen to the outdoors (though not if it's wet unless you've sprayed them with something). Here, we've rounded up some ideas of how to get the most in your own space...

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Arc light out of your price range? Try this lamp from Target. Swap out a bigger shade to give it more "oompf" and use it in your living room.

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[image via Elle Decor SA]
Since they're so inexpensive, hanging a few lanterns is possible. Even if only one is wired for light, by hanging others around it, you get a high impact look only a few pennies. It's a look that's definitely festive over a table...
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[image via Desire to Inspire]
...and adds a light and whimsical note to a dark space. You can work this look even if your ceiling isn't quite this high. Note how the line of dark below the chair rail and the dark furniture balances the cluster of lanterns so that you almost pop to the ceiling. Don't be afraid to mix different size lanterns.
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[Image via insidesign]
Sometimes you can find them in colours or patterns. This blue one is a great colour. Mixed in with green and echoed in the drapes and the sheets, you get nice pops of colour but it's also an easy look to change out as your look changes. Go for size for drama.

Party stores, stationary stores and Oriental Trading Company and Cost Plus are some resources. And, over on AT SF, there's a post on how to make your own folded paper lantern.

[opening image: Joel Zimmer's Flickr, with a Creative Commons License]