Using Old Lanterns In Rustic Decor

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Vintage barn or railroad lanterns come in many shapes, sizes and colors and make great accent pieces to your rustic decor.

There is just something warm about the look of a worn lantern that once lit the way for a man hard at work.

When I first purchased this barn lantern, it was covered in so much grime I wasn’t even sure of the color underneath.

It cleaned up nice though and even the glass is now crystal clear.  The lantern is now in fine shape to display in a house or cabin!

You can also find lanterns with different color glass.

I picked up a small black railroad lantern that was missing the glass completely.  Luckily, it’s not hard to find replacement glass and I purchased a red globe to put inside.

I love the look:

Here are some ways that you can decorate with old lanterns:

This display was actually used at a rustic wedding.  The rusted lantern works perfectly here!

A Beach Cottage has the right idea by hanging this cool lantern from the door knob.  The vintage door makes a perfect backdrop for the worn lantern.

This lantern from Pure Style Home looks so pretty against all the blue.

A simple collection of lanterns hanging from a wall or beam would make quite a statement on their own.  The varieties of shapes, sizes and colors would make for an interesting grouping.


A little cubby is a great place to tuck an old lantern with flowers and a candle!


I love the white on white!  With white being a popular shabby chic color, I can picture this lantern in all kinds of rooms!

Have you collected any old lanterns to use in decorating?  Have you been inspired to start?  Let me know your thoughts!

Happy Decorating!

I'm addicted to crafting and decorating my downtown urban loft and up north rustic cabin. Read more about me.
  1. Hi there, I love lanterns! I actually just got two at a thrift store yesterday! Curious they are a copperish color and I’d lke to make them a shabby chic white! What do you suggest? Thanks laura

    1. I would probably paint it with enamel paint and then once it was dry sand it off lightly in parts so that some of the coppery color showed through. This would give it an aged look but also give you your white.

  2. I have three of lamps that are similar to the above. What do you pay for similar models.

  3. “that once lit the way for a man hard at work”? Lots of women have worked by lanterns as well 🙂

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