Many hanging lanterns from the first half of the 20th century were humble by design, looking as if they'd been crafted by blacksmiths rather than machines.

Dangling from unadorned chains, their iron, bronze, or copper cages often had hammer marks, grillwork, even riveted seams reminiscent of those on medieval knights' armor. And fitted with earth-toned frosted- or textured-glass panels, their warm glow complemented the coziness of the Craftsman bungalows, Tudor cottages, and more modest Colonial Revival homes in which they were most frequently hung. Popularized by tastemakers of the time, such as Gustav Stickley and the Roycroft crafters, these rustic lanterns exemplified a back-to-basics design sensibility. They were the antithesis of late-19th-century Victorian chandeliers cast from gleaming brass, with highly ornamented outstretched arms.

Invite guests to "come on in" by putting back into service a vintage lantern like the amber glass one that I scored at a salvage yard (pictured). To keep costs down, search for a lantern that you can clean up and rewire yourself. It's an easy job once you get the parts.

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    Tools List

    • wire strippers
      Wire stripper
    • Phillips screwdriver
      Phillips-head screwdriver
    • lineman's pliers
      Pliers (heavy-duty chain pliers work best)

    Shopping List

    Deep Leaf cast-iron ceiling canopy in antiqued-bronze finish, including hanging loop and mounting hardware

    1½-by--inch plated steel chain in antiqued-brass finish

    2-inch brass socket housing (helps protect socket from the weather)

    Leviton medium-size porcelain keyless socket with die-cast cap and set screw-inch brass hanging loop with wireway

    1-inch threaded hollow brass screw 'nipple'

    Copper ground wire with attached ring (the safest bet for exterior lighting)

    Black standard lamp wire