How to Decorate With Chinese Lanterns


Traditional Chinese lanterns have been used for centuries to decorate homes, brighten festivals and ward off bad luck or spirits. Lanterns are made of paper or silk and come either in solid colors or decorated with symbols of health, wealth and good luck. They also commonly display pictures of dragons and cherry blossoms.

Step 1

Select the space where the lanterns will hang. For paper lanterns, you'll need an indoor space or a covered outside location. Outdoor locations will require the use of silk or plastic lanterns.

Step 2

Choose lantern colors that either match your party theme or that evoke something you wish to convey through your decor. For example, blues and greens are soothing, natural, harmonious tones, while yellow and orange encourage sociability and good cheer. Red is the color of celebration and good luck. White is associated with purity or mourning.

Step 3

Hang ceiling hooks for the lanterns, keeping in mind that Chinese decorating embraces simplicity and accent pieces, rather than clusters of items.

Step 4

Run power cords to the lanterns. Most large, individual paper lanterns don't come with a light socket included, so you'll need to purchase these separately at a hardware store. Alternatively, a string of Christmas lights works well as the light source for small lanterns. Glow sticks, sold in craft stores and outdoor gear stores, also work as a safe, temporary light source for Chinese lanterns.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use light bulbs over 45 watts in paper lanterns and be sure the bulbs do not touch any part of the tissue paper. Do not use candles or open flames in the lanterns, especially if it is windy or small children are around.

Things You'll Need

  • Ceiling hooks
  • Power cord
  • Light bulb (maximum 45 watts)
  • Christmas lights
  • Glow sticks


  • Paper Lanterns Guide: Everything About Paper Lanterns
  • Themed Home Decor: Chinese Decorating
  • Oriental Decor: Chinese Lanterns
  • The Hanging Lantern Company: Decorating with Chinese Lanterns
Keywords: Chinese lantern decorations, Chinese theme party, Asian home decor

About this Author

Susan King is a teacher with 23 years experience with all ages, grade levels and ability levels, including teaching in China. She has written a book, "The Road to Rebecca," about adopting from China, as well as a blog about teaching science. She graduated from Texas A&M University and has written for Demand Studios for six months.

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