How to
Make a Nautical-Inspired Lantern

A nautical theme is a timeless classic for just about any room of the house – even for an outdoor space. This theme incorporates elements of the sea, including boats and marine life. Blue, white and red are the main colors in the palette for a nautical theme, and one of the wonderful things about it is that you don't have to use obvious decorative elements to pull off this theme. With a few simple pieces from Pottery Barn, you can create a subtle yet beautiful nautical-inspired lantern to go along with the rest of your decor.

This nautical-inspired lantern ties into the theme by using rope, which is commonly used in sailing and boating. If you have other water-themed decor in the room, then this can fit in nicely so that you feel as if you're right by the sea. It also proves that a few simple pieces can make a big design impact.

This project uses flameless pillar candles for warm, subtle illumination, and you are welcome to use regular candles if you prefer. Flameless candles are some of our favorites because they are fireproof, and you don't have to worry about wind blowing out the flame. They also last a long time, going out only when it's time to replace the batteries. They flicker and dance just like a real flame so that you get to enjoy all of the same magic and ambience. Once illuminated, these candles create a soft glow that complements your nautical decor.

For this project, you can choose one of our large Pottery Barn Malta Lanterns. Select a silver, brass or bronze finish to go along with the rest of the decor in the room; each works equally well with the project's seafaring vibe. The combination of metal and glass is also ideal for the nautical theme because it is reminiscent of the fittings on a classic boat.

You also need a large length of thick nautical rope and three flameless candles - preferably of different heights - for this project. The various heights give your piece a more interesting look with visual depth. You can also use candleholders to adjust the height of the candles; just be sure that they are hidden beneath the rope for a seamless look.

Start by coiling the rope in the base of the lantern, and be sure not to coil it too tightly. Leave a large opening in the center so you have enough space for your candles. The coil should reach almost to the edges of the lantern to give it a fuller appearance, and the rope should cover the bottom third or so of the lantern. Be sure to trim the rope if you think the coil will take up too much space. You should have enough space left in the lantern to showcase your tall candles. Tuck in the loose ends of the rope to give it a clean look.

Turn on the flameless candles and artfully arrange them in the center of the rope. Adjust their positions and heights to create an interesting display. Close the lantern and place it on a table or walkway for warm and gentle illumination. You can put the candles on a timer so they go off automatically or come on at the same time every day too.

You don't have to fill your room with sailboats and fish to pull off a nautical theme. With a few thoughtful pieces arranged artfully, you can create a nautical feel without going overboard. The use of rope is one simple element that really pulls off the look, even if your room isn't styled in a nautical theme. That's what makes this a smart decoration for everyday use or for a sea-themed get together.