Casual Outdoor Lighting

As its name implies, casual outdoor lighting doesn't seek to be formal or elegant. It seeks to get its job done in a relaxed, non-fussy way. And if it adds a bit of fun in the process, where's the harm in that?

A basic staple of casual outdoor lighting is the wall mounted marine lantern. This involves a simple flattened cone for a hood. Descending from this hood are a couple of metal rods that curve around in a semi-circle, meeting each other in an X at the bottom and curving back up again. This provides a simple guard for the round white globe that is protected by the hood.

The marine lantern can come in any color or sheen you like. Brushed nickel, black, white, bronze, brass, copper, even a brick tone are some basic possibilities. While the cap shouldn't be too ornate, you can have a bit of fun with it. The cap can simply flatten out on top, or you can have a short dome that rises up from where it would have flattened out. In between the dome and the rest of the cap, you can insert a couple of tiers to let just a bit of the light out the sides.

A variation on this theme dispenses with the guard rods beneath and simply extends the cap enough to cover the globe or bulb entirely.

The marine lantern can also be had in post mounted form. The globe rests in a simple base from which the guarding rods emerge to support the cap on top. The base can fit on top of a standard lamppost.

A simple mission lamp is another way to achieve a casual effect. Simple rectangular panels, divided simply by a couple of crossing straight lines can make for a relaxed look. The same holds for a more "traditional" lamp, provided it doesn't get too ornate. A four paneled lamp with glass panes that flare outward slightly as they rise can be coupled with a simple black cap to good effect. Seeding or rippling the glass or even leaving it clear may provide more of a formal effect than you're looking for. Basic translucent white panes provide for a more understated, casual effect.

Whatever you choose, you're going for an effect that doesn't make guests feel as though they forgot to dress up. With well chosen casual lamps, they can lounge around in blue jeans or khakis and feel right at home.

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