solar

Solar powered lanterns are more ethereal than ever. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Consumers may be passing on cars and couches, but solar lighting is burning bright. When IKEA recently rolled out its new products for summer, the collection included eight sun-powered lanterns, globes and light chains for the garden. Those designs have already sold out at all Southern California stores -- nine weeks before the official start of the season.

Other options abound, including the white Soji lantern ($21.95) at Crate & Barrel, the chartreuse Soji Pod ($26.99) sold through www.allsopgarden.com and the slate blue teardrop ($29.95) from www.acaciacatalog.com. All three have a mini solar panel on top that powers twin LEDs. For a sculptural twist, Allsop Garden also offers the Soji Modern pendant ($39.95), which looks like some sort of giant mollusk aglow with warm, amber light.

For the table? Target sells little jar lanterns, regularly $12.99. We found this red one on sale for $11.04.