Nothing says “Hello autumn” like the warmth of candles. With a little creativity, these flickering flames do more than simply light a room. Arranged with care, candles can create a focal point, enhance a centerpiece, or even become a conversation starter. Here, take a fresh look at one of the oldest sources of light in the book.
When choosing the perfect candle to complement your space, it’s helpful to understand the most popular shapes available.
PILLAR CANDLES are cylindrical in shape and stand on their own (though they should be placed on some type of heat-resistant surface, like a tray or plate). They are perhaps the most versatile of all candles and can be found in an array of widths, heights and colors.
TAPER CANDLES, by definition, become thinner toward the wick end. Taper candles are designed to fit into
a specifically-sized holder and are typically between four and 12 inches in height, though more extreme sizes—think two-foot tapers at your next celebration—are available for dramatic effect.
VOTIVE CANDLES can be square or cylindrical in shape and are usually about 2 ½ inches in height. Votives burn best in small glass containers.
TEA LIGHT CANDLES are small and round, usually less than 1 inch tall and approximately 1 inch in diameter. They come in round metal casings which can be tossed when they burn out.
JAR CANDLES come in a heat-resistant container, usually made of glass or tin. This no-mess style is popular for its self-contained convenience.
FLOATING CANDLES are made from wax molded into various shapes that can float in water.
Though candles have evolved over the centuries from necessity to embellishment (except when the power goes out!), the candle industry continues to introduce new products to delight and inspire today’s homeowners.
SOY CANDLES, which are relatively new to America’s candle scene, are perhaps the most popular candles on the market today. Made from the oil of soybeans, these candles have many benefits. For starters, they are made from a renewable resource, unlike paraffin wax which is made from petroleum. They are also very clean-burning, and burn more slowly and last longer than those made from other traditional waxes. Any spills from a soy candle also clean up easily with soap and water.
BEESWAX CANDLES, which date back to ancient times, are now more popular than ever. Created from the all-natural wax of honeybees, beeswax candles emit a bright, long-lasting flame. Experts also suggest that burning beeswax produces negative ions that can help clean the air.
FLAMELESS CANDLES are gaining popularity as a safe way to enjoy the ambiance of candles without the danger of the flame. Flameless candles are battery operated and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Because of their safe “flames”, these can be used anywhere in the home.
According to the National Candle Association, scented candles are the number-one choice of consumers for home fragrance. With such a variety of scents on the market, how do you decide which is best for your home?
- Vanilla-based scents like cinnamon, gingerbread, pumpkin, apple and hazelnut are especially nice during the autumn months as they fill the home with the rich and bold aromas we so often associate with the season.
- Fruity scents such as citrus, peach and berry can revitalize and uplift the mood within any room.
- Floral scents are particularly nice for bathrooms and may include lavender, lilac, rose, jasmine or gardenia.
- Scents that evoke a spa-like environment are especially popular. These include ginger, mint, eucalyptus, sandalwood and green tea, which aid relaxation and mood enhancement. Place these strategically around your home and enjoy their benefit—next to your favorite reading chair, on your bedside table, near your bath.
- Fresh smells, like linen, rain water or ocean breeze are good in bedrooms, bathrooms or offices.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to enhancing your home’s décor with candles. Consider these ideas for inspiration.
- Fireplace Glow: Fill an empty fireplace with an assortment of candles in different shapes and sizes. Light and enjoy the beautiful glow.
- Mirror Magic: On a table that is placed against a wall, stand a mirrored tray up so that it rests along the wall. Place a row of lit tea lights in front of the tray and watch the illusion of many more candles appear.
- Table Topper: Rather than using a traditional table runner, create one by placing a few tall taper candles in a row down the length of the table. Surround these candles with your favorite materials—garland, grapevine or fall leaves—to create the pattern of a table runner.
- Pop of Color: Group several pillar candles of the same color together. Choose a contrasting color of wide satin ribbon, raffia, or twine, and tie the candles together with a bow.
- Candle Cocktail: Line the bottom of a wine or martini glass with marbles, cranberries, small fresh flowers, or another colorful item of choice. Fill the glass about two-thirds of the way full with water and place a floating candle on top.
- “Wreathpiece”: For a new twist on a centerpiece, lay a wreath flat on the center of a table. Decorate the wreath with objects like fresh flowers. Place one or more candles in the middle.
- Chair of Candles: In a corner or entrance way, place a tray on a chair that contains a collection of pillar candles. Place decorative items around the base of the candles, like pebbles, leaves or fruit. Hang a small wreath decorated with a few of the same materials from the chair’s back for an instant focal point.
- Fruit with a Glow: Cut out a small portion from the top of a fresh apple, just large enough for a tea light. Make a few of these, and place around a basket of fresh apples.
Enjoy one of life’s simplest pleasures by lighting some candles, and watch your home—and your day—be transformed into something special.