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Buyers Guide to Candles

Posted by Louise Wood on

Creatd Interiors Buying Guide to Candles

Without doubt candles 'punch above their weight' in the interiors world. As a relatively small and inexpensive item when compared to other home accessories, they have the ability to transform the atmosphere in the room, perhaps like no other.  A flickering candle can instantly add warmth and a sense of cosiness and light up a dark corner.  Scented candles add a further dimension as our sense of smell is strongly connected to our memory and emotions. 

With this in mind choosing the right candle is worthy of some consideration and here are our top five tips for buying the right candle:

  1. Scented Candles v Decorative 
  2. Types of Wax
  3. Placement in the Home 
  4. Candle Holders & Lanterns
  5. Candle Care & Safety 

1.0  Scented Candles v Decorative 

Perhaps the most fundamental question to answer; is your candle purely for decoration or do you want a scented candle? Let's look at each in turn:

Decorative Candles 

Decorative candles come in many shapes and sizes. Some candles are for pure decoration and are never burned, but a lit candle even when unscented brings another dimension to the space it is put in. Different decorative candle types include: 

Pillar Candles

Pillar or church candles, are typically made from paraffin wax, due to the required structural stability needed, they are usually cylindrical in shape and come in a variety of sizes and colours. These candles work well individually or in multiples and need to sit on a candle holder or heat resistant surface if they are to be lit. Pillar candles make the perfect centre piece for dining room tables, but like wise, fireplaces, book cases or console tables. Often these candles are not burnt for long periods of time, if burnt at all for those seeking the stylish look they bring. 

Lene Bjerre grey pillar candles

 Classic grey candles from our collection

Tapered Candles

Think candlesticks & candelabras that bring a sense of occasion to dining in a classic and sophisticated way.

Floating Candles

Floating candles are a beautiful and modern way to add interest to a table, perfect for glass lanterns or vases.

Floating candle by gommaire

Votives

Also known as prayer candles, they are similar to pillar candles, normally cylindrical, but smaller and they need a vessel to contain them. Perfect for shelves and bathrooms to add atmosphere when bathing. 

Tea Lights

Tea lights are petite and are traditionally burned within a cup or vessel, although they can be scattered across a table in multiples to effectively bring candle light to your table in an inexpensive way. 

Copper tea light

Copper Wire Tea Light Holder

Scented Candles

Scented candles add a further dimension as our sense of smell is strongly connected to our memory and a particular fragrance has the ability to evoke memories of a past holiday or experience, instantly transporting us back in time. Likewise scented candles can elicit an emotional response, from relaxation to invigoration!

Buying scented candles on line is always difficult but perhaps be guided by the purpose or emotion that you are trying to achieve:

  • Relaxation; think unwinding with a glass of wine or a hot bath. Classic notes would include: Sandalwood, Cedar, Moss, Camomile or Lavender. 
  • Energising; think living areas & lounges, may be the home office. Classic notes would include: Citrus - Orange, lemon. Ginger or Rosemary.
  • Refresh; think bedrooms, light and airy, crisp clean linen, bathrooms, ensuites. Classic notes would include: Cotton, green tea, bamboo, saffron. 
  • Sensual; Think master bedrooms & special occasions. Classic notes would include: rose, vanilla, ylang ylang. 
  • Seasonal; think open fires and hygge. Classic notes include cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread and cardamom. 
  • Exotic; think white sand and clear blue waters: Classic notes would include: Passion fruit, mandarin & melon.

Bamboo grass 

Bamboo Grass, a meadow freshness to you living space

Laundry candle

Scented candle laundry, think clean white linen.

Gingerbread candle

Gingerbread a seasonal favourite

sevens centric on candle

Seven Scentric for a touch of the exotic.

2.0 Types of Wax

Paraffin 

Paraffin wax is perhaps one of the most common forms of candle, which is known for burning without a scent in pure form, but is particularly well suited to stronger scents, when scented. Higher melting point paraffin is a harder material, which maintains its structural integrity when burning, which is why it is used for pillar candles.

Paraffin is generally a lower cost option, but is a derivative of fossil fuels and is therefore not as environmentally friendly as other candles such as soy wax. Health studies appear inconclusive over the risks of burning paraffin candles, but we would always advise limiting burn time, avoid burning in confined spaces and look to burn in well ventilated open areas. 

Soy Wax

Soy wax is a natural alternative, derived from soya bean and is probably the most common natural wax. Being a natural product it is more sustainable and environmentally friendly.  Cleaner burning (by this we mean it generates less soot) it has a longer burn time than paraffin for the same density.

Soy wax is primarily suited to container candles. Its disadvantages are mainly aesthetic as when it burns down, the wax can become rough (paraffin is very smooth) and frosting (crystals that form on the top and sides of the candles) will occur. This doesn't affect the performance of the candle.   

Beeswax

Beeswax like soy is a natural product with the advantages that this brings in terms of sustainability and a cleaner burning candle. It carries a natural scent of its own and will require strong dyes to change its natural yellow colour. Beeswax is generally more expensive than soy or paraffin. 

Coconut Wax

Coconut wax, again a natural product retains all the benefits of a sustainable, environmentally friendly product. It is also known for its throw (release of the scent) and a long burn time. Being made of coconut it carries a natural scent and like beeswax it is generally more expensive than paraffin or soy. 

Blended Waxes 

Often waxes are blended to take the best attributes from different types of wax, although there will normally be a dominant wax in its composition. 

Burn Time

Burn time is generally governed by threes things; the size of the candle, the type of wax used and how the candle is looked after. In general natural waxes have longer burn times, but labels & packaging should give an indication of burn times. 

A Word on Wicks

look after your wick!  A well trimmed wick will burn cleaner and longer, around 5mm is good. Larger candles have multiple wicks and the same rule applies. More wicks means more wax is burned and more intense aromas released. Make sure your wicks are of good quality and made from materials such as cotton or linen.  

3.0. Placement in the Home

Placing candles in the home is very much a personal choice, but here are a few tips.

Safety first;  Never leave candles unattended, always keep them away from flammable materials, children and animals.

Pillar candles; Large candles are perfect for fire places (at safe distances), table centre pieces, consoles, large shelves.

Tapered candles; On candle sticks or candelabras, they bring height and a sense of occasion, perfect for dinner parties.

Votives & tea lights; For smaller shelves, bathrooms or an inexpensive way to add atmosphere to dining.

choosing scents

 "Scented candles are such a personal choice, but in our view subtlety with scent is the way forwards."

Scented candles are such a personal choice, but in our view subtlety with scent is the way forwards. In general think about how you use the space and how an aroma will add to the ambience you want to create. Bathrooms & snugs are all about relaxation. Hallways, landings & lounges might be about energising, bedrooms about keeping freshness. Remember there are no rules, move candles around the home and experiment to find what works for you.

 

4.0. Candle Holders & Lanterns

Candle holders & lanterns are a great way to show off your candles and lanterns in particular add an extra level of safety and flexibility to where you place your candles.

Candle holders add a little flare(!)to your display, adding height and are classically romantic at the dining table. Candelabras even more so. 

Lanterns provide flexibility of where you place your candles, allowing them to be safely placed on the floor, or outside on the patio. Fireplaces, hallways and lounge areas are also popular choices. Here are a small selection of our favourites:

 Gommaire hurricanes

 Gommaire Glass Hurricanes with a terracotta base and jade pillar candles

Blush Candle Holders by Cozy Living

Blush Candle holders by Cozy Living

 Frosted glass candle holders

 Frosted Glass Candle Holders from our collection

5.0 Candle Care & Safety

Finally, here are our tips for candle care and safety:

  • Never leave candles unattended, always keep them away from flammable materials, children and animals.
  • Candles contain wax, scents and dyes, if you have any concerns over allergies or reactions always seek medical advice.
  • In general avoid burning candles for extended periods, in confined spaces, particularly paraffin candles. 
  • Allow candles to burn long enough for the whole surface to become molten. This prevents the tunnelling out of the candle, leaving an outer edge that won't burn.  
  • Trim candle wicks regularly, to help candles burn cleaner and longer, 5mm is good.  
  • To prevent dripping, keep candles away from excessive drafts and extinguish pillar candles, before the wax pool reaches the edge of its base.
  • Never burn the last centimetre of wax as this may damage your candle holder or lantern, which can also become very hot.  
  • Use a candle snuffer to extinguish candles, this avoids the back bloom of smoke! Make sure that wicks stay centred. 
  • If smoking occurs, snuff out the candle and relight. 

 

Hopefully this has given you a good insight into what to consider when choosing the right candle for you. If you require any further information please feel free to contact us at customerservices@creatdinteriors.com.