Expert Tips To Choose A Candle Holder & Candles

Burning candles can be very relaxing, and always adds a touch of luxury to a dinner party or an evening by the fireplace. Leaving behind a mess of melted wax isn't fun though, which is where candle holders come in!

Choosing the right candle holders for your home can be a bit tricky if you're not sure what to look out for, so we've put together some expert tips to help you out!

Table of Contents Hide

What type of candle holder should I buy?

The type of candle holder you will need mostly depends on the type of candles you plan to use. Most candle holders can only hold one specific type of candle, so you may find yourself needing to buy a few different ones if you like variety.

Want something dramatic? => Candelabra

Candelabras are undeniably eye-catching as they are often large and intricately detailed.

Many people use them as a centerpiece for the dining table, or as a beautiful accent on the mantelpiece.

You can easily find candelabras in any style, ranging from vintage, to modern, to abstract.

Candelabras can hold multiple candles at once, making this a quite unique type of candle holder - most other holders can only house one candle at a time.

You'll need to be careful of wax dripping from the candelabra when using it - the candles are usually held up quite high off the base, with nowhere to hold the melted wax.

Since candelabras are so unique, it may be hard to find other holders that you can easily mix and match with - they're better off on their own!

Prefer something subtle? => Sleeves

Sleeve candle holders are straight or curved glass pillars that house the candles inside them.

They enclose the candles completely to prevent any drafts from extinguishing them, and in order to protect the surroundings from the flames.

They are the ideal option for tea lights or smaller pillar candles.

It's super easy to mix and match sleeve candle holders with other types, as they are very simplistic in their design and can fit in with practically any style and aesthetic.

Use dinner candles? => Taper

Taper candle holders are designed for dinner candles, which are tall and thin, with very small bases.

They are often quite similar in style to candelabras, however they can only hold one candle at a time, making them a little less impressive.

These holders can be used to space out the candles along the dinner table or around the room.

You can mix and match these holders relatively easily as they have a quite universal design, though it can look a bit messy if you go over the top with it.

Use a lot of tea lights? => Flat dish

A flat dish holder often looks very similar to a plate or elongated bowl, and sometimes has small pins to secure the candles in place.

They're great for lining tea lights along them as you can place multiple candles, rather than needing a new holder for each individual candle.

Mixing and matching with these candle holders is incredibly easy since they're usually quite simple without any intricate designs.

However, they are possibly the most dangerous type of candle holder, and the candles aren't really held in place securely - stay away from flat dish holders if you have young children or pets in the house!

Tealights also look great in jars and small, single holders that you can buy in sets or mix and match to your heart's content.

What material should my candle holder be?

It's very important to pick the right material for your candle holder, especially if you have kids - you'll need something that doesn't heat up too fast and is sturdy.

Want the safest option? => Pottery

Candle holders made out of pottery are relatively uncommon nowadays, but they are actually the safest option.

They draw out very little heat, so their surface won't heat up, making them perfect for holding tealights and short pillar candles.

They're very customizable as they can come in practically any color and pattern combination you can think of.

Overall, pottery candle holders create a quite cozy and rustic atmosphere.

Want something luxurious? => Crystal

Crystal is a very high-quality candle holder material.

It's the most expensive option but it makes up for it by being beautifully intricate.

Also, it doesn't retain heat that easily, so it's a relatively safe material for any type of candle holder.

Need a sturdy holder? => Metal

A metal candle holder will last you years as it'll withstand almost anything.

A lot of candelabras are made from metal - it just seems to add a certain flair!

Metal is a great conductor of heat though, so we don't recommend using a metal holder for short candles - stick to tall dinner candles whose flames will rarely come close to the metal.

Like being unconventional? => Wood

Now, wood may seem like the absolute worse material for a candle holder since it's incredibly flammable, however these candle holders are always specially treated to make them less flammable!

Because of this, they're actually a pretty great option for tealights and pillar candles.

Like pottery candle holders, they contribute to a cozy and rustic atmosphere.

How can I arrange different candle holders?

Like we mentioned before, each type of candle holder only ever suits one specific type of candle. So, if you want to burn a variety of candles, or simply have a lot of them, what can you do?

  • Use the same material! Even if the candle holders are different types, colors, or sizes, you'll still be maintaining a coordinated look by sticking to one material.
  • Mix and match the sizes of candle holders, especially if you plan to group a few of them together in one spot. Arrange them so that the smaller holders are near the front of the group, and the bigger holders frame the back.
  • Try to avoid putting extravagant statement pieces together whenever you can. Putting two intricately detailed, 8 candle candelabras right next to each other will just look messy and disorganized.
  • If you're really struggling to match your candle holders, try purchasing a set instead of separate holders. Let the experts choose exactly what shapes, sizes, and colors go well together!

Tips to Choose Candles

Since they can be both functional and decorative, there are a few things that you should consider in order to choose candles that work well together and for you. Let's make sure that your lighting game is on fire!

What Are the Different Types of Candles?

  • Pillar candles: they can come in different heights and shapes, but they're usually round;

    — thanks to their length, they take a long time to burn and are rather smokeless, so we recommend them if you're after some candles that you don't have to replace every other night;  

  • Taper candles: undeniably attention-grabbing, these candles are thin and tall;

    — because of their shape, they'll need some kind of support: if you're trying to achieve a traditional old-style feel with candle holders or candelabra, this will be the right shape for you;

    — however, be even more careful than you'd be with other candles if you've got kids, as they're rather alluring and easy to tip;  

  • Votive candles: they're quite similar to their pillar-shaped cousins, but are characterized by glass containers;

    — a great choice if you're looking for a safe, smokeless option that lasts a long time;

  • Jars and candle pots: have the same perks as votive candles but are available in many more shapes and colors and their wax fills the entire container;

    — they're the best choice if you're looking to add a strong decorative element (why not choose some in your room's accent color?) and don't want to have to worry about leaving your candles unattended for a few hours;  

  • Tealights: small and affordable, tealights are one of the most versatile options: you can either keep them in their little metal containers or place them inside glass jars;

    — they won't usually last longer than an evening, so they're a good option if you're after something to set the mood during special occasions or if you already own a few small jars to fill;  

  • Floating: thanks to their large top and smaller bottoms, they're perfect to float in water-filled containers;

    — they're a quirky choice that can create a stylish or bohemian feel thanks to their ever-changing pools of light;  

  • Flameless: combining tradition and modern commodities, these electric candles don't actually involve any fire, and can sometimes come with a remote to turn them on and off;

    — flameless candles will last you for years and are the safest option if you've got young kids or adventurous pets running around the house.

How Do You Arrange Candles?

  • For the best results, put candles of different heights together, with the tallest one at the back (for example, three pillar candles on the same plate);

  • Bare standalone candles can help you convey a more minimalist feel or, if they're rather big, become the main centerpiece on a table; opt for natural colors such as cream, dark blue or forest green for a Scandinavian spin;

  • Candelabra with taper candles work particularly well on tables and longer surfaces;

  • If you have a chandelier, thick pillar candles can help you create a dramatic feel, whereas taper shapes would add an element of elegance;

  • Tealights could be used to surround or accent a specific area, such as the top of your fireplace;

  • Jars and candle pots in different shapes and colors are perfect to create a bohemian feel;

  • Placing multiple candles in front of a mirror will trick you and your guests into believing that there are many more; votive candles are particularly handy for this effect;

  • Don't put different scented candles together if you don't know much about aromatherapy, as it could result in clashing smells!

  • Make sure that your candles are away from your curtains or any type of object that could easily catch fire.

Should I Choose Scented or Unscented Candles?

  • Scented candles can make your room even cozier and make it smell delightful, crafting a specific atmosphere;

    — for example, you could have a different scent in each room of your house or go for scents that help you achieve a particular mood;  

  • Unscented candles are the best choice if you're only interested in the lighting side of things or if you're already using an oil diffuser as a fragrance;

    — they're a better choice in kitchens and dining rooms, as they help you keep the focus on the smell of your food and avoid combinations that could compromise your appetite.

How Do I Choose a Scented Candle?

If you've decided to opt for scented candles, you can either go for your favorite smells, something that evokes pleasant memories (such as the ones that your grandmother used to light up!), or a scent that can help you stimulate a specific effect:

  • If you want to relax, choose lavender, sandalwood and sweeter candles in general (perfect in your bedroom);

  • To relieve stress and anxiety after a long day at work, the smell of lemon and jasmine can work wonders;

  • Lemon and rosemary can also help you concentrate, so they could be a better choice in your studio;

  • If you're after a little energy boost, look for peppermint and cinnamon.

Are Scented Candles Safe for Pets?

Unfortunately, scented candles are not safe for pets, because they release volatile compounds that can cause stress and airway irritation. You should stick to unscented candles and opt for natural materials, including a cotton wick instead of metal.

Keep in mind that, if you have pets (especially particularly curious cats), any type of candles could constitute a hazard, because they could easily tip them and start a fire.

What Is the Healthiest Type of Candle Wax?

The healthiest types of candles, both for pets and humans, are the ones made of natural wax, such as soy, beeswax or rapeseed.

Most candles contain paraffin, a petroleum-derived product that undergoes chemical treatments; it's popular and cheap, but it can sometimes result in an irritation of your respiratory airway, especially if you already suffer from conditions like asthma.

Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.