Five Different Types of Candles for Elegant Home Decor


Candles can make a room much more than it started out to be. Everyone who loves having candles in their homes has a favorite type, and usually several favorite fragrances. Elegant tapers in candlesticks are perennial favorites for décor whether classic or contemporary; it could be an understated pair or a huge collection on display. More often than not, candle collectors will pair their treasured votive candles, pillars and containers with interchangeable accessories.

Candle shades in stained glass or openwork metal allow the light to shine through in new and different ways. Toppers to help reflect the light when placed over candle containers are available in any theme imaginable, and owners often enjoy switching them out for the seasons or to celebrate special occasions. Mirrored and shimmering metallic trays also reflect the flickering candle flames and serve to catch wayward drips when they occur.

These handy trays also protect home furnishing. Candle necklaces adorn jar candles, and transfer from container to container, dressing up a plain jane into a chic party girl. There are adornments to suit every taste and décor, whether it be for an indoor dinner or a summer party on the lawn. With retail sales at about $2 billion annually, candles have moved from being only for holidays, to year-round use.

Thanks to the National Candle Association, the most popular types purchased annually by American consumers are included in this little primer about candles.

1. Votive

Votive Candles

Votive candles usually are placed in glass containers, and the best ones will last up to 10 hours. They are very popular and look quite stunning when clustered on glass or metallic trays, or even mirrors. They can make a room come alive when arranged in groups on table tops, too. A set of 36 10-hour votive candles in plastic containers costs about $8. The glass holders, which are usually in round or square shape are usually sold separately. The holders vary in price, as there are colors and metallic versions which can be simple glass or very complex with pretty designs and textures. A basic set of 4 in bright colors can cost as little as $2 ranging to textured metallic versions in sets of 6 for $16 or more. Changing the holders changes the décor in an instant.

2. Container Candles

Container Candles

Candles in containers are easy to care for and often come in fragrances that are seasonal or derived from a favorite perfume. They have been popular to make at home for generations because they are basically a non-flammable contained which has a wick to burn for light and is filled with wax. They are generally purchased in either round or square containers, and the top quality versions often have matching lids to store them between uses so that the candle inside doesn’t get dusty. They are the most often created with scents because they have a lower melting point than other candles, and this helps the scent to fill the room more effectively. They also do not drip onto surfaces.

To add a zen spot in any room, place a group of these on a tray covered with beautiful polished pebbles. Place one inside a recycled lantern and hang it next to an outdoor seating area. Settle a group on top of a repurposed plant stand on the porch next to a cozy chair.

These range in price from about $5 for a small one to over $30 for larger versions.

3. Pillars

Pillar Candles

These candles are the sturdy ones of the bunch. They are chubby in diameter, and can come in round or square and vary in height. Some are textured on the sides, with abstract designs, and others are simply sleek sided. These look absolutely spectacular when arranged on a hanging chandelier from the ceiling. Many decorators are opting to use candle chandeliers rather than traditional ones, and most often over the dining room table. The glow of candlelight illuminates the room, and diner’s faces, with a warm light which cannot be duplicated by lightbulbs. The flickering of many candle flames lends a sense of liveliness, and sometimes romance, to a meal.

An al fresco dinner on the deck is also a great way to use a candle chandelier. It can be hung from an arbor, or between shepherd’s crooks purchased from a garden supply center. One of the nicest ways to use pillars this way is to purchase them in varied heights, and all in white or ivory for a classic appeal. For a festive event, mixing bright colors offers a nice change of pace.

Because pillars contain more wax, their burn times can range from 30 hours to over 500 hours. Larger versions can have two or three wicks, which create more light. They are more expensive, and range in price from $10 to $30 or more based on quality and design.

4. Tapers

Taper Candles

Tapers are the traditional kind of candles that are used in candle holders. They can be long or short, but all of them taper into lovely, rounded points at the end where their wicks will burn and produce light. Their shape gives them their name. One definition of taper is a gradual decrease, and that is exactly what taper candles do. They are long objects which gradually become smaller in diameter from their bases to their tips.

Many people enjoy collecting taper candleholders, which come in many materials such as silver or other metals, crystal, glass, porcelain, or stone. Displaying a large number of tapers in a handsome collection of candleholders is one very popular way to decorate with them. Group any number together on a table, sideboard of mantle.

The very best tapers are dipped by hand. Cotton wicks, which are essentially long, thick pieces of string, are dipped into melted wax repeatedly and hung to cool and harden between each dipping session. The dipping process determines how thick the candle diameter will be.

Some of the best tapers are made from beeswax. They are generally a warm honey color, and their scent is like honey when they burn. They are prized by many candle lovers, even though they are more expensive than other candles, because they burn more slowly and therefore last longer.

Tapers can also be made with other waxes and left unscented, which is just right for decorating a table because there will be no competition with the delicious aroma when food is served. Tapers also come in a wide variety of colors, so they are nice for complementing table and household décor.

Tapers come in varied lengths, varying from 6 to 12 inches. An average size pair of 12” tapers of very good quality costs about $12. A 12” pair of beeswax tapers average about $16.

5. Art Wax Candles

Art Wax Candles

These are the haute couture of the candle world. These are hand carved with intricate designs or tapers which are made from elegant twisting strands. Cute versions might include tiny reindeer for the holidays. Very elegant versions include vintage, hand-made tapers with flowers embellishing the entire length. Candles shaped to resemble real roses, elegant carved animals and birds, and carved figures are part of this category.

Prices vary, as these are generally one of a kind pieces. Many are also vintage era, because they are so beautiful that their owners could not bear to burn them. Most average about $30 per candle.


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