Home Decorating Ideas: Candles Add Instant Atmosphere


And it seems to me/you lived your life like a candle in the wind/never knowing who to cling to/when the rain set in…” It just doesn’t get any better than the songwriting duo of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, especially when you listen to the classic, “Candle in the Wind.”

That song always pops into my head when I’m shopping for candles and sometimes, I just walk around the store singing it. Every once and in awhile, strangers chime in, and soon there’s a full blown musical going on in the home goods department. It’s a good time.

What’s not a good time are the exorbitant prices of candles! My singing is often interrupted by an outburst of “$14.99?! Give me a break!” That’s bad timing when you’ve got the next verse coming up and the guy in the pillow department is just starting to get the harmony. Here’s the skinny on candles: You can’t go rogue cheap or you will light your pretty candles and in just a few hours your $2 masterpiece will melt into a flat pool with a wick that seems to be hissing right at you. There’s nothing worse than a cheap, lousy candle that grows a hole in the side after one hour of burning and seeps wax everywhere…except maybe the increased risk of house fires! So while you shouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage to get your candle crush on, don’t skimp either. I like to go with a good brand name like Yankee Candle, Bath and Body Works, Colonial Candle or Crate and Barrel and then go on a deal excavation for the best discount.

Candles come in a variety of styles (taper, votive, pillar, column, container (jar), floating, tea light) and are used for a variety of occasions, but their most common use is home décor. They add color and a warm glow for dinner parties, disburse scents that will rival any baker’s cookie, and create a mellow vibe for relaxing. Since unintentional flames are not relaxing, keep your candles away from all fabrics, paper and anything flammable and, of course, don’t leave candles unattended. Do not light a candle and go to bed unless you’re an experienced insomniac.

It’s a good idea to stabilize pillar and column candles by putting together a grouping and placing them on a flat, non-flammable surface designed for candles, such as a ceramic dish. If you are fond of taper or “stick” candles, be sure that the holders are stable and will not be knocked over by enthusiastic party guests, etc. To help secure the bottom of the candle in its holder, melt the wax a little with a match and as it warms, gently press the bottom into the holder and hold in place for about 10 seconds. Also, keep the wicks trimmed to about a quarter inch so the flames do not get too high. You want a flickering glow, not a jagged, angry flame.

Another alternative to beat the candle prices is to take a class and learn to make them yourself. Classes usually start at around $20 – $30 and are a great way to meet new people and stock up on those holiday gifts. Candles make great hostess gifts because they’re personal enough to say thank you, even if you are not well acquainted with the host. So if you happen to crash a few holiday parties this year, look less conspicuous and bring a gift candle.

Hope to see/hear you at the next Home Décor Musical where I will be performing the rest of this song.

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