15 Ways to Light Up Your Decor With Candles

For an affordable way to add mood and ambience to your space, get creative with these ideas for decorating with candles.
Kristen Mosier Avatar
decor with candles - lit grey and white candles clustered


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Shoppers looking to cozy up their space without a significant investment may want to consider decorating with candles. Their soothing light sets a mellow mood, and candles come in many styles and types, from low tea lights and wide pillars to tall tapers, scented or unscented. There are flameless options, too, which are excellent choices for spots within reach of children and pets or in spaces where a flame won’t be supervised.

Whether through simple pairings or more whimsical displays, there are plenty of ways to introduce candles into a home’s decor. Get creative with your arrangements and find new uses for old candles by drawing on some of the following ideas.

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1. Create a Dining Table Display

decor with candles - long tapered candles in gold inserts

Elevate the dinner party ambience with a thoughtful dining table display. Combine tall tapered candles in varying heights and colors, or simply buy a set of four candles in assorted shades at Amazon. Don’t be afraid to use the whole length of the table, and check antique shops for unusual holders to add a bit of whimsy. For more casual gatherings, toss the tapers and opt instead for a centerpiece of hurricane-style candleholders in different sizes.

RELATED: 40 Fresh Ideas for a Beautiful Dining Room

2. Accent a Fireplace


In lieu of a crackling fire, bring tranquility to a fireplace with a candle display. Arrange a grouping of candles of differing heights on a tray, create an array of lanterns, or outfit the space with a large candelabra, like this tall, leafy wrought iron beauty at Wayfair. For those who don’t want to place candles inside the fireplace, flank the hearth or adorn the mantel with a trio of candles.

3. Try Candlelit Sconces or Pendants

decor with candles - gold wall candle holders

Bring in elements of the Gilded Age with candlelit sconces or pendants. Antique sconces with long tapered candles are traditional, but more modern versions incorporate pillar inserts, such as this geometric sconce at Wayfair. If your tastes run more toward pendants, look for an over-the-dining-table design with a flat surface to hold flameless candles of various sizes.

RELATED: How To: Make Scented Candles

4. Bring In Nature

decor with candles - two birch wrapped candles

Use candles to create a nature-inspired display. Place birch-wrapped pillars on a tray with greenery or nestle them within a wreath. Warm up a space with the earthy, organic charm of a wood dough bowl candle. For a spring centerpiece, embed dried flowers into the warm wax of a candle.

RELATED: The Best Citronella Candles

5. Hang Lanterns

decor with candles - rattan lanterns with plants
Photo: via LisaAngelLtd

An empty corner offers an excellent spot for a hanging lantern, a fun design addition that comes in a range of styles. For instance, a rattan lantern from LisaAngelLtd at Etsy can add height to a room’s decor and inject a little bohemian flair. For out-of-reach spots, choose remote-controlled flameless candles for easy operation.

6. Use a Decorative Tray

decor with candles - items on mirror tray

Unify a collection of candles by arranging them on a decorative tray, creating a tableau that’s just perfect for an entryway or coffee table. A new or vintage tray with a mirrored surface is ideal because it reflects the candlelight. Consider this openwork metal tray with a mirrored base at Wayfair, which comes in five finishes. A tray is also a smart choice when you want to place candles on a flammable surface such as wood.

RELATED: How To: Remove Candle Wax from Any Surface

7. Bring Calming Vibes to a Home Office

decor with candles - candle next to books

Even a home office can benefit from the soothing qualities of candles. A small deskside candle can promote a sense of peace while you’re working, and calming scents can help keep stress levels in check as tasks pile up. The Homesick Home Office scented candle at Amazon has energizing notes of cinnamon balanced by the soothing touch of vanilla and amber. Just make sure not to keep that pile of papers nearby, or shop around for a flameless option.

RELATED: 11 Home Office Lighting Ideas for a More Productive Workspace

8. Play With Color

decor with candles - dinner set with blue taper candles
Photo: via SerendipityCandleCo

Use color to elevate a collection of candles. For a bold display, select tall tapers in different colors. (Use this set of assorted color tapers by SerendipityCandleCo at Etsy as inspiration.) Choose shades that complement the existing decor, and use holders of a similar finish, but don’t be afraid to mix shapes for visual interest. To achieve a calming vibe, opt for an all-white motif or a mix of neutral shades.

9. Create a Spa-like Bathroom

decor with candles - tea light candles around woman in tub

Nothing says relaxation quite like taking a bath surrounded by candles. Adorn tub sides, windowsills, and vanities with tea lights for ambience. There are even waterproof tea lights that float in the bathtub. But when bath time is over, be sure to blow out the flames to avoid the safety risk of unattended candles.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Make Your Bathroom More Spa-Like This Year

10. Take It Outdoors

decor with candles - decorative globe candle holders on grass

Candle displays don’t have to be relegated to interiors. Increase your home’s curb appeal by using candles on the porch. Arrange a trio of different-size lanterns or place one on every other stair. Line a deck with tea lights, or for the ultimate in hygge, hang lanterns from tree branches. Reduce the chance of fires by using flameless solar-powered candles for these outdoor arrays.

RELATED: 7 Awesome Outdoor Lighting Ideas for Your Backyard

11. Get Creative With Votive Holders

decor with candles - holiday decorated glass candle jars

Think outside the box when it comes to votive holders. A small wood bowl, vintage glass jar, or piece of pottery will do the trick. Get creative by adorning simple glass jars with craft paper, lace fabric, or tissue paper, or wrap wide necks with greenery, bows, or twine. These 4-inch-tall glass jars at Amazon offer a great starting point.

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12. Create a Sideboard or Buffet Table Display

decor with candles - trio of hurricane candles in the dark

Similar to a dining table, a long narrow sideboard or buffet table affords the perfect backdrop for a candle display. Go crazy and cover the surface with a forest of tall tapers or opt for a neat set of three pillars enclosed in hurricane candleholders of varying sizes. For wood surfaces, use a metal tray or opt for flameless versions.

13. Opt for Whimsical Shapes

decor with candles - colorful unique shaped candles
Photo: via SoyCandleNYC

Playful decorators who prefer their styling to be Instagram-ready may want to consider new variations on the standard pillar candle. There are options in all shapes and sizes, from leaves and shells to twisted and geometric forms. Use them as shelf decor or coffee table conversation starters. Visit Etsy to choose from an array of colorful, unusual designs like these candles in geometric shapes by SoyCandleNYC.

14. Bring In Bedroom Ambience

decor with candles - three candles on tray near bed

Whether reading in bed or canoodling with a loved one, candlelight can set the mood for relaxation in the bedroom. Set a tray with a trio of lightly scented candles on a night table or dresser. For those who like to doze off by the soft glow, opt for flameless candles with a timer, available at Amazon.

RELATED: The 9 Best Lighting Picks for Your Bedroom

15. Create a Zen Corner

decor with candles - single candle with blurred yogis

Perfect for yoga enthusiasts and meditators, a calming corner is ideal for relaxing before or after a long day, and no Zen spot would be complete without a few candles. A small tray with a trio of candles is great for infusing a space with a soothing scent, but even the soft flicker of a single flame can induce relaxation. To cleanse away negative energy, try a sage candle like this aromatherapy candle available at Amazon.