For centuries, the humble candle has found varied, enduring uses, from the practical to the esoteric. The arrival of the electric bulb in the nineteenth century spelt a decline in its use. Recent times have witnessed a resurgence of interest in this ancient source of light. Candles are valued as symbols of romance and celebration while candle-making is a popular hobby. The warm, soothing glow of candles, then and now, remains unmatched.

Candles as mood setters

Candles are an effective and inexpensive way to define the atmosphere of a room. Tall tapers in a living or dining area spell formality. Floating candles convey tranquillity. A squat, cylindrical or square shape conveys a homely ambience. In the bedroom, candles create a sensual, intimate setting. A ho-hum bathroom dons the luxurious look of a spa where you can relax after a tough day; all it takes are a few lighted candles surrounding the tub!

Scented candles containing essential oils are thought to influence moods although the quantity used is too small to induce any lasting psychological effects. Jasmine, lavender and orange scents help in calming anger. Patchouli, chamomile, sandalwood and rose relieve anxiety. Vanilla and ylang-ylang reduce stress while peppermint, clove, pine and lemon dispel fatigue.

You can even encourage positive moods with scented candles! Try cinnamon for creativity, lemon, rose and honeysuckle for peace and happiness, eucalyptus for good concentration and orange for optimism.

Colours and meanings

Just as wall colours influence a room’s dominant mood, so too with candle colours. In esoteric and spiritual practices, candles are selected according to the properties or emotions associated with different colours:

White – spirituality and peace
Red – strength, vigour and energy
Pink – romance and friendship
Green – fertility, plenitude and harmony
Blue – healing, inspiration and good health
Yellow – cheerfulness and devotion.

Candles and décor

Candles offer endless options for you to exercise your creativity while decorating your home.

Pillar candles effectively accent coffee tables, cluster them in a bowl or plate or place them in separate holders. Perk up kitchen and dining tables choosing from votive candles, spherical candles, tapers or tea lights.

Focus attention on an isolated fireplace with a few candles placed in tall candle holders. A kitchen cabinet will look interesting with a candle surrounded by artificial fruits. Silk flowers, seashells, pebbles, dried berries, nuts and crystals are just some candle accompaniments with which you can play around with for various effects.

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