Guide to finding the perfect candle; scented, decorative, wax & unique finds

Guide to finding the perfect candle; scented, decorative, wax & unique finds

It’s safe to say there’s many of us out there who just absolutely love a candle. Whether it’s to compliment a room, create an ambiance or to make a space smell homely there’s no end to the amount of candles we can stock up in our home. 

Historically candles have been used as a means of light, heat, keeping time as well as being used as part of religious ceremonies. They were the successor to oil lamps and the first candles were used by the Romans, made from tallow wax, around 500 BC. By the 13th century candle making had become a craft in England and France with mass candle manufacturing and industrialisation starting in the mid 19th century. By this point candles were being made with paraffin wax. 

The benefit of candles: 

Candles reap many benefits, and not just the ability to see in the dark when the power goes off. Certain scented candles and types can improve many parts of our day to day life including; creating a calming atmosphere in our home, stimulating our brain, improving our general mood, alleviating stress and bringing up happy memories and emotions. 

Candles also look great, they can create an ambiance in any room, creating a relaxing and calming atmosphere that will welcome guests and make you feel right at home. 

The psychology of candles

Candles have a greater purpose than simply visual decor. It has been scientifically proven that scented candles stimulate the limbic system in our brains. This is where we store memories and regulate emotions with hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. Our happy hormones!  So, pleasant scents from candles that bring us comfort and pleasure are scientifically proven to boost our mood. 

Types of candles: 

Candles come in three main formats; flameless candles, scented candles and decorative candles. Scented candles can also be decorative however, and some people still opt to burn decorative candles even if there is no scent. So there are no general rules when it comes to what you should choose and burn. 

1. Pillar Candles 

Pillar candles are perfect if you don’t want to use candle holders - or want to find a unique alternative to displaying and holding your candle. Pillar candles are much thicker than taper candles which means there’s no need for support. Pillar candles are great and they are extremely versatile, coming in various widths, scents, colours and designs. Some pillar candles will come with two or even three wicks. Pillar candles are stunning as both a decorative addition to your room or to create a scented ambiance. They are flexible in where you can put them as well. Be careful when using pillar candles as if you are not using a candle tray or holder you could damage the surfaces around your house, these can also be knocked over easily. 

House Doctor has a range of stunning pillar candles available to purchase on Quince & Cook: 

pillar candle in holder


brown pillar candle

Perfect for placing on a decorative tray, candle holder or in a lantern. You could also mix up various colours and sizes around your dining table or window sills! 

candle holder decorative tray

2. Dinner/Taper candles 

Taper candles are the classic-looking long thin candles that you would usually find on a dining table - the perfect addition to an elegant, well set table. They generally won’t stand on their own so you’ll need to purchase a taper candle holder. Taper candles are known to burn for around 8-10 hours depending on the length of the ones you pick up and will come in various colours and styles. For example, below, these stunning rustic terracotta candle sticks from one of Scandinavia's leading interior design brands Broste Copenhagen:

Pair these with the Anker Iron Candle Holder and you have a dinner table centrepiece dreams are made of: 

black candle holder
3. Votive Candles 

Votive candles are small and stumpy, bigger than a tea light but not as tall or thick as a pillar candle. They are usually used for scents, and paired with a votive holder as they have to be contained. 

Ranging from around 2cm in width and 2.5 cm in height, used for short bursts of fragrances that completely devour a room. Votives will burn themselves out when they get to the bottom, they produce next to no smoke in comparison to their counterparts and can burn for long periods of time. 

Add a touch of class with your votives in these stunning votive holders: 


4. Tea light Candles 

Tea lights are every household must! Tea lights come in handy for so much. Generally a quick burn at around 2 hours, tea lights are distinctive because they are the smallest of all the candle types and will often come in their own container. 

Tea lights are a great addition from adding a touch of romance to a dinner table, placing in a tea light holder, using to burn your wax melts or as decor for a wedding. Tea lights come as a mix of unscented and scented. You would use an unscented one if you were using your tea light for a wax melt.  However you can get scented ones for placing around your house. 

Pair your tea lights with gorgeous holders like these from the our very own Quince & Cook range: 

5. Candle jars & pots 

You’ll often find candles will come in their own uniquely designed candle jars, glasses or pots. These will generally be already scented candles and are the easiest of candles to place around your house. What’s great about these candles is they can be so varied, and you can really find a candle that smells just how you want it and will look good in your chosen room. 

For example these stunning Our Lovely Goods candles, these are made from 100% natural soy wax, as well as an ECO cotton wick. They are vegan, made in Scotland and come in a recyclable amber glass jar - which is pretty gorgeous too. 


6. Flameless Candles

Battery powered LED candles are a super safe option for those with little ones running around, or who don't particularly like the idea of open flames in their home. Just like regular candles, you can find various shapes, sizes and colours. Even scented ones! With the flickering bulb, from a distance you can't tell much difference. 

7. Floating candles

Floating candles have no need for a holder, simply place into water and light. Their  gentle moves around the water are the ultimate dose for zen for that at-home spa ambiance. Natural flowers will often be used to accompany the floating candles in the water for pretty decor.

Unique Candles 

Candles don’t just stop there. As well as those mentioned above you also have; birthday candles, floating candles, gel candles, liquid candles and cartridge candles. There’s also candles that don’t really fit any one of the above. Here’s a few of our favourite, unique and just generally different candles that we’ve recently fallen in love with… 

Short dinner table candles

Twist candles: 

twist candle with flowers

Uh, seasonal & festival candles! 


And, check out these gorgeous handmade candles available in a full rainbow of colours… 

rainbow selection of candles

Types of candle wax: 

Beeswax Candles 

Natural beeswax candles clean the air around them as they are burning, they work to reduce pollutants in the air. Beeswax candles also burn slower, with less drip and have a brighter flame. 

beeswax candle beside comb

Soy Wax Candle: 

Soy wax candles are very much on the rise due to their cleaner burn, sustainability and ability to burn at a much cooler rate, therefore lasting significantly longer than other types of wax candles. 


soy wax candle with leafs


Paraffin Wax Candle 

This is the most common candle wax, and as a byproduct of petroleum, is used due to its high melting point. This is most commonly used when making strong, rigid candles for example taper and pillar candles.

Other types of candle wax include Bayberry wax candles which is a plant-based eco-friendly wax and also liquid wax which can be used with paraffin or minerals.  

The cleanest burning candles: 

Candles have been known to bring toxins in which is why you should generally opt for the cleanest burning candles. Look for candles that are made from soy wax, beeswax or other veg wax candles that are not mixed with paraffin. 

Look to use cotton-based wicks for a cleaner burning experience if you can and look for candles that use 100% essential oils for fragrance. Keep your wick trimmed as well for an even cleaner burn. 

Wicks + candle burn time: 

Candles can come with various wicks options including; wooden wicks, crackling wicks, cotton and paper core wicks and metal core wicks. A candle works by igniting the wick, which draws melted wax up to the flame which then vaporizes and combusts. The wick determines how the candle will burn and so is an important factor when deciding what kind of candle you want. 


Wood wicks are a very environmentally friendly option, and most of the candles with a wood wick have a calming burning sound as well. They provide a very clean burn, they don’t require trimming and even if you aren’t planning on lighting your candle they still look very trendy! 

Cotton & Paper 

These wicks burn very vast and create a lot of wax. However they work best with candles that already come in jars and tubs. You can now also buy a range of candles that offer ECO friendly cotton wicks, which will offer a cleaner burning experience and are better for the planet. 


Metal core wicks are generally used for decorative candles or candles like the pillar and taper candles so that when they are lit the wick will stay standing even when the wax melts. This makes for an excellent look for the dining table or decorative candles you only plan on lighting now and again. 

Wax melts: 

Wax melts are a great alternative or addition to your candle collection. Not only do they smell incredible when you have one burning, you can buy a range of amazing scents and wax melt holders. 

All you need is a wax melt holder, a few unscented tea lights and a selection of wax melts and your whole house will be smelling gorgeous in no time. 

Shop the Forage & Bloom selection of wax melts on our website which are all hand poured in North Yorkshire. These are all made with 100% soy wax with 60 hours burning time per bar. These are vegan friendly, cruelty free and eco-friendly. Oh, and they come in a range of gorgeous scents! 

wax melt surrounded by dry foliage

Don’t forget you’ll need a burner too… 

Find the perfect candle holder:

Every candle needs its match made in haven! A beautiful candle holder that accentuates your home decor and offers immense practicality of keeping any excess wax off of your nice clean surfaces. You can go minimal and industrial in style, or find some real staple candelabras in traditional form. There are no limits to your creativity! 

Here are some of our favourite quirky finds. 

Rose candle holder for cut glass bottles from the Quince & Cook interiors and gifts range

Rose Candle Holder for Cut Glass Bottles -  a fantastic way to up-cycle old glass bottles. 

malachite marble candle holders in various colours from the quince and cook interiors range

Malachite Marble Candle Holder - the perfect pop of colour!

clear glass Tilbury candle sticks from the quince and cook interior range

Tilbury Glass Candle Stick - a classic and elegant design. 

Important candle notes: 

  • Don’t leave candles on in rooms that you are not in 
  • Don’t leave candles on when you leave the house
  • Don’t leave candles next to flammable fabrics 
  • Don’t leave candles unattended around children or animals 

Top tip, when you can’t reach a wick any more light the end of a piece of spaghetti. Use this to reach into your candle and light the flame - voila!