The Complete Guide to Choosing the Right Scented Candle for Your Home

  • By: Carole Brooks
  • Date: 07.09.2023
  • Time to read: 10 min.

Scented candles are a popular home fragrance product. They come in an array of scents, from floral to fruity to woodsy. Scented candles also come in different types of wax, each with their own properties and benefits. Here is an overview of some of the most common types of candle wax used for scented candles.

Soy Candles

Soy candles are made from soybean oil. Soy wax is a vegetable-based, natural wax. It is an alternative to paraffin wax, which is a petroleum-based product.

Some benefits of soy candles include:

  • Clean burning – Soy wax has a low melting point and doesn’t produce smoke as it burns. This results in a cleaner burn compared to paraffin.
  • Long-lasting scent – The natural properties of soy wax help scented candles retain their fragrance longer. The scent throws well from soy candles.
  • Environmentally-friendly – As a renewable, natural vegetable wax, soy is more eco-friendly than paraffin.
  • Smooth appearance – Soy wax hardens into a smooth surface with a glossy finish.

The drawbacks of soy candles are that they can be more expensive than paraffin and may not hold up well in high temperatures. The wax can also get oily in very hot environments.

Beeswax Candles

Beeswax is a natural wax made by honey bees. Beeswax candles burn cleaner than paraffin and are free of petroleum.

Some benefits of beeswax candles:

  • Natural wax – Beeswax is an all-natural, organic product collected by honey bees.
  • Sweet honey scent – Beeswax candles have a light, sweet, honey-like fragrance when burning.
  • Slow-burning – Beeswax is denser than other waxes, making it longer-burning. The candles burn brighter and slower.
  • Eco-friendly – Beeswax is a renewable, sustainable wax. There are no additives or dyes.
  • Non-toxic – Beeswax produces negligible soot and melts at a low temperature, making it non-toxic and safe to burn indoors.

The downside is beeswax is usually more expensive than soy or paraffin wax. It can also be prone to frosting, which is a white, powdery substance that can develop on the candle surface.

Paraffin Candles

Paraffin wax comes from petroleum. It is the most common and affordable candle wax today.

Benefits of paraffin candles:

  • Availability – Paraffin is readily available and cost-effective. Paraffin candles come in a wide range of prices.
  • Easy to work with – Paraffin is easy to dye and blend with scents. It’s versatile for candle making.
  • Good burn qualities – Properly formulated paraffin wax has an even burn rate and clean melt pool.
  • Hot throw – Paraffin disperses fragrance well when burning. It gives off a strong scent.

The drawbacks of paraffin are that it emits more soot and fumes than natural waxes when burning. Paraffin is also not biodegradable or renewable.

Gel Candles

Gel candles use a transparent, gel-like wax. Common gel candle waxes are mineral oil based or a polymer resin.

Benefits of gel candles:

  • Crystal clear appearance – Gel wax is see-through and clear like glass. Decorations and embeds can be displayed.
  • Long-lasting fragrance – The gel wax helps maintain the fragrance intensity even when not lit.
  • Smooth finish – After cooling, the gel wax hardens into a smooth, glass-like surface.
  • Burn slowly – Gel candles can burn up to 50% slower than other wax types, giving more candle burning time.
  • Odorless melting – Gel wax doesn’t emit any scent as it melts. Only the candle fragrance is noticeable.

The disadvantages of gel candles are they can get very hot while burning and the exterior can get sooty during burns. Proper container choice is important to prevent overheating.

Key Differences Between Candle Waxes

When selecting a scented or decorative candle, the wax type makes a difference in factors like fragrance, appearance, burn quality, and more. Here’s a quick look at how soy, beeswax, paraffin, and gel candles compare:

Vegetable-basedNatural, organicPetroleum-basedMineral oil or polymer resin-based
Clean burnLong-burningHot throwCrystal clear
ExpensiveExpensiveVersatileProne to soot
Prone to frostingCan overheat

Choosing the Right Candle Wax

When buying a scented or decorative candle, consider what features are important to you. Soy, beeswax, paraffin, and gel each have their own advantages and drawbacks.

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Here are some tips for choosing candle wax:

  • Soy – Best if you want an eco-friendly, natural wax with minimal smoke. Avoid if you live in hot climates.
  • Beeswax – Ideal if you want a 100% natural, non-toxic candle with a honey scent. Pick beeswax if you don’t mind a higher price tag.
  • Paraffin – Go for paraffin if you want an affordable, strong-scented candle. Avoid if you are sensitive to petroleum products or soot.
  • Gel – Choose gel candles if you want slow-burning, crystal clear wax to showcase decorations or embeds. Don’t use gel if you plan to burn the candle for many hours unattended.

Whatever type of scented candle you choose, be sure to follow safe candle burning practices. Trim wicks before lighting, keep away from flammable objects, don’t burn for more than 4 hours at once, and don’t leave burning candles unattended. With the right care, scented candles can provide hours of aromatic ambiance and décor in your home.s, and:

Choosing the Right Scented Candle for Your Mood

Scented candles can do more than just fill a room with fragrance. Different scents can help evoke certain moods, emotions, and mindsets. Choosing a scented candle with an appropriate fragrance for your desired mood can enhance that feeling. Here is how to pick scented candles for relaxation, romance, energy, or festive moments.

Relaxation and Stress Relief Candles

After a long stressful day, a calming, relaxing scented candle can help you unwind. Look for these types of scents and notes to help create tranquility:

Lavender, Chamomile, Ylang Ylang

Candles with a lavender, chamomile or ylang ylang aroma provide a soothing effect. These floral scents have calming properties and are associated with reduced anxiety and sleep promotion. Light one of these before bedtime to help you relax and prepare for sleep.

Vanilla, Almond, Coconut

Warm, sweet scents like vanilla, almond and coconut have a comforting quality perfect for relaxation. These scents remind us of familiar baked goods and sweet treats, inducing a feeling of calm. Burn a vanilla or coconut scented candle after work to transition into your home and personal time.

Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Pine

Natural woodsy scents like sandalwood, cedar and pine have an earthy quality. Inhaling these forest-inspired notes helps promote inner calmness. The woody aromas remind us of being grounded and surrounded by nature. Burn a woodsy candle during meditation or while reading to unwind.

Jasmine, Rose, Lily

Floral scents like jasmine, rose and lily have an elegant, uplifting effect. Their sweet, delicate aroma is associated with peacefulness and tranquility. Light a floral candle while taking a warm bath to create a spa-like escape.

Romance and Intimacy Candles

Candles can help set the mood for romance with sensual, luxurious fragrances. Here are some scent notes to look for to spark intimacy:

Vanilla, Chocolate

Rich, edible aromas like vanilla and chocolate have an indulgent quality. The sweet gourmand notes remind us of dessert and treats, making them a sensual scent for date nights. Burn a chocolate or vanilla scented candle during a romantic dinner or evening at home.

Rose, Jasmine, Lilac

Floral fragrances like rose, jasmine and lilac have a delicate, feminine allure. Their soft, elegant aroma promotes romance and passion. Light these floral candles in the bedroom to create a loving ambiance.

Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Musk

Exotic, spicy scents such as ylang ylang, patchouli and musk have bold sensual notes. Their potent, mysterious aromas are thought to increase libido and intimacy. Choose a candle with these rich fragrances to spark passion.

Sandalwood, Amber, Cedarwood

Woody scents like sandalwood, amber and cedarwood have an earthy, masculine quality. Their warm, woodsy aroma promotes coziness and affection. Burn a candle with these scents while enjoying wine by the fire for an amorous evening.

Energy and Focus Candles

On slow days when you need a boost of energy or help concentrating, scent can come to the rescue. Look for these stimulating notes:

Citrus – Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange

Zesty, fresh citrus fragrances such as grapefruit, lemon and orange have uplifting, energizing effects. Tart, bright scents are associated with improved mood, alertness and clarity. Keep a citrus candle on your desk and light it when you need a midday pick-me-up.

Mint, Eucalyptus

Invigorating scents like mint and eucalyptus have a cool, crisp aroma. Their herbal notes help stimulate the senses and provide a burst of energy. Burn a minty candle while working or studying to stay alert and focused.

Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves

Warm, spicy aromas such as ginger, cinnamon and cloves naturally perk up the senses. Their bold scents can help boost energy and concentration. Light a spiced candle in the afternoon when you hit a midday lull and need to power through.

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Coffee, Chocolate

The rich scents of coffee and chocolate candles provide a jolt of energy reminiscent of the actual beverages. Inhaling the dark roast and cocoa notes can help you feel more awake without actually consuming caffeine or chocolate! Burn these candles in the morning while getting ready.

Festive and Holiday Candles

Scented candles are a great way to get your home feeling festive for holidays and special occasions. Look for these evocative notes:

Pumpkin, Apple, Maple

For autumn vibes, choose candles with notes like pumpkin, apple pie and maple. Their warming gourmand scents conjure imagery of falling leaves and Thanksgiving meals. Burn spiced pumpkin or apple candles to get cozy for autumn.

Peppermint, Fir Trees, Cranberry

Capture the essence of winter holidays like Christmas with peppermint, evergreen and cranberry-scented candles. These fragrances represent holiday memories and seasonal cheer. Light a wintery candle while trimming the tree or exchanging gifts.

Lavender, Lilac, Orange Blossom

In springtime, grab candles scented with lavender, lilac or orange blossoms. These floral fragrances remind us of blooming flowers and new beginnings. Use a sweet floral candle for Easter dinners or Mother’s Day brunches.

Coconut, Mango, Hibiscus

For summery fun, look for tropical candles with notes of coconut, mango, hibiscus or pineapple. Fruity, vacation scents conjure images of beaches and sun. Burn a tropical candle anytime you want to be transported to paradise.

Make Memorable Moments with Scent

A scented candle that complements your mood or activities can enhance the moment. Let relaxing lavender provide zen after a stressful day. Burn romantic rose petals to fan the flames of love. Get energized with zesty grapefruit before tackling a big project.

Create festive fun with cranberry or pumpkin spice for the holidays. With a little planning, you can pick the perfect scented candle to help set the mood anytime.

How to Select the Perfect Candle for Your Home Decor

Scented candles don’t just provide fragrance. They also serve as decorative accents in your home. Choosing candles that coordinate with your decor ensures they enhance the aesthetic while filling rooms with beautiful aroma. Here are tips for selecting candles based on color, fragrance, size and more.

Complementing Color and Design

When possible, opt for candles in colors that fit seamlessly into the room’s decor palette.

  • Match Existing Accent Colors

Look at accent pillows, rugs, artwork and other decorative items with bold colors. Select candles in the same hues to tie the look together. A burgundy candle complements wine-colored sofa pillows. Mint candles pair nicely with mint green kitchen accessories.

  • Consider Neutrals

You can never go wrong with neutral colored candles like white, ivory, tan, gray, or black. They blend into almost any color scheme cleanly. Neutral candles act as a blank canvas you can accessorize with various colors.

  • Style of Container

Choose candle vessels that align with your decor style. Opt for sleek, modern glass holders in contemporary spaces. Go for ornate metal containers and taper candles in traditional rooms. Rustic, earthy ceramic holders suit farmhouse cozy spaces.

  • Read the Room

Assess the room’s overall aesthetic before selecting a candle. Make sure the candle’s design aligns with the intended vibe. The candle should enhance the room, not clash.

Matching color and style creates a cohesive, pulled-together look.

Fragrance Notes and Strength

Factor in how the candle’s scent will fill the space.

  • Size of Room

Very large rooms may require a strong, robust fragrance to sufficiently scent the entire area. Smaller spaces are easily filled with lighter scents.

  • Fragrance Categories

Citrus and floral candles work well in kitchens and baths. Woody and spicy aromas are ideal for living rooms. Go for calming lavender or vanilla for bedrooms.

  • Scent Compatibility

Ensure the candle aroma complements any existing home fragrances like essential oil diffusers, room sprays, or potpourri. Contrasting scents can clash.

  • Allergy Concerns

If allergies are a concern, opt for soy, beeswax, or clean-burning paraffin candles. Avoid heavily perfumed candles or synthetic fragrances which can irritate allergies.

Choosing an appropriate scent prevents overpowering the space or mixing competing aromas.

Candle Size and Burn Time

Factor in the candle’s size, shape, and burn duration.

  • Intended Use

Large pillar candles work well as decorative centerpieces. Opt for smaller votives or tealights to fill your aroma needs. Very large candles can provide ambiance for gatherings.

  • Burn Duration

If you want to minimize replacing candles, opt for a large single wick or triple wick style that can burn for 80-100 hours. Smaller containers may only last 20-40 hours with regular use.

  • Size Proportionality

Make sure the candle size looks balanced within the space. A tiny candle can get lost on a large mantle or table. Oversized candles can look awkward on small surfaces.

With the right candle height and wick count, you can control both the look and burn time.

Create a Cohesive Aroma Strategy

From color palette to scent notes, many factors play into finding the ideal candles for your home. When used thoughtfully, candles both enhance and complement your decor scheme. Follow these tips to create a welcoming space filled with beautiful fragrance and style.

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