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CANDLE CHARACTERISTICS:
SAFELY CREATING AMBIANCE IN YOUR HOME

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candlelit tub with fireplace

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If you love to decorate, chances are that candles are present in many rooms of your house. They are the perfect addition for beautifying the space and creating a mood. Decorating with candles immediately adds style to a room and also provides added warmth. The soft flickering of light and lovely aromas exude relaxation and serenity. Perfect for any room, candles come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and designs.

 

In recent times, homeowners have been attracted to candles thanks to their designs and ability to produce an ambience for a particular space. However, candles have been most popular for their illumination effects for more than 5,000 years. The Egyptians and ancient Romans developed wicked candles to help travelers at night, light their homes, and celebrate religious ceremonies. The Jewish Festival of Lights centers on the lighting of candles and dates back to 165 B.C.

 

Around the Middle Ages, beeswax candles became a major improvement in the development of the candle. Unlike animal-based tallow, beeswax burned pure and cleanly. It also eliminated the smoky flame and produced a pleasant sweet smell. Candle making of tallow candles with kitchen fats became a guild craft in England and France around the 13th century. Colonial women boiled bayberries to produce a sweet, clean wax for candles. The next major improvement came in the late 18th century with the availability of whale oil. It burned clean, produced a brighter light and was harder than tallow and beeswax. In the 1820’s, French chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul discovered how to extract stearic acid from animal fatty acids. The stearin wax proved to be hard, durable and burned cleanly. Inventor Joseph Morgan developed a machine that produced molded candles in 1834. This expansion for the candle industry made them easily affordable for the masses. With the introduction of the light bulb in 1879, candle making began to decline, however, they renewed popularity during the first half of the 20th century. Paraffin and stearic acid, the basic ingredients of candles, increased in availability with the growth of the U.S. oil and meatpacking industries.

 

candle decor on a cozy covered porch

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It was in the mid-1980’s when candles started to become most popular as decorations, mood-setters and gifts. They suddenly were available in a vast range of shapes, colors and sizes, and consumer interest in scented candles began to heighten. New types of waxes developed in the 1990’s, including soybean and palm waxes. Now the perfect home décor, candles soothe the senses, symbolize celebration and set the ideal mood for every room.

foyer table with candle arrangement

When decorating with candles, keep in mind a particular theme or style of the room. Tables are probably the most popular space for candles. Votive and pillar candles are especially great for accenting coffee or end tables. Many homeowners cluster them together on a plate or inside a bowl. Taper and floating candles are particularly elegant for dining and kitchen tables. Fireplace mantles are also fashionable places for candles. Accented with some tall, floor-standing candleholders, the fireplace becomes the immediate focal point of the room. Decorative candles are perfect for accenting cabinets and countertops. Some people install wall sconces that enhance the matching décor. If you want to help promote relaxation, try arranging various size candles all

around the bathroom and bedroom.

They provide the perfect light and setting for indulging in a hot bath.

 

holiday candles

 

Decorating with candles is a great opportunity to mix and match other décor and get creative. Many homeowners include glass gems, beads, shells, crystals, jewels and rocks with their candle decorations. Some people paint special designs on the candles and holders to reflect a certain theme. Many candleholders, such as glass hurricanes, display a certain era of décor, like Victorian, Colonial, Modern or Art Deco. Small terra cotta pots, special teacups and colorful bottles make stylish, unique and imaginative candleholders. Combining candles with mirrors is incredibly fashionable and provide twice the light with the reflections.

 

elegant dining room with candles 

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Candles are also a lot of fun when decorating for parties, events and seasons. The perfect centerpiece for a tropical party would be an arrangement of candles with sand and seashells. Try mixing candles with greenery and silk flowers to bring in the spring season. Christmas candles provide the perfect smells and look beautiful arranged with glass ornaments.

cozy wine cellar with candles

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Pillar candles are the best for long-term usage because they are thicker and often have multiple wicks. Jar candles are great for providing aromas. Tea lights, votive and floating candles are easily replaceable and can be changed out from time to time. It is very important to be safe when burning any type of candle.

Here are a few tips to reduce the possibility of a fire:

- Monitor lit candles and extinguish them before going to sleep. Make sure a candle is completely extinguished and the wick ember is no longer glowing. Never use a candle as a nightlight.

- Burn candles away from anything that will catch fire, like drapes, bedding, furniture, paper, etc.

- Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets where they cannot be knocked over.

- Trim candlewicks to 1⁄4 inch each time before burning. Extinguish a candle if it smokes, flickers repeatedly, or the flame becomes too high. Do not burn the candle all the way down and discontinue use when 2 inches of wax remains or 1⁄2 inch if in a container.

- Be sure the candleholders are the proper size for the candles and heat resistant. Place only on a stable, heat-resistant surface as well.

- Always burn candles in a well-ventilated room and avoid air drafts. Don't burn too many candles in a small room or where air exchange is limited.

- Do not move or touch a lit candle or while the wax is still liquid.

- Do not use water to extinguish candle because it may cause hot wax to splatter. Use a candlesnuffer instead.

- Use extreme care when using candles during a power outage. Battery-powered lights are safer sources of light during a power failure. Keep away when fueling equipment and refrain from using candles in a closet.

 

luxurious master bathroom with candles surrounding the tub

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Candles are an incredibly affordable and simple way to set a mood for every room in your home. Having evolved a long way from their original use, these miraculous wax art pieces add both visual and actual warmth to any décor. Although they are no longer man's major source of light, they continue to grow in popularity for home usage and display. They make an artistic statement and can cast a warm and inviting glow for all to enjoy.

 

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