Have you ever had a candle that was so beautiful, you couldn’t bear to light it?
We’ve long been spoilt for choice with home fragrances in candle form, no matter how minimal or decorative, strong-smelling or subtle, there’s something for everyone.
However, candles are emerging as pieces of art in their own right. Sculpted into naked figurines, abstract objects, perfume bottles and twisted candlesticks, they’ve become an entirely new category of home decor.
One which, quite frankly, we’re obsessed with.
In fact, they look so good, we’re reluctant to ever burn them. Instead they’ll be holding space on our windowsills, tables and bedside drawers forever.
From the kitsch designs to the modern takes on traditional shapes, they are an instant interior update. So we’ve handpicked our favourite styles to adorn our mantelpieces and shelves with ASAP.
Many are small businesses, which during the pandemic, are worth supporting more than ever.
Online retailer Etsy, is unsurprisingly at the forefront of showcasing independent sellers who are stepping outside the box and inventing creative candle masterpieces, but there’s many others on our list too.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
The humble candlestick has had a rebrand. Once the reserve of church altars, they are now all over Instagram, mostly thanks to Lex Pott, a Rotterdam-based designer.
Quirky candle moulds like this Areaware goober candle el (Good Hood, £28) also caught our eye for their playful shape.
Is it a just an artsy blob? Or an abstract whale? Who knows, but either way, it’s a conversation starter.
The female form
Sculptures have become a source of inspiration for many candle creators.
Take this Cire Trudon Marie Antoinette bust candle (Harrods, £110), moulded to recreate an elaborate portrait of the controversial monarch.
With intricate detailing from a row of pearls to perfectly coiffed hair, it’s much cheaper than a marble version with much the same effect (as long as you don’t burn it, that is.)
We also love this Venus bust candle (Etsy, £30) too. It’s a detailed depiction of the naked form, inspired by the goddess of love, beauty, prosperity and victor, Venus.
Hand-poured in London using soy wax and natural dyes, it’s also available in pale blue, orange, grey and baby pink.
This flesh babe candle trio gift box (Etsy, £27.68) offers more realistic skin tones if you’re looking for a style that’s closest to the naked female body.
We’ll be keeping ours on display on our bedside drawers, unlit of course, as we couldn’t bear to burn a single bit of it.
Keep an eye on Trippy Tuesday too, which creates body-positive candles in small batches that always sell out.
If you love a fruit centrepiece, you’d be forgiven for mistaking this tropical set of eight candles (Etsy, £48.29) for actual food.
In this set, you’ll get watermelon cones, a kiwi, lemon and lime, which are colourful, bold and most definitely mouth-watering.
Definitely not made for eating, each candle is hand-painted so is unique, with impressive attention to detail.
For another statement look, plump for these pyramid marbled candles (Etsy, £7.95). Available in an array of colours, they are hand marbled and shun the classic candle shape.
If you do plan on burning them, make sure they are placed on a tray or plate so you don’t burn through a table or surface.
With colourways from sky blue swirls to fiery reds and oranges, they are also available in a range of sizes.
Plants and perfume
For fans of foliage, we’d recommend this pillar leaf candle (Etsy, £9.44) that is cleverly handmade using soy wax to the look of giant leaves encasing it.
It’s the most fuss-free way to bring the plant trend into your home, with little to no care needed once you’ve chosen where to put it. Just give it quick dust now and then to keep it looking fresh.
While you may know Acqua di Parma’s for its luxurious fragrances and body care products, the brand’s large yellow cube scented candle (John Lewis, £90) isn’t one to miss out on.
Available in four colours and scents including black (amber) and white (cloves), the sturdy block shape will make a great focal point on any mantle piece.
We love the vibrancy of the mustard yellow and its citrussy scent is bound to freshen up any room. It’s like a burst on sunshine for your windowsill.