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40 Unique Candle Decoration Ideas For the Modern Home

Candle decorating is very different than what you might be used to seeing. The classic Vanilla Bean 3-wick Yankee candle from your grandma’s living room is no more and the days of traditional taper candles and glass jar white-wax versions are long behind us. Modern candle manufacturers are not your typical factory-run operations and, increasingly, the beautiful candles you see adorning the shelves of your friend’s homes have been hand-poured by local artisans. We’ve seen a huge bump in at-home candle makers to be successful, giving them endless time for trial and error perfecting various waxes, scents, and molds which gives us a new flurry of candle decoration ideas to share.

People have really started to gravitate towards organic shapes and curves in their candle preferences, challenging the idea of what a traditional candle looks like. It is not uncommon for modern candles to look more like a sculpture than a candle, sometimes requiring a closer look (or smell) to determine that they are in fact wax. Using candles as decorative art pieces is gaining popularity as well and some of them end up being simply displayed and never burned. This trend is certainly evident in the pages of interior design magazines and blog feeds. There are many ways to go about styling your candles which is why we created this easy guide to our favorite candle decorating ideas and how to achieve the same looks in your own home.

Mix Geometric and Organic Shapes

Shapes are in. Basically, any geometric or organic shape that you can think of has been turned into a funky candle somewhere. Design lovers seem to be drawn to the ability to mix curved and organic lines with the rigid structure of 3D geometry. One easy way to achieve this contrast is using candles and candle holders. Some of them are designed to free-stand, whereas some of them are complemented beautifully by a minimalist holder. In many cases, the stand itself acts as the artistic element in the candle arrangement. Here’s a few examples of the ways shapes are being used in modern candle decoration ideas and displays:

These geometric pillar shaped candles can free-stand or be accented with a minimalist candle stand. They look great on an open shelf or curved side table. Image via LuluandGeorgia.com
This geo inspired tea light candle holder adds a mid-century modern design element to any space. Image via MaisonSimons on Pinterest.
The organic shapes of the bubble candle and sea shells make these ideal minimalist decor, styled here on a coffee table. Image via ElizanadEvelyn on Etsy.
These funky zig-zag candles are complimented by the rounded shapes of the smaller bubble candles. They give this book storage space a really fun vibe. Image via YuiBrooklyn on Etsy.
DIY Trend Candle Bending Aesthetic
DIY your own trendy bendy candles with Decoist’s How To Tutorial HERE. Image via @kyleneloucks on Instagram.

Select Decorative Candle Holders or Stands

The free-standing candle trend may not be your style for a number of reasons, some people prefer to avoid the safety risks of an open flame around kids and pets. There are straightforward candle decorating ideas that helps curb this problem by using clever placement of holders or stands. These can vary from very basic versions to lanterns or sconces. You’ve already seen some of the minimalist candle stands above, now consider these decorative holders that are a bit more of a statement piece:
This modern candle stand is a centerpiece that allows for interchangeable candles, ideal for a dining room table or mantle. Image via Urban Outfitters.
Brass candle stands elevate this living room space making the focus of the table a chic decor feature. Image via Pottery Barn.
These candle sconces add a modern spin to a rustic vibe. Image via PotteryBarn.
The BORRBY Lantern from Ikea adds peace of mind and a modern twist on the typical lantern. Image via IKEA.
The SeaGrass Candle Lantern at H&M combines a candle holder with a beach theme, it can hang or stand. Image via HerFamily.ie

Select Unique Candles

With such a wide variety of candle decoration ideas to choose from, it’s beyond boring to buy jar candles that end up blending into the rest of your decor. Try opting for a statement piece candle that stands out as it’s own work of art in your space. Statement candles don’t really need much else around them to complete the aesthetic and this makes them preferred by minimalists everywhere.

A recent trend in candle pouring highlights the beauty of the human body in wax, specifically the female form, and draws inspiration from the colors and curves of the naked body. Realistic wax molds create shapes inspired by the body, revealing an end sculpture that is not unlike a museum statue. Introducing one of these candles to your home offers a chic aesthetic and a fun conversation piece – the choice is yours whether or not to burn it! Check out these handmade body-inspired candles for sale on Etsy:

Nude Venus Goddess Figure Candles by DropDeadCandle on Etsy.

White, rose and gold leaf wax women. Candles by PhillyCandles on Etsy.
Figure candles and one small bubble candle styled by TMeruyArt on Etsy.

Some design enthusiasts have embraced the Grecian statue trend to add an ancient decor feature to their modern spaces. As it turns out, authentic stone busts of former philosophers can be quite expensive and obviously impractical. Enter the candle bust. Candle makers are selling much more affordable wax versions that can pass as the actual thing – unless you light them on fire of course. The majority of these candles free-stand (meaning you don’t need to buy a holder for them), this makes them easy to style on your bookshelves, mantles, or side tables as small minimalist pieces.

Appolo inspired wax bust by TheGoldenEraDecor on Etsy.
Venus and David wax candle sculptures by DiannasCandles on Etsy.

Shop Art Inspired Candle Jars

Okay, we’ll admit it: in some circumstances, jar candles are simply the more practical option especially if you’re interested in small space solutions or scent over visuals. There’s no need to compromise on style for practicality here and modern candle decoration ideas have designers making sure of that. Beautiful, artistic candle jars and bowls have begun to take over the shelves of department stores, refusing to be hidden away in holders or stands. The art-inspired jars act as a decor piece on their own and can add a much-needed pop of color or texture to a space. Consider these examples:
These fun jars from Anthropologie add a liveliness to and shelf or table. Image via Anthropologie.
Luxury Candle Decorating Ideas
This luxury jar candle acts as an eye-catching decor piece when the lid is on. Image via Net-A-Porter.com
The Muse Blanc Ceramic Candle adds texture and artwork to any space. Also available in gold. Image via JonathanAdler.com
The highly patterned mini tin candles by Voluspa add small pops of colour and intense aroma to any interior space. Image via Nordstrom.
The teakwood bowl acts as the decor feature in this candle. Image via Wayfair.
These vintage inspired glass candles by Urban Outfitters are a beautiful addition to any home, and certainly worth re-purposing the jar. Image via Urban Outfitters.

Use Wood

Going with a primitive look, wood dough bowl candles are super trendy and hot right now.

wood dough bowl candle with greenery
Photo from: iloseweightoday via Etsy

You can also add a touch of nature to a wood dough bowl candle by adding some fresh lavender or fruit pieces and spices.

wood dough bowl candles with orange and lavender
Photo from: TheBlackLabCandleCo via Etsy

Use wood to display plain tealights. A modern wood box can make a statement or impact on a coffee table or bookshelf.

wood tea light candle holder
Photo from: CreationsavecpassiCA via Etsy

Candle Sand

Candle sand is a new and modern trend. It generally comes in bags with the wicks floating throughout the bag. You can place the candle sand in any decorative dish that you like and then cut the wicks to suit the size.

For scented candle sand, add in a few drops of essential oils into the sand.

candle sand in wood container bless this home farmhouse sign wood trays
Photo from: Grace & co via Instagram

Toy DIY Candle Holder

Let your creative side out and make a decorative farmhouse candle holder using kid’s toys, a plate and some spray paint. If cows aren’t your thing, you can always use a plastic kid’s toy that is more to your liking.

This DIY is super easy. All you have to do is arrange three plastic cows and then glue a plate on top and then spray paint the whole thing. Place a candle in a glass vase and put it on top of the plate.

white candle holder with highland bulls pillar candles on table with mirror behind and rustic vase
Photo from: hollygraceblog via Instagram

Decorative Tealight Housing

You can get many different types of decorative tealight housing — and in this case, these are literally houses. 

Because these houses are white and neutral, they can work for everyday decor but also look great working in amount winter or Christmas decor for a cozy vibe.

decorative house tea light holders christmas greenery blue candle six wick large candle on wood base
Photo from: hollygraceblog via Instagram

Painted votives

Grab a plain white votive candle and let your creativity fly. These ones are painted up for Christmas and winter but you could really paint them in any fashion or style that you like.

painted snowmen on white votive candles Christmas tree background
Photo from: hollygraceblog via Instagram

Get creative with glass containers

Choose glass containers for the seasons or to match your everyday decor and then make your own candles to go in them. You can melt down candles you already have or start fresh.

glass pumpkin candle on coffee table with rae dunn mug and buffalo check pumpkin
Photo from: hollygraceblog via Instagram

Look outside of typical containers, too. This container is actually a drinking glass that was found in the Halloween section at the dollar store. Gold Foil is added to the outside to make it a glam yet creepy piece of Halloween decor.

glass skull candle eek black sign with crow sitting on top
Photo from: hollygraceblog via Instagram

Go bold and vintage with brass

Brass candlesticks in varying heights and styles can add a vintage charm to any vignette and home decor.

brass candlesticks on dresser with cage topiary greenery
Photo from: hollygraceblog via Instagram

Think of Seasons

Think of seasons when incorporating candles into your home. You can make your own candlesticks and DIY something unique and creative or you can shop from the seasonal section at home decor stores. Either way, switching out candles seasonally will give your home a fresh new look.

egg candlestick holders on table set for easter with bunny plates
Photo from: hollygraceblog via Instagram

Working with traditions of the season, too.

advent wreath purple and pink candles with nativity figurines poinsettia in background
Photo from: hollygraceblog via Instagram
christmas candles on snowy candlesticks with white cricut vinyl
Photo from: hollygraceblog via Instagram

Use Candle Rings and Wreaths

Candle rings and wreaths are available for pretty much every season and also available in everyday greenery. They add a touch of nature and earthiness to the home and can make a showstopping table centerpiece.

berry wreath candle ring with white lantern
Photo from: hollygraceblog via Instagram
spring candle ring wreath around white pillar coffee cup table espresso baby's breath
Photo from: En Tu Casa Marisela via Instagram
lavender wreath candle ring jar with lid close up
Photo from: SplendorandTwine via Instagram

Unified Colors

Arrange candles of different shapes and styles together on a tray but keeping with the same color scheme.

neutral candles different shapes on a tray
Photo from: shamduni.2020 via Instagram

Add in Nature

Use what mother nature gives us and add some real florals to a plain white pillar candle.

blue and pink flowers embedded into white pillar candles close up
Photo from: North Candles via Instagram

You can also add florals to the tops of a jar candle as well.

flowers in top of a white candle wood wick greenery around
Photo from: wickedwitchcandleco via Instagram

Sometimes Simple is Best

You can’t go wrong with simplicity. Sometimes all you need are some white pillars on a plain candle stand. I love the neutral wood stands featured here. It’s simple yet understated beauty.

simple white candles on neutral white wood stands wine glasses
Photo from: Cancun & RM Events via Instagram

Now you should be entirely caught up on the candle decoration ideas and trends that are taking over our Pinterest and Insta feeds. Not only that, you can feel confident styling them in your own home to match your personal vibe (whatever that may be). Whether you’re after the sexy-chic lines of the body sculpture candles or the strong angles of the geometric candles, our guide has you set up for success. You can go ahead and start the planning and shopping stages to bring these dreamy candle decorating ideas to life. Browse around local shops and Etsy stores to get the best quality, handmade candles for your home, plus it’s a great way to support small businesses in your area. Use our styling tips to set up your new candle arrangements and be sure to snap a picture and share them with us on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

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Kylene Loucks

I write for decoist.

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