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Candles are a delightful addition to any home, so having too many is difficult to imagine. However, placing an overabundance of candles in one room can quickly turn from pleasant to abhorrent. To avoid overwhelming the senses or negatively affecting the air quality of your home, you want to stick to an appropriate number of candles in each room — but just how many are too many?
More than three candles in a room are too many. You should limit candles based on the room’s size. Use no more than 1-3 candles in a room at any time. Too many candles in one room can harm the air quality, your mood, and the room’s overall feeling.
The rest of this article will explain how to properly place candles in your home, the adverse effects of excessive candles, the benefits of scented vs. unscented candles, as well as some tips for burning candles safely.
Properly Placing Candles in Your Home
Knowing how many candles to place in your home depends on the size and function of each room. For example, burning one candle may easily reach the entire space in a smaller room, like a powder room or a small bedroom.
However, in a larger room like a living or family room, you may need up to three candles burning at one time to achieve the ambiance you desire while still covering the entire room.
When a scented candle is burning, it drifts about the room, carrying its essence to every nook and cranny.
Have you ever walked into someone’s home and thought, “Wow, it smells good in here!”? Chances are, either there are cookies in the oven, or a fragrant candle is burning somewhere nearby.
Candles come in all shapes, sizes, and scents. Because the smell of a candle sets the tone for the room, many people choose specific fragrances that positively affect your mood. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that the part of your brain connected to memory and mood is stimulated by the smell of a scented candle!
Are you trying to create a calm, relaxing space? You might want to select a candle with lavender, chamomile, or sandalwood. These scents are known for their calming abilities.
Choosing the Right Scented Candle
How do you know which perfumes are suitable for your home? Check out the table below for some insight into which emotions different scents are said to promote.
|To Promote||Candle Scents To Try|
|Stress Relief||Lavender, Chamomile, or Sandalwood|
|Romance||Orange, Rose, or Patchouli|
|Joy||Vanilla or Jasmine|
|Productivity||Lemon, Rosemary, or Cinnamon|
Whether you’re burning off a crummy day with the aroma of lavender or filling the room with a cool, beachside scent on a summer day, candles have the power to change the entire mood of the room.
When choosing candles, you should always consider the way multiple scents will react with each other.
Two different fragrances may smell sensational on their own, but the combination of the two will have you holding your nose. Be sure to select scents that compliment each other. Otherwise, only burn one scented candle at a time.
Eliminating fragrances can be a good idea if you or anyone else who frequents your home has allergies or asthma.
By choosing a candle with no scent, you get the same warm glow without aggravating anyone’s fragrance sensitivities.
Unscented candles can also be a great alternative to aromatic candles when you’re using them for a purpose other than decor. Perhaps the power went out, and you need to use candles to light your home. Using unscented candles means you can burn more of them at one time without mixing scents and creating an unpleasant odor.
Risks of Excessive Candle Use
Candles are handy for covering up the smell of burnt dinner or your teenager’s stinky shoes, creating a peaceful ambiance around your bubble bath at the end of a stressful day, or filling the room with a pleasant holiday scent before your in-laws arrive for dinner.
While these are all common uses for candles, perhaps less commonly known is the carcinogenic toxins released into the air while they are burning.
However, you may want to note that some studies suggest the level of toxins released are too low to cause human health problems.
Too many candles can sometimes trigger pre-existing asthma or pesky allergies. When used irresponsibly, candles also pose a fire hazard to your home.
Additionally, if you’ve noticed discoloration on the walls and ceiling of your home- the soot released from burning candles is likely the culprit.
If you seem to have an issue with this discoloration, you should decrease the burn times on your candles. Most candles have a recommended burn time on their labels, and following these instructions can keep you and your home safe.
Tips for Using Candles Safely
Before you panic and start throwing all of your candles into the trash, know that these issues are relatively low-risk by burning candles safely and not too many at a time. Here are a few helpful suggestions to keep the flame burning:
- Always burn candles in a well-ventilated area.
- Limit burn-time to the candle-manufacturers recommendation (usually no longer than 4 hours)
- Trim the wick of your candle before lighting it for the first time. I recommend ¼” (6.35 mm).
- Choose soy or beeswax over petroleum-based candles whenever possible. Surprisingly, beeswax candles can clean the air by releasing negative ions that remove the toxins.
- Burn unscented candles if you or your guests have issues with asthma or allergies.
- Do not leave a burning candle unattended. Always extinguish the flame before leaving or going to bed.
Candles create a lovely ambiance in a room, but you don’t want to have too many burning at one time, or you risk overloading the senses and negatively affecting the air quality of your home. Limiting the number of candles in a room to three or fewer decreases the risk of fire or adverse reaction for you and your guests.
Over the years, candles have become a staple in many households. There’s no denying that when used responsibly, candles are a delightful addition to any home.
- Counseling Directory: Scented Candles to Reduce Anxiety
- Blue Ox Heating and Air: Are Candles Bad For The Air Quality In Your Home?
- National Candle Association: Candle Safety
- National Candle Association: FAQs
- Healthline: Is Burning Candles Safe or Bad for Your Health?
- Oasis Soul Scent Co.: Candle Safety
- House Fragrance: Where to Place Scented Candles?
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Giovanni Valle is an architect, designer, internet entrepreneur, and the managing editor of various digital publications including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place. He is the founder of BuilderSpace LLC.