It’s becoming more common that landlords of large apartment buildings don’t allow candles into the spaces that they rent out. Some people prefer to keep candles out of their homes for safety reasons. It all makes sense – having an open flame in your home is obviously a dangerous tactic, but candles create such a homey and warm ambiance that you may hesitate to ditch them completely. Here are 6 ways to keep the look and feel of candles in your home without actually having to light a flame.
1.) Electric Candle Warmers
These are somewhat old-fashioned at this point, but if you haven’t tried one and are hoping to move away from traditional candles and more in the direction of something safer, give an electric candle warmer a try. They usually resemble a small hot plate but of some sort, but you can find some now that are decorative enough to resemble the base of an actual candle. You can purchase small plates to set on top of the warmer, and fill the plate with scented wax pods (sold at most candle retailers), and enjoy their scent as the heat melts them down.
Most wax is sold in the same scents as candles, but they don’t feature a wick, because no flame is necessary to heat these babies up and start spreading their scent! This way you enjoy the same aromas and warmth (since you are using a heater, after all) without the open flame.
Other, more modern electric candle warmers now look like a lamp shade that comes up from underneath a jar of wax and wraps around to heat up the top of the jar. These pieces can be very decorative and serve the same purpose as other electric candle warmers.
2.) LED Candles
If the atmosphere and lighting aspect of candles is what you’re looking for, and not so much the scent, then give a go at LED candles. LED candles are commonly found even in large grocery stores now with traditional tea lights. You can buy them relatively inexpensively in bulk, and they are the same size as a tea light, but have a small LED bulb instead of a wick to light. An on/off switch controls the power.
You can even now find decorative LED candles at most candle retail stores. They look exactly like your favorite traditional candles, but they don’t have the benefit of the aroma. But a simple flick of a switch lights up these beauties just as a flame would.
Some air fresheners can be too overpowering, and if you’re a candle person at heart, you probably steer clear of these for that very reason. But air freshener developers and even candle companies have now come out with plug-ins that plug easily into any standard outlet, and release wonderful scents into the air at a much less potent rate than an air freshener would.
The best part of plug-in scents is that there’s such a wide variety of aromas to choose from. If you find your plug-in liquids at your favorite candle store, they’ll smell exactly like your favorite candle. You won’t get the same lighting effects from plug-ins as you would candles, but they can be a great alternative if you want to keep a consistent, light scent in the air without having to worry about the safety of a lit candle.
4.) Decorative Candles
Maybe you’re a candle person just because you like how they look. With all of the accessories you can buy now to place atop your favorite jar candles, or the sleek dishes you can plant pillar candles in, or even mirrors to place fun wax design candles on, you may no longer even have a need to burn your candles! You can decorate your home with these decorative candles for their look, and if you’re longing for the aroma, use another method to achieve the effect you desire.
I’m not referring to those old brown paper lunch bags that you line your driveway with around Halloween and put a small candle inside of (man, how dangerous are those?!), but now you can find tabletop luminarias or even simple ones that hang from the ceiling. They’ll simulate the same kind of light that a candle would give off, and most are now available as electric plug-ins.
We know the lighting of your home or apartment is an important part of creating the perfect atmosphere you desire, so don’t give up the beautiful glow of a candle just becuase you don’t want (or aren’t allowed to have) an open flame in your home. Luminarias provide a very similar lighting effect.
6.) Consider Other Lighting Solutions
I’m a light person. I hate overhead fluorescent lights. I prefer a dull glow, similar to candlelight, but the landlord of my apartment building doesn’t allow them. My solution: I have some plug-in scents to fill my apartment with the aromas that I love, and I have found alternate lighting techniques to mimick the light created by candles.
I place a lot of small lamps in strategic places around my apartment. If there’s a dark area, I know that a small lamp could brighten it up just a touch. I have even found some table lamps that look exactly like candles.
I also use white Christmas lights year-round in my apartment. Depending on how you use them, Christmas lights are no longer just for Christmas. You can string them through garlands of vine or seasonal floral designs you find at your craft store, and instantly create the lighting scenario you desire. It’s not too bright, but just bright enough. The perfect replacement for my beloved candles!
On top of the outright dangerous of having an open flame in your home, studies done by the American Lung Association now show that candles are also among the most common culprits of poor indoor air quality. They are also, though, the most unrecognized. So by giving up your candle habit, you’ll not only be improving the safety of your home, but you’ll also be increasing the air quality. Consider making the switch to better health and safety today by setting aside your traditional candles and opting for some of these alternatives!
Allison Green is a homeowner in Massachusetts and mother of 3. She frequently contributes to home and garden columns and works closely with oil distributors to help lower Massachusetts heating oil prices to improve everyone’s home comfort and budget during the winter months.