This five-step guide to using candles is a game changer

It will make you a Rockstar in the scent department
Simon Whitbread

Scents are part of everyday life and are the most common trigger of memories, so choosing the right scent can be tricky. Our expert guide shows you how to make the right choices for your home.

Using scent effectively is one of the most engaging and powerful skills you can master to create atmosphere in your home. We spoke to scent and candle expert Kaety Thompson from luxury bath and home e-commerce store Oliver Thom, to share her insights and some useful maintenance tips!

1. Pick more than one scent for the home

“When deciding to invest in scents for your home, don’t just pick the same scent for every space,” says Kaety. “Choose something fresh and fruity for the kitchen (such as apple, rosemary or caramel), calming and ambient for the bedroom (lavender, amber or vanilla) and for the bathroom a familiar scent that is not unlike your favourite perfume.”

“This allows your home to be a journey of scents where each room differs and can be mimicked to the style of the living space.”

“You decorate differently in different rooms, so your scent choice should also differ.”

Kaety Thompson, Oliver Thom
Five-step guide to burning candles
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

2. Choose a scent that matches your lifestyle

“If you are purchasing scents, normally there is a reason behind why you want it,” says Kaety. “Are you looking to relax, bring life to a room or freshen up a space?”

For relaxation

Rosehip scents can be quite powerful and easily transform your mood and productivity.

“Lavender and jasmine are excellent for relaxation and sleep so it’s always a great idea to keep this scent in the bedroom.”

For concentration

Lemon and citrus scents promote concentration and have calming and clarifying properties that are helpful when you’re feeling angry, anxious or run down.

For an energy boost

Rosemary and peppermint are great to give you a bit of a pick-up so recommended scents for the kitchen.

3. The bigger the room, the more candles you need

“Candles that are approximately 200g will scent an area of about 10sqm,” says Kaety. “So, if your space is larger definitely add a few of the same scented candle in the space to disperse the scent,” she suggests. “The placement of the candle can also affect its potency – make sure to keep the candle away from a breezy window or air-con as this will affect the strength of a scent,” Kaety warns.

“It’s important to keep a candle burning for at least an hour if you want that fragrance to really span the room, otherwise a quicker option would be a scent diffuser or room spray.”

Five-step guide to burning candles
(Credit: Chris Warnes)

4. Replace the candle before you finish it

“It’s usually best not to burn a candle right down to the bottom of the container (for fire safety reasons) however, once the candle wax gets down to about below a centimetre it is time to replace it,” Kaety advises. “If your candle is in a lovely glass or ceramic housing make sure to re-use it! Don’t be afraid to explore different scents as sometimes burning, the potency is different to an unburned candle.”

5. Quick tips for candle care

  • With new candles, light them for 2-3 hours so the fragrance is potent for future burns
  • Never blow out a candle! It is very important to use a wick snuffer instead, blowing it out affects the wick longevity and ruins the beautiful smell you have scented the room with.
  • It is very important to burn your incense sticks on a heat-resistant holder (for safety and cleaning reasons). A metal or brass holder will collect any hot ash that falls from the stick and look great too!

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