How to Use Candles in Sustainable Home Decor

Incorporating candles into your home decor can elevate the ambiance, creating a warm and inviting space. But with the increasing emphasis on sustainability, it’s essential to ensure that our love for candles aligns with eco-friendly practices. Here’s a guide on how to use candles sustainably in your home decor.

Before integrating candles into your decor, it’s crucial to understand what makes a candle sustainable. Opt for candles made from natural ingredients like soy or beeswax. These burn cleaner, last longer, and are less harmful to the environment compared to paraffin-based candles

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Embracing Hygge: The Cozy Danish Concept

The Danish concept of Hygge (pronounced “hooga”) has gained international recognition and admiration over the past few years. It embodies a sense of warmth, contentment, and well-being derived from simple pleasures and intimate moments. While the term is challenging to translate directly into English, it encapsulates feelings of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying life’s simple moments.

Candles: The Quintessence of Hygge

Candles play a pivotal role in creating the Hygge ambiance. Their soft, flickering light provides a sense of calm, warmth, and intimacy, essential to the Hygge experience. In Denmark, where the climate can be cold, dark, and wet for extended periods, candles offer a beacon of warmth and comfort, making winter the prime time for Hygge. Moreover, the act of lighting a candle, whether scented or unscented, can transform an ordinary space into a cozy haven, perfect for relaxation and reflection.

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Sustainable Home Decor and Hygge

Hygge aligns seamlessly with sustainable home decor principles. Both emphasize quality over quantity, cherishing items that have meaning, longevity, and a minimal environmental footprint. Sustainable home decor, much like Hygge, focuses on creating spaces that nurture well-being and contentment.

Designers and merchandisers have recognized the global appeal of Hygge, leading to the creation of Hygge-inspired housewares, particularly cuddly blankets and soothing candles. These items, often made from sustainable materials, reflect the values of both Hygge and sustainable living.

Why Hygge Matters in Sustainable Home Decor

  1. Natural and Sustainable Materials: Hygge encourages the use of natural elements, from wooden furniture to woolen throws. These materials are not only sustainable but also add a touch of nature to the decor, enhancing the overall sense of well-being.
  2. Mindful Consumption: Hygge is about cherishing the moment and the essentials. This aligns with sustainable principles of buying less but of higher quality, ensuring longevity and reducing waste.
  3. Community and Togetherness: At its core, Hygge is about spending quality time with loved ones. Sustainable living also emphasizes community and shared values, making the two concepts harmonious.
  4. Well-being and Health: The calming ambiance of a Hygge-inspired space, accentuated by candles, can have therapeutic benefits, reducing stress and promoting mental well-being.

Hygge, with its emphasis on simplicity, contentment, and the joy of the present moment, beautifully complements the principles of sustainable home decor. Candles, as symbols of warmth and coziness, bridge the two concepts, creating spaces that are not only environmentally friendly but also nurturing for the soul.

Benefits of Using Candles in Sustainable Home Decor

Natural Ingredients Over Chemicals

Many sustainable candles are made from natural ingredients like soy wax, which is derived from soybeans. Unlike traditional paraffin candles, which are made from petroleum, soy candles are made from a renewable source. According to Livestrong, paraffin candles release carcinogenic substances into the air when burned, whereas soy candles do not.

Energy Efficiency

Using candles as a primary light source in the evenings can reduce the need for electric lighting, conserving energy and reducing electricity bills.

Biodegradable and Renewable

Soy candles are biodegradable and made from renewable resources. As highlighted by Smell the Scent, soy candles are derived from soybeans, making them completely renewable and biodegradable.

Supports Local Artisans and Economy

Many sustainable candle brands are small businesses that handcraft their products. Additionally, the production of soybeans supports the local US economy. In fact, around 12,000 Michigan soybean farmers add $1.67 billion to the economy annually, generating approximately 14,000 jobs for the state each year.

Reusable Containers

Many sustainable candle brands prioritize packaging that can be repurposed. Once the candle has burned out, the container can be reused, reducing waste.

Enhances Well-being

Beyond sustainability, candles have therapeutic properties. Chryssa Chalkia, a clinical integrative psychotherapist, states that scented candles can play an essential role in the physiological effects of mood, stress, and overall mental health.

Minimalist Aesthetic

Sustainable decor often leans towards minimalism, emphasizing quality over quantity. Candles fit perfectly into this aesthetic, offering both function and beauty without cluttering a space.

Reduces Electronic Screen Time

In an age dominated by screens, candles can encourage more ‘unplugged’ moments, promoting better sleep and overall health.

Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable

Unlike paraffin candles, which release massive amounts of carbon dioxide (about 10 grams per hour), soy wax releases significantly lower amounts of carbon dioxide, making it more environmentally friendly. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

Improved Sleep

Certain scents, like lavender, have been known to induce sleep. Scented soy candles can help improve the quality of sleep, making them a smart addition to sustainable home decor.

A Sojourn Company Canoe Lake Candle in blankets

Using Candles in Sustainable Decor Across Your House

Candles have a unique way of transforming spaces, and when paired with sustainable decor, they can elevate the ambiance of any room in your home. In the living room, consider using scented soy candles with calming fragrances like lavender or vanilla. Their biodegradable nature ensures a clean burn, and when placed in reclaimed wood or recycled glass holders, they add a rustic touch. Grouping candles of varying heights on a coffee table or fireplace mantel can serve as a cozy focal point.

Moving to the dining room, tall taper candles in brass or wooden candlesticks can set an elegant mood. During meals, it’s preferable to use unscented candles so as not to overshadow the aroma of the food. A centerpiece featuring candles surrounded by seasonal organic fruits or dried flowers can add a sustainable touch to your dining setting.

In the kitchen, candles infused with herbaceous scents like rosemary, basil, or citrus can evoke culinary inspirations. However, always ensure that candles are placed safely away from the stove and other heat sources. Repurposing old mason jars as candle holders can lend a chic, sustainable look to the kitchen space.

For the bedroom, a sanctuary of relaxation, opt for candles with scents that promote tranquility and sleep, such as chamomile, lavender, or sandalwood. Lanterns with candles can cast soft, dreamy shadows, enhancing the room’s peaceful ambiance. A single, elegant candle on a bedside table, paired with a good book, can create a cozy reading nook.

The bathroom can be transformed into a spa-like retreat with the right candles. Eucalyptus or mint-scented candles can elevate your bath experience, and for an added touch of luxury, consider using floating candles in the bathtub. Sustainable holders made from materials like bamboo or recycled glass can complement the eco-friendly vibe.

In your home office, where focus is paramount, candles with scents like rosemary or citrus can enhance concentration. A minimalist candle holder with a subtle candle, placed alongside potted plants or succulents, can introduce a touch of nature, promoting a calm working environment.

Lastly, the entryway or hallway is the first impression guests have of your home. Greet them with welcoming scents like cinnamon or apple. Wall sconces can provide soft lighting and create a warm entrance ambiance. Repurposing containers, like old wine bottles or vintage vessels, as unique candle holders can add character to these transitional spaces.

In conclusion, while candles inherently add warmth and ambiance to spaces, their pairing with sustainable decor elements ensures that the beauty they bring is both eco-friendly and soul-soothing. As you light up your rooms, you’re also shining a light on the importance of sustainable living. Enjoy the serene glow and the peace of mind it brings!

General Tips:

  • Always opt for candles made from natural waxes like soy or beeswax, as they’re more sustainable and burn cleaner.
  • Reuse old containers or purchase candles in recyclable or reusable containers to reduce waste.
  • Ensure candles are placed safely, away from flammable materials, and never leave them unattended.

Incorporating candles into your sustainable home decor not only adds warmth and ambiance but also promotes eco-friendly living. Enjoy the glow!