With thousands of shapes, sizes and scents to choose from, picking the perfect candle for any occasion or mood has become a challenging task. Although candles and traditional lanterns are no longer used as a primary source of light anymore, according to the National Candle Association, a staggering 3 Billion dollars’ worth of candles are sold in the U.S alone with over a billion pounds of wax used in their production.  

Candles have progressed from being an everyday use item to be a festive or occasional novelty, making it special. Whether you’re hosting a holiday dinner, or you just want to add a touch of mindfulness to your interior décor, candles can help, and so can this guide!  

The numerous shapes, sizes and types of candles are designed keeping in mind the purpose that they’re intended to serve and knowing what type of candle to use for the occasion will not only create the perfect ambiance for the occasion but will also make you look a tad bit smarter.  

Without further ado, here’s a look at the different types of candles and what they’re best used for: 


1.Tea Lights


If you love tea or fondue, you know what these are. Tea lights are small round candles enclosed within thin, plastic or metal case. Although the name is derived from when these candles were used in teapot warmers, they’re now used mostly as a collection for ambient lighting at the dinner table. Tea lights are also perfect for fondue dates because they work wonders as fondue pot warmers whilst contributing to an intimate ambiance.  

Tea lights aren’t as long-lasting as other types of candles and multiple tea lights are used together depending on the amount of ambient glow needed.  Since they’re small and usually packed within metal cases, tea lights tend to float and can be placed in decorative bowls filled with water. Alternatively, candle stands like the Salvador II or Brophy II can safely host multiple tea lights on a flat surface and elevate your space.  The Salvador I, a wall candle holder, is also a great choice for hosting a collection of tea lights in your space. 


2. Votives


Votive candles are slightly larger than tea lights and burn longer as well. Normally measuring about 2.5” high and about 2” wide, votives are a great way to brighten up any room. Just like tea lights, votives too are available for reasonable prices and are an inexpensive way to decorate your dining and surrounding areas. Votive candles tend to be smoke-free and last longer than tea lights, making them a great choice for longer events.  

Although votive candles can be directly placed on flat surfaces, candle holders like the Grenadier and the Yerba are sure to look gorgeous in your space when used to host multiple votive candles. If you’re someone who prefers wall mounted candle holders, the Burlington, from our Winter ‘19 collection is an amazing candle holder that can host up to ten votive candles.  


3. Taper Candles


More commonly known as window candles, taper Candles are the most common types of candles and can be identified with ease. These sleek, tall candles are ageless and can burn for hours at a time, making them a great choice for long family dinners or parties. However, Taper candles can’t stand up on their own and require a taper candle holder for use.  The Mercana Marketplace is home to stunning taper candle holders like the Octavio, which can host up to nine candles and in-turn elevate your dining experience.  

Taper candles, when hosted by appropriate candle holders, are almost always guaranteed to augment the visuals of your space by adding depth and dimension to the pieces in their vicinity. In addition to adding depth, taper candles are known to add a touch of luxury and elegance to your space, thanks to their timeless nature.  

4. Pillar Candles


Pillar candles are thick and sturdy candles measuring approximately 6 inches wide 10 inches high that can be placed independently on a flat surface without the need of a candle holder or stand.  These large cylindrical candles can burn for hours at a time and are at times equipped with more than one wick. Pillar candles are a great way to add extra lighting to your space for prolonged periods of time without the need for a candle holder. These standalone candles help create a more welcoming atmosphere in any space and can be seen anywhere from dining areas to bedrooms.  

Although, pillar candles can be made to stand on their own, using a hurricane glass cover or candle holder is recommended in case you’re unsure if the surface is heat resistant or in case you want to minimize wax drips and flame hazards. The Mercana marketplace is home to several candle holders like the Atoll I which are specifically designed to host pillar candles on a flat surface. For those looking for a wall-mounted holder, the Milton or the Lars is a great choice among many others to help you brighten up your space with pillar candles.  


5. Floaters


Another type of candle you’ll want to familiarize yourself with is a floating candle. Approximately measuring the same size or slightly larger than tea lights, floating candles are designed to float on water. Available in numerous scents and colors, they look stunning in vases, bowls, champagne glasses or anywhere there’s water. 

Our favorite way to use floating candles is in a sleek, cylindrical vase with decorative pebbles or other items at the bottom. We recommend the Adriatic series of cylindrical vases from the Mercana marketplace if you’re looking to decorate your space with floating candles in a vase. 

This is all we have for you in this beginner’s guide and we hope that this article at least helped you understand the basics of candle selection. 

We’re planning an ultimate guide to candles and candle stands for our readers soon and we’d love to collaborate with credible designers on this blog. If you’d like to be featured, get in touch with our marketing team here