I love decorating from the heart, and my mind often turns to using candles throughout the year, because they are so versatile and nostalgic. They can be placed in unexpected places to transform the space.

Depending on uniqueness and size they can become expensive, but with ingenuity and creativity you can surprise the eye and not spend much money.

Ideas for candles and decor:

• Buy small ball candles in colors that match your table setting and place them in glasses with stems that match or accent your

stemware.

• If you have a fireplace, larger candles can be placed in front of it making it feel as though the fire is closer to the outside and fills the room with the glow of the actual flames. Candle holders can also be purchased that fit inside a fireplace instead of building a fire.

• When using tall candles, buy the dripless kind to avoid a mess.

• Cluster candles on a mirrored tray, and their shine will be reflected.

• When clustering candles, fill in the spaces between the candles with creative things like leaves, ribbons, costume jewelry, seashells and any objects you have to make it more interesting.

• Candles can be put on anything: Blocks of wood, glass and many things turned upside-down create wonderful little pedestals for candles. Be sure the material isn’t flammable and can’t be stained by the color in the candles.

Going to craft stores will give you great ideas and enable you to buy odds and ends on sale to combine with your candle arrangement.

• Float votives in goblets filled with water — you can even sprinkle confetti into the water.

• Particularly for romantic occasions, you can cut out red paper hearts and put your candles on them.

Containers can be the key to creatively displaying your candles. Look around your home and you will find the unusual. Maybe you have a favorite glass wine decanter that you can fill with a large candle, or take several tall thin candles and tie them together with a ribbon or cord in the color of the holiday.

Recently I found a two-foot goblet and a brightly-colored, oversized candle to use as a surprise centerpiece. The candle was so large it rested on the rim of the goblet, leaving room inside to add water and several goldfish. I then added votives on the table to create a glow underneath and around it.

Candles can go in so many places. Put them by the tub so you can bathe in candlelight; put them by the kitchen sink or on the stove, and try cooking by candlelight. Have you ever put a candle on your desk by your computer?

There are special tools to help you with your candles. Be sure to use long matches or a candle lighter so as not to burn yourself when lighting them.

Use scissors with a long body and short blades to keep the wicks short. Long wicks make soot and smoky candles can darken your walls. Always use candle snuffers to put them out. This will minimize and contain the smoke. If you have a favorite aroma candle, let it be your personal statement.

The mood that is created with candlelight is romantic, calm, warm and inviting — just the way we all want to feel in a room. Candles are wonderful company anytime. So, plan your candle strategies, and see what happens.

Remember, rooms have no feelings,

but you do. JN

Barbara Kaplan, IFDA and Allied ASID, is a Phoenix-based holistic interior design consultant and the founder of Barbara’s Picks, an online resource for the best of the best design and lifestyle resources. Visit barbaraspicks.com for more information.

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