There are so many reasons for the popularity of candles: the incredibly flattering light they throw, for one. They make ideal gifts, as well, combining luxury with affordability: maybe you can’t stretch to buying a designer fragrance, but you can give the gift of a heavenly scent.
And, on the subject of fragrance, a candle’s ability to infuse a room with scent is one of the very loveliest things about them – but, in the same way that aromatherapy works to evoke certain moods by way of smell, candles can also have an impact on the ‘energy’ of the space they light. By harnessing the knowledge of what different aromas conjure up, you can curate fragrances within your home to set the scene of your choice.
Smells that Boost Your Mood
Maybe it’s because it takes us back to comfort food and Mom’s apple pie, but the scent of spiced apple has been shown to reduce blood pressure and alleviate stress. Sure, you could just bake an apple pie (save a slice for us if you do!) but for a quick and calorie-free fix, light the flame of a candle that smells just as good.
Lavender, as well, as reducing stress levels, is also thought to provide pain relief. If you can’t be popping over to Provence every time a migraine strikes, then a candle harnessing the same aroma could be a viable – even if not as ‘grammable – alternative. It’s also useful in promoting rest, relaxation and sleep.
“Rosemary, that’s for remembrance,” said Ophelia in Hamlet – and there’s something more to this than the ramblings of a woman driven mad by grief. Rosemary has been shown to sharpen mental function, so this type of candle is a great one to burn when you have a task to perform, a test to study for or an assignment to complete. Lilac is also thought to improve memory, so there’s an alternative if you’re not keen on the scent of rosemary. Peppermint, too, makes you more alert and, although you may not think of lighting a candle before exercising, it has been shown to improve speed, strength, and grip – now there’s a workout hack we live with!
Scents that Set the Scene
Using scent is not always about achieving a specific result, though – sometimes it’s just about enhancing a mood or complementing something else that’s taking place. Say you’re throwing a dinner party: big sharing platters of Moroccan food served in straight-from-the-bazaar ceramics accompanied by small, patterned tea glasses … is lavender the scent for this evening? No way. You want exotic scents like rose and cinnamon to enhance the experience, transporting your guests to another place and culture.
Every home needs its atmosphere rebooted from time to time and citrus scents are guaranteed mood boosters – choose from lemon, grapefruit, and orange – or a lively combination! – to purify, uplift, invigorate and brighten.
What, you didn’t think we were going to leave out love, did you? If you’re setting the scene for an intimate night in, then any candle is going to cast a romantic glow, but certain scents are going to increase your chances of success more than others! If you’ve got romance on your mind, then floral scents can really add something to the mood, but choose carefully to avoid evoking mental images of grandmothers: opt for floral notes with a hint of spice so that the vibe isn’t too innocent and demure. Or, if you have full-blown passion in mind, then opt for aphrodisiacal scents like chocolate, cinnamon, fig, and pomegranate – and get ready for a wild night in!