Christmas candle ideas - 15 ways to light up your home in style

Try these Christmas candle ideas to bring some sparkle and shine to your festive decor this holiday season

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Get your festive decorating scheme off to a sparkling start with Christmas candle ideas to light up every room. Candlelight is an instant mood changer, creating a soft and cosy glow that makes any space feel warm and welcoming.

Create instant atmosphere in a hallway or living room by dimming the overhead lights and lighting up a lantern or collection of scented candle votives to illuminate the space. Layering the lighting in several places is easier on the eye than one harsh overhead light and helps to create a cosy and relaxed ambience.

Decorating a dining table with candles has become part of tradition and is an easy way Christmas table decoration idea, making it look extra festive. A candle centrepiece will create height and give the table a focal point, just make sure that candles aren’t too tall so that guests can still see each other properly across the table.

Christmas candle ideas for all rooms

Whether it’s Christmas candle ideas for the hallway, ways to illuminate a mantelpiece or console table in the living room or easy dining table centrepiece ideas, our festive selection will have your home aglow in no time.

1. Set up a candle winter ‘shelfie’

Christmas candle idea with lanterns on shelf

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Create a warm and welcoming winter hallway to greet guests as they come in from the cold. A console table or wall shelf makes the perfect spot for a wintry display that will set the scene for further festivities inside.

Style up your table with a collection of lanterns, jars and candle votives arranged in a cluster on the surface. Choose frosted glass, tin and copper finishes that will shimmer in the glow.

Finish off by adding winter foliage and greenery to fill in the gaps, off-cuts of spruce from a Christmas tree are ideal. Work in other natural touches here and there, such as pine cones, nuts and sprigs of holly and berries.

2. Line the table with a colourful candle display

Christmas candle ideas with red table cloth and green garland

(Image credit: Maisons du Monde)

No Christmas table is complete without candles to create ambience and take the table from daytime into night, so including them in your dining set-up is a must.

Classic red, white and green is always a festive winner, so use these colours as the basis of your scheme, starting with a cheery scarlet cloth for the backdrop. Create a Christmas table centrepiece idea with an extra-long garland of greenery running the length of the table, adding bright red apples, berries or pomegranates here and there to decorate.

Finish off with tall red dinner candles to tie your colour theme together and add height to the arrangement, placing one at every setting.

3. Add festive chic with an on-trend buy

Christmas candle ideas with red chair and gold candle ring

(Image credit: H&M)

Candle rings are this season’s must have buy and they’re one of the easiest ways of creating a Christmas centrepiece. Designs vary from smart brushed brass and metallics, to simple ceramic candle rings in white or black matt.

Choose extra-tall dinner candles to create an elegant display. Keep to all-white candles or bold berry red for a more festive look, trimming the bottoms with a sharp knife so that they sit securely in the holder. Simply stylish on their own, or dress up by trailing berries and greenery around the circular base for a fancier look.

4. Enjoy dinner by candlelight

Christmas candle ideas with floral candle display

(Image credit: Next)

Set the mood for cosy Christmas suppers and entertaining after dark with a candlelit table. A Christmas flower arrangement idea with fresh flowers and festive foliage will look super-pretty and create a delicate aroma that will scent the room.

Use a small bowl or dish, filling it with florists foam and then adding three tall, slim dinner candles. Then add your florals, opting for softly-coloured hydrangeas, winter roses or snowberries, and then filling in any gaps with sprigs of eucalyptus and fir.

With any arrangement that includes candles and foliage, always make sure that your candles are at least 15-20cm above the greenery so that there’s no danger of it catching light.

5. Go big with a sparkling arrangement on the table

Christmas candle ideas with silver glass candles on table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Sussie Bell)

Create a glittering candle centrepiece that will give your Christmas dining room decor the ‘wow’ factor after dark. Gather together a selection of candle lanterns, candlesticks and votives in assorted heights and sizes. You’ll need quite a few to add impact, so borrow them from other rooms if you can and replace after Christmas.

Keep to a similar colour theme for best effect. Mercury glass candle holders like these will add extra sparkle, but an all-white display or another single colour will work equally well. Then simply cluster your candles together in a group, using a linen runner as a base, and starting with the largest then staggering the heights and sizes as you work along.

6. Wow with a focal point feature

Christmas candle ideas with red fireplace wall and candle display

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Create a show-stopping display for a mantle with a sparkling line-up of candles. A simple idea, but with high-impact, a symmetrical arrangement like this makes an eye-catching display that turns the fireplace into a focal point.

Red walls are the perfect backdrop for any Christmassy display, with white a great contrast colour. Get the look using tall white dinner candles in simple red glass holders, running them the length of the mantle for full effect. Add a rows of wreaths on the wall above to echo the symmetry.

7. Make leafy candle holders

Christmas candle decor with leafy candle holders

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jo Henderson)

Recycle a collection of clear glass bottles to make elegant candle holders. Use to decorate a mantle lined up in a row, or cluster a few together as a table centrepiece. Dark grey walls make the perfect backdrop to show off a festive display like this.

Start by filling your bottles with water to just below the neck and then carefully push a sprig of foliage, such as fir, ivy or eucalyptus into each bottle so it sits upright. Add tall green dinner candles to finish off.

8. Reflect in the glow

Christmas candle ideas with mirror and glass candlesticks

(Image credit: TBC)

Using a mantel mirror as a backdrop will reflect candlelight and add extra sparkle to any display. For a simple, rustic arrangement, fill a bowl with a selection of glittery baubles, festive pinecones and nuts. Arrange on a mantle with a couple of tall glass candlesticks positioned so that they are reflected in the glass. Add shimmering paper-wrapped parcels here and there and a string of fairy lights to create double the twinkle.

9. Set up a mini winter wonderland

Christmas candle ideas with mini white house candles

(Image credit: Hobbycraft)

Create a winter village scene to decorate a sideboard or mantle. Mini house-shaped tea light holders are plentiful on the high street right now and grouped together in a vista they’ll look magical when they’re lit up after dark. Little ones will love them too.

Group as many as you can together on your surface. Buy a few bottle brush trees and dot them here and there in the gaps and add a scattering of fake snow for a truly magical effect For an easier alternative to real candles, try battery-operated tea lights, they’ll last for longer and you won’t have to worry about leaving them unattended.

10. Make an easy table centrepiece

Christmas candle ideas with candles in planter

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Use a regular window box planter to make a simple Christmas decor idea for a table centrepiece. A longline tub in galvanised metal or rustic terracotta is ideal for a long, rectangular dinner table or you could opt for a circular planter to create a similar display for a round table.

Fill the planter with florists foam and then position your candles in a row, gently pushing them into the foam to keep secure. Sturdy pillar candles are ideal for a rustic display like this or you could use slim dinner candles and fill up the space with a few more. Finish off with a layer of moss to cover the foam and add a string of lights on the table top to give the display extra sparkle.

11. Delight guests with candle place settings

Christmas candle ideas with candle place setting

(Image credit: Future PLC/Maja Smend)

Try an easy place setting idea that looks super-special. Gather a collection of mini candle votives, together with an assortment of china. Choose a festive pattern or vintage floral pieces, don’t worry if you don’t have a matching collection, using mismatched pieces adds to the charm of a setting like this.

Place a candle votive on a small side plate, with one at every setting. Wrap the votive with satin ribbon, tying it in a bow and adding a berry sprig and a few sparkly baubles. Pop a nightlight inside and light just before guests arrive.

12. Use foraged foliage for a DIY display

Christmas candle ideas with foliage centrepiece

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Brown)

Instead of spending a fortune on a ready-made table centrepiece, make your own using foliage foraged from outdoors. A tabletop arrangement like this one can be used for festive dinner parties but also placed on a sideboard or console table to add a decorative sparkle in a hallway or living room.

Start with a bowl filled with florists’ foam, pushing stems of foliage into the foam all around the edges and letting them trail over for a lush effect. Position a simple metal candle ring on top of the foam, pushing it in to secure, add candles and then cover the top with a layer of moss dotted with pine cones and berries.

13. Create festive fragrance around the house

Christmas candle ideas with wreath and red candles

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Laura Ashley)

While candles are a lovely visual mood setter, a gorgeous aroma can lift the senses too. At Christmas time, layer festive fragrances so that they'll waft throughout the house. Team the best scented candles with room diffusers, essential oils and pot-pourri in scents that will complement each other. Try spicy cinnamon and clove, sandalwood and orange or eucalyptus and cedar.

14. Create a winter white arrangement

Christmas candle ideas with mantle and greenery

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Scott)

Combine candles with winter flowers and foliage for an easy mantle or window sill arrangement. Opt for a winter white and natural green colour theme for a simple but effective display.

Place pillar candles at regularly spaced intervals along the length of your ledge. Fill a few mirrored votives with water and arrange them in-between the candles. Float your flower heads on top and then add a few strands of variegated ivy along the display, weaving it in and out of the candles and votives. Finish off by adding bunches of berries and and fruits at intervals.

15. Get your sparkle on

Christmas candle ideas with mirrored candle tray

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Give candle displays extra sparkle by arranging them on a mirrored tray. You’ll double the effect as the flickering candlelight will be reflected, so it’s the perfect mini display for a gloomy corner.

Using a tray also makes it easier for you to lift and move the arrangement around, should you need a quick table topper in the dining room or hallway. Follow a quick trick that stylists use for a mini display like this and always use an odd number of items, rather than even. Odd numbers like three, five or seven are more visually appealing to the eye and help avoid too much symmetry.

How can I make candles last for longer?

Store candles in a cool place as cold candles burn slower so will last longer. Trim candle wicks before using, if the wick gets too tall the flame will also grow too tall and could leave black burn marks on candle holders.

Stop used candles from smoking by wiping away any dust and trimming the wick to 0.5cm before lighting them. If the dust is ingrained, blast with a hairdryer on a cool setting for about 10 seconds, rinse the top of the candle in lukewarm water and dry.

Keep candle holders free of wax by very carefully pushing the edges of the candles inwards as they melt.

How can I make sure my candle displays are safe?

One of the most important things to consider whenever you’re using candles is safety. Only place candles on stable, heat-resistant surfaces in well-ventilated rooms and out of draughts and away from open windows. Make sure to place them away from anything that could catch fire and out of reach of children and pets.

Always extinguish candles before leaving a room or going to sleep. Use a snuffer, as blowing them out can send sparks and hot wax flying. Extinguish a candle if it smokes or the flame is too high or flickers repeatedly because the candle isn’t burning properly and safely.

Lisa Fazzani
Lisa Fazzani

Lisa is a freelance journalist who has written about interiors for more than 25 years and has worked on all the major homes titles, primarily Ideal Home, but also including Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors, Style at Home, Livingetc, Woman & Home, Easy Gardens and Good Homes magazines. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person, as well as being a serial shopper/bargain hunter.