Candles – Vintage and Thrifty Styling for the Home

It was William Wordsworth who said Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. I’m not sure everything in my home fits neatly within this famous quote yet somethings do.  And for me, candles certainly do. I will find any excuse to light a candle. Night or day, rain or shine there is always a reason for a candle. For romance, soft lighting, ambience or decoration, candles are the answer. And in keeping with our thrifty vibe, candles can be as cheap or expensive as you like. I’ve put together for you some of my favourite ways to use candles in and around the home.  As usual though, we should start with a short story…

Many years ago I took part in a week-long interior design course in London.  The accredited course covered many aspects of designing rooms in the home. In particular I enjoyed the lighting part.  We were taught the importance of drawing lighting plans very early in the design process, not least because you needed to place plugs and switches in the right place before the room was further designed and decorated.  At that time Mr M and I were renovating another of our homes, a beautiful Victorian cottage and we were well past the designing stage. We had sockets in standard places and ceiling roses where all of us put them without knowing differently and it was too late to start chopping and changing things if we were to finish the project on time and move in. In time I learned to get creative with what I had, so lamps and candles became my answer to mood and accent lighting.

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For many of us, candles are a year round pleasure and in today’s post, I’ll be showing you how we enjoy candles throughout the year in our home.  As the evenings draw in all too soon, I find myself creating cozy spaces which incorporate a flickering candle or two. There is something quite magical about the gently swaying light of candles, either when they are going solo or en masse don’t you think? These photos show the decoration we enjoyed in our home last Autumn with not one but two candlelit displays. The first was on top of an up-cycled chest gifted to me by a great friend, which itself had a paint makeover. Jugs, glass and natures finds mixed with eBay brass candlesticks took centre stage in our sitting room. Over on the mantle piece, I used a free Pinterest download together with more of natures gifts collected on long dog walks with The Spotty One.

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Each Easter we enjoy a home-made tree foraged from the woods and decorate it sparsely with delicate eggs and off-cuts of pastel and gingham ribbons simply tied to the twigs. This tree, together with a free Easter download and pastel candles, made a pretty display for springtime. As we get to know each other better, you’ll see I often use this frame to decorate with a different picture or maybe a quote from that world which is Pinterest.

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These table settings, one from a family Christmas and the other from New Years Eve with good friends, are pulled together by pretty twinkling candles and inexpensive flowers. On the Christmas table the roses sit in little glass jars on top of garden greenery flanked by dinner candles in those brass candlesticks again.  And for our table at New Year’s, I used a glass cake stand as the centrepiece and pillar candles tied together with string and surrounded by gypsophila. Neither arrangement broke the bank yet both received many compliments. Personally I’ve always thought if your working to a budget, planning and time are your greatest tools. Think outside the box, use what you have, scour Pinterest and Instagram or books and magazines and you’ll come up with something special.

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I am often found faffing around with my mantle piece.  Remember please, I’m writing pre-renovation here, so I’m not entirely loving what I’ve inherited and as such I consider faffing to be totally acceptable. The next two shots show my current summer look. In the first photo I’ve used a mix of tea lights and pillar candles to create a romantic mood. Roses and lavender from the garden pull the look together and you remember my pink book from this post? At 20p I feel its more than paid for its keep. In the second photo old roses which once offered a beautiful fresh display provide a second wind as they dry out along side my chalky pink tea light candles which by the way, were bought in a local shop sale.

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And on another occasion this summer we enjoyed this look.  Simple garden foliage sitting happily with inexpensive Ikea hurricane lamps, glass charity shop candlesticks and those books you first saw here, all coming together to create a subtle reflection in the mantle piece mirror.

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As with most treasures in the home, teaming candles with other pretties is often very effective. Here is an example of perfumed candlelight and books; a heart warming combination. I bought this book from a lovely lady who I follow on Instagram.  It’s a beautiful novel which has been careful covered in an old and time-worn linen. To the best of my knowledge it’s unique. Of course this piece cost a little more than a junk shop find, yet beneath it sits a charity shop book costing just £2 and together they sit on a pretty linen remnant I’ve had forever.  With the addition of a glowing candle we have another pretty spot.

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Finally for this week, I leave you a view down the newly turfed back garden. I took this whilst enjoying a late summer night writing stories like this one at Belle’s; with my candles for company of course. Have a good week x

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