16 Candle Alternatives That Still Provide Relaxing Scents & Great Light

Updated: | Categories: Bathroom, Living Room
candle alternatives

Even though there are plenty of great candle alternatives, candles will always have a sense of nostalgia and romanticism attached to them. Yet, they are a fire hazard and a lot of people are unable to be around the smoke emanated from candles.

Also, smoke from regular wax candles is harmful, for which there are now several alternatives such as beeswax. But moving on to other options entirely is the best move these days.

If you’d like to phase out candles completely from your home, there are a lot of items you can switch to. Based on the need, whether it is for lighting or scent, here are a few candle alternatives you can opt for.

Candle Alternatives to Light up Your Space

If you’re looking to switch out your candles for smoke-free alternatives but still want options to light up your space, you can opt for several electric or battery-powered choices that add light and can be a great way to decorate your room. Here are a few smokeless alternatives to light up your room.

Table Lamp

table lamps are the most modern and effective alternatives to candles

Table lamps have been around for a long time, for good reason. They come with an electric bulb in the center, that needs to be replaced from time to time, but less so with the newer LED bulbs. Apart from this, there is no other expense involved, making this extremely economical and long lasting.

Table lamps are a perfect way to brighten up a corner of your room and can be easily used to amplify your room decor. They are available in a wide range of sizes and designs. You can even switch the lampshade for a new design or pattern for a new look.

Electric Candles

an electric candle is a much safer candle replacement because there's no actual fire

Flameless candles look just like real candles and some even have a flickering light to resemble the flame of a candle. They are safe to use around kids and pets, as they have no heat or flame. They're commonly called electric candles as well.

They can be electric or battery operated, making them last for a very long time. They come in a range of sizes, shapes and colors, and can look great in any room. These are great to use outdoors as well, during camping and candle-light dinners.

My mom used to put these in every single window of the house during the Christmas holidays and it was my job to turn them all on and off every single day. I'll never forget this travesty, mom. Having them in the living room or family room would have been enough.

Fairy Lights

fairy lights

Fairy lights are great for mood lighting. These too can be either electric or battery operated and have several small LEDs on a single line.

Though they do not emit a lot of light, but are perfect as decor and can be installed very easily. They are quite inexpensive, but the lights tend to get worn out quite soon and would need replacing frequently.

String Lights

string lights

String lights are quite similar to fairy lights but are a lot brighter. They can be used as proper light sources, while still adding a romantic charm to the room. They are a lot more durable than fairy lights and some even come with proper bulbs in place of the tiny LEDs.

These are also great to light up an outdoor space without causing a fire hazard. String lights are perfect to decorate your home for holidays like Christmas and New Year, as you often see them strung up along the exterior of homes along the mansard roofs and gambrel roofs as you drive through neighborhoods.

LED Lights

LED Lights are the most modern candle alternatives with long lasting bulbs

String lights with LEDs can be used indoors paired with other objects to create stunning pieces of decor. Whether it is in a colorful vase, behind a sheer curtain or inside a plain old wine bottle, they lend a unique look that can brighten your room.

In cases of bottles or vases, the LED strings get entwined within to create a magical look for your home. To make them wire-free, you can opt for the battery-operated ones that can also be stuffed inside the bottle or vase.

You've probably seen how young people are using these behind their computer desks, monitors, and even on their cars now. They've become very popular, indeed, as candle alternatives.

Lava Lamp

lava lamp

If you’d like something a little more retro, lava lamps are perfect for you. They are available in some stunning color combinations that look truly mesmerizing.

Though they are widely used in the 70s, they are now making a comeback in a lot of boho-themed homes. The wax chunks in lava lamps float around in a thick liquid, creating flickering lights and shadows much like a candle would.

Alternatives to Candles to Make Your Space Smell Amazing

Apart from the light they provide, a lot of people also like to use candles to improve the scent of the room. You could either use tea light candles to heat essential oils whose smell can spread around the room or you could use scented candles too that come in a wide range of scents.

Tea light candles as well as scented candles are expensive and burn out quite fast. They are also a fire hazard and the smoke can be harmful. Here are some flameless options to act as a candle replacement.

Fresh Flowers

fresh flowers provide more scents than candles do and make for the perfect alternatives

Most flowers have pleasant natural smells that most people enjoy. They can be kept in vases in your room to also bring a little bit of nature indoors.

They do not have a strong smell and also help in clearing the air of toxins. While flowers can be expensive, if you’ve got fresh flowers in your own garden, this can be a budget-friendly option for you.

Oil / Wax Warmer

oil warmers produce tons of scent and while they are a candle replacement they still require a heat source

Oil/wax warmers are similar to tea light candle holders (pictured above), but with an electric or battery-operated bulb in place of the candle.

The scented wax or essential oil is placed in a bowl on top, which gets heated by the heat of the bulb. Wax warmers are also available with heating plates instead of bulbs, which won’t have the lighting property.

Reed Diffuser

reed diffuser

Reed diffusers have glass bottles that are to be filled with a carrier oil and few drops of fragrant essential oil. The sticks, or reeds, are placed upright into the bottle.

As the oil seeps through the sticks, once they reach the top of the stick, the scent gets spread into the room. Stick diffusers are natural, inexpensive, and require no fancy equipment. If it's scents you want, these make great candle alternatives.

Essential Oil Diffuser

essential oil diffuser

An essential oil diffuser is an electric apparatus that has a compartment to add the essential oil. When switched on, the oil is broken down and released as steam from an outlet at the top.

Most essential oil diffusers are expensive, but they also act as humidifiers and are ideal for aromatherapy. They're a less smokey version of incense, in my opinion.

Incense

incense can create a much sweeter and stronger smell as a candle alternative

Incense is another lovely option to make your room more fragrant. They smell great and the scent can help you unwind after a long, tiring day.

As they still require to be lit with a flame, be sure to keep them away from flammable objects and away from the reach of kids and pets. Their cinders are small but that's all it takes sometimes to cause an incident.

Air Freshener Spray

air freshener spray

Air freshener sprays come in aerosol bottles and are usually a budget-friendly option to spritz around the room. The scent doesn’t last too long, but each spritz can cover a large area of the room.

Most commercial air fresheners tend to have a lot of chemicals that can be harmful in closed spaces, so avoid using them in small rooms, or seek safe, organic versions.

Plug-in Air Freshener

plug-in air freshener

If you don’t prefer aerosol sprays, an automatic air freshener is the next best thing. Keep this plugged in throughout the day and the scented oil is continuously spritzed throughout the day on a timer. These are great for bathrooms next to whatever types of toilets you have in the house.

DIY Essential Oil Room Spray

DIY essential oil room spray

If you have a bottle of your favorite essential oil, you can easily make your own essential oil spray. In an 8 oz. spray bottle, add two tablespoons of isopropyl alcohol, 10-40 drops of your favorite essential oil and let it sit for a while.

The amount of essential oil will define the strength of the fragrance, so add it accordingly. After 5 minutes or so, shake the bottle well and add 6 tablespoons of filtered water.

Shake this again and you’re good to go! You can spray this around in your room whenever you want your favorite smell around.

Potpourri

potpourri are perfect alternatives to candles in that they emit a long lasting scent

Potpourri is a mixture of dried flower petals, herbs and spices that spread a pleasant scent in the room. You can make your own or even get mixed variants of potpourri in stores.

These can be easily customized to the scent you prefer, based on the items you use. Just add them all to a lovely bowl, leave them on your coffee table and you’ll have the room smelling heavenly within minutes!

Slow Cooker Potpourri

slow cooker potpourri

For fresher smells, you can even make your own potpourri that emanates a scent for several hours. In a slow cooker or crockpot, add your favorite smelling ingredients, 2-3 cups of water and let this boil.

Leave the lid on in a way that allows the scent to escape, and it will fill your home with a lovely smell. Keep an eye on this every couple of hours and add more water if necessary.

Some great combinations of ingredients are apple & cinnamon, orange rinds & cinnamon, and cranberries & nutmeg. This is a great way to have your house smelling amazing during parties or gatherings.

Candle Alternatives Can Get the Job Done

Whether for lighting or scent, you can always switch your candles for more economical and fire-resistant alternatives. The candle replacements in this list should give you an idea of what to look for as candle alternatives.

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Rick Worst Headshot Rick is a home design consultant and enthusiast, whose life is consumed by all things home and garden. Started as a hobby, Worst Room has grown into an information and inspiration wheelhouse for professionals and home owners alike. Rick serves as owner and editor for our many content contributors. Learn more about operation here.