What Can You Stand A Candle On?

Standing a candle on something simply means placing a candle in an upright position on top of an object or surface. The goal is to keep the candle stable and prevent it from tipping over. This article will explore the variety of items and surfaces that candles can safely stand on, factors to consider when choosing where to place a candle, as well as tips for stability and fire safety.

The purpose of this article is to provide readers with suggestions for surfaces to stand candles on beyond just candle holders. While there are many beautiful and functional candle holders available, sometimes an impromptu candle display is desired without having the right holder on hand. With some creativity and safety considerations, many household objects and surfaces can serve as effective candle stands in a pinch.

Flat Surfaces

Flat surfaces like tables, countertops, and mantels make ideal stands for candles. The flat and stable surface allows candles to stand upright without tipping over. Look for surfaces that are level and do not have any uneven spots or slopes that could cause a candle to lean. Hard surfaces like wood, marble, granite, and finished metals work best. Avoid soft or porous surfaces that could be damaged by dripping wax. Make sure the surface is heat resistant if placing a candle directly on it.

Tables provide ample flat space for large or multiple candles. Just be sure to place them away from table edges where they could be knocked over. Countertops like kitchen counters or bathroom vanities also work well for candles, just avoid high traffic areas. Fireplace mantels make a classic spot for candles, centered safely away from the edges. Always double check that surface is truly flat and not slanted before placing a candle on it. With the right flat surface, candles can stand securely and illuminate any space.

Candle Holders

Candle holders are a classic and convenient way to safely place candles in your home. There are many types of candle holders to consider:

Jars – Canning jars make perfect improvised candle holders. Their wide mouths keep the flame steady. Look for jars in different shapes, sizes, and colors to add variety.

Cups – Espresso cups, teacups, and mugs can hold small candles. Their handles make them easy to carry and display around the home.

Votives – These small glass containers securely hold tealight or votive candles. They come in colors like red, blue, and clear.

Candlesticks – Tall, elegant candlesticks provide dramatic lighting. Opt for candlesticks made of metal, wood, or glass. Pair a few together for a statement.

Lanterns – Candles in lanterns cast a soft, ambient glow. Select lanterns in materials like tin, glass, or wire.

The variety of candle holders available means you can find just the right option to safely hold a candle for any situation or decor style.


Plates make for interesting and convenient candle stands. Their flat surface provides a stable base for a candle of almost any size. Plates come in a variety of sizes, materials, and styles, allowing you to match the plate to the size of the candle and the aesthetic you’re going for.

Smaller plates like saucers or dessert plates work well for tealights and votives. Larger dinner plates can hold taller taper or pillar candles. Plates with smooth surfaces and clean lines lend a modern minimalist look. More ornate plates with patterns, textures, or gilt edges create a fancier, more traditional feel.

The key when using plates is stability. Avoid plates that are too small or narrow to properly support the candle’s width. Place the candle in the center of the plate rather than near the edge. Consider putting some sand or beads in the plate to weigh it down and prevent tipping. With the right plate and some simple precautions, you can easily transform dishes from your cabinet into charming candle stands.


Old wine or beer bottles can make for a charming candle holder. The glass of the bottle helps reflect and refract the candlelight in an eye-catching way. Look for thick or colored glass bottles for the best effect. Short wide-mouthed bottles like wine bottles work better than tall narrow ones, as they provide a stable base for the candle.

Before placing a candle directly on a bottle, make sure it has a flat bottom or foot to keep it upright. Taper candles or votives work best. Pillar candles can easily tip over. Make sure the mouth of the bottle is wide enough to easily insert the candle. Wipe any dust or residue out of the bottle first with a paper towel twisted to fit inside.

For extra stability, pour a few inches of sand, marbles, beads, or even salt into the bottom of the bottle before inserting the candle. This weighs it down and prevents tipping. Putting foil, mirrors, sea glass, or other decorations into the bottle beneath the candle creates unique lighting effects. Spritz the inside with glass cleaner and wipe with a paper towel first for maximum sparkle.

Non-Traditional Surfaces

When looking for unique candle holders, don’t limit yourself to traditional flat surfaces. Get creative and try using curved, textured, or three-dimensional objects as candle stands. This can add visual interest and a fun, playful element to your decor.

Some examples of non-traditional candle holders include:

  • Rocks or stones – Try arranging some rocks or stones and balancing candles on top. This brings an organic, earthy feel.
  • Wood slices – Slice a log or large branch to create circular slices to stand candles on. It has a nice rustic look.
  • Pinecones – Situate tall taper candles in between the “petals” of large pinecones for natural styling.
  • Seashells – Use large shells like conch shells as candle holders, for beachy vibes.
  • Fruit – Slice oranges or lemons in half and put a tealight or votive inside each half. This works well for centerpieces.
  • Books – Stack a few thick books and put a candle on top. Choose books related to the occasion or season.

Get creative with shapes beyond flat surfaces. The warm glow of a candle against an unusual textured backdrop can make for beautiful, unique lighting.

Safety Tips

When placing candles on surfaces, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Here are some precautions to take:

  • Make sure the candle is on a stable, flat surface so it won’t tip over. Avoid rounded surfaces where the candle could roll.
  • Don’t put candles near flammable materials like curtains or paper. Keep a 12 inch clearance.
  • Avoid surfaces that could catch fire like wood tables or bookshelves. Use a non-flammable plate or coaster under the candle.
  • Keep candles away from areas where they could get knocked over by children or pets.
  • Don’t leave burning candles unattended. Always blow them out before leaving a room.
  • Make sure the candle is an appropriate size and shape for the surface it’s on. Tall taper candles are prone to tipping.

Using common sense and taking proper precautions will help ensure safety when placing candles around your home.

Aesthetic Considerations for Attractive Candle Displays

When designing candle displays, it’s important to consider the aesthetics and ambience you want to create. The color, shape, size, and arrangement of candles can dramatically impact the look and feel of a space. Here are some tips for creating attractive candle displays:

Play with heights and shapes. Mixing tall, short, and round candles adds visual interest. Clustering candles together in groups of varying heights creates appealing dimension.

Use candles in coordinating colors. Matching candle colors to your decor, table linens, flowers, or other accents pulls everything together into a cohesive theme. Monochromatic colors work beautifully.

Incorporate different candle holders. Using a variety of candle holders in different shapes, sizes, and materials (glass, metal, wood) adds eclectic flair. Make sure holders suit the style and color palette.

Scatter candles for a relaxed look. For casual settings like backyard tables, loosely arrange candles for a laid-back feel. Varying heights and keeping things asymmetric feels organic.

Use candlelight to spotlight decor. Positioning candles around focal points like flower arrangements or art makes them stand out. Candlelight adds a romantic, cozy glow.

Layer candles for depth. Creating rows and clusters of candles adds warmth and a sense of abundance. Repeating candle groupings creates visual rhythm.

Light some and leave some unlit. Mixing lit and unlit candles adds intrigue and dimension. The contrast makes the lit candles pop more.

Be creative with unusual candle holders. Make ordinary objects like mason jars, tin cans, or seashells into candle holders for eclectic charm.

Popular Places to Use

Candles can add ambiance, scent, and beauty to almost any room or occasion. Here are some popular places to use candle stands:

Living Room – A candle stand on a coffee table or side table helps create a cozy atmosphere in the living room. Group multiple stands together for maximum impact.

Dining Room – Place a candle stand or two on the dining table to set the mood for an intimate dinner. For parties, use several stands down the center of the table.

Bedroom – One or two candle stands on the nightstands make the bedroom feel relaxing and romantic. For safety, avoid too many open flames while sleeping.

Bathroom – Stand a candle near the bathtub or on the counter for a spa-like vibe. Be sure to keep it away from water splashing.

Porch/Patio – Dot candle stands around an outdoor space to create an inviting glow for entertaining. Citronella candles also help keep bugs away.

Special Occasions – Candle stands help accentuate the ambiance for romantic dinners, anniversary celebrations, birthday parties, weddings, and holiday events.


The most important takeaway is to choose candleholders and surfaces that are stable and won’t tip over. Look for flat, even bases without much texture that allow the candle to sit securely. Avoid rounded or uneven surfaces which increase the risk of the candle falling over. Safety should always be the top priority when deciding where to place a candle.

While there are many fun creative options for candle stands, traditional holders made specifically for candles are best for safety and avoiding messes from dripping wax. Plates, glasses, and bowls can also work nicely as long as they have a wide base. Consider grouping multiple candles together for added visual interest.

With some creativity and safety precautions, candles can be an inexpensive way to create mood lighting and decorate your home. Choose placements that work with your existing style. The ambiance from a candle’s flickering flame can add coziness and warmth to any space.

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