5 tricks for positioning scented candles that will help them work harder and make your whole home smell amazing

Make the most of your favorite scented candle with these positioning tips

A selection of candles on a coffee table
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s officially the season for cozying down indoors, and scented candles are becoming part of our daily rituals once more. Of course, when lighting one, you want to make sure that the scent lasts for as long as possible and permeates the whole house. However, while there are certain areas you might think are obvious spots for a candle, such as your sideboard or desk, they might not be the best place to really propel the scent. 

While we spend more time indoors, you’ll want to make your home smell good and feel more welcoming, especially if you plan to entertain guests over the holiday season. To really maximize your favorite aromas, I spoke to experts to tell me where to place my candles for a scent that carries throughout the whole house, as well as where to avoid for the strongest and best quality fragrance possible. 

1. Consider the central area of your home 

scented candle on marble table with green glass vase

(Image credit: Charles Farris)

Firstly, think about the most central area of your home. Where do you and your family or guests spend the most time? It's likely to be the living room, but could be the kitchen, too. 

‘As the central point of your home, you want to make sure your living room is infused with a welcoming and relaxing scent,’ advises Kamila Miller, Group Head of Marketing at Charles Farris. ‘A coffee table, windowsill, or mantelpiece are all ideal spots for a scented candle to emanate through your living space and create a powerful fragrance.' 

‘If you’re looking to maximize the scent of your candles throughout your home, place them in a central location, such as a living room or hallway,' adds Grace Sherriff, Creative Director and co-founder of Kindred Fires. ‘This will allow the fragrance to disperse more evenly and reach more rooms in your house.' If the kitchen is the heart of your home, pick your timing wisely before you light the candle. ‘Only light candles in your kitchen after cooking, as the odors of food can interfere with your candle’s scent and even make it unpleasant,’ explains Grace.  

2. Don't overlook high-traffic areas

Entryway with wallpaper and circular mirror

(Image credit: Gunter & Co)

Another great location to place your candle for a smell that carries throughout the home is a high-traffic area. Entryways or hallways are generally great for candles, and the scent will be a nice touch for anyone who walks in. 

‘First impressions matter, and your home’s entrance is the perfect place to welcome people with lovely fragrance,' says Kamila. 'Place your favorite scented candle on a decorative table or shelf near the entrance to instantly create an inviting space for yourself, your family, and guests.' She also advises placing a scented candle at the top of the stairs so the fragrance follows you upstairs and down.

3. Keep candles elevated 

scented candle inj black glass vessel on marble worktop

(Image credit: Charles Farris)

It's less obvious, but the height at which you place your candle can really make or break how much the scent is propelled. I used to buy candles with multiple wicks and place them on the floor and while they make some of the best scented candles, placing them low doesn’t do much for the strength of the scent. ‘Keep your candles elevated on a shelf, cabinet, table, or countertop so that the scent can circulate more freely through the air without other surfaces obstructing or absorbing it,' notes Grace.

 4. Avoid drafty spots

While it’s good to light your candles in a well-ventilated room so the quality of the scent is as pure as possible, try to avoid any drafts. ‘The scent of your candle will smell strongest in a well-ventilated environment,’ explains Grace. ‘However, make sure the room isn’t too drafty and that the candle isn’t positioned by any open windows or vents as this can make the fragrance dissipate too quickly.'

If you do want to place your scented candle on a windowsill, Kamila urges you to make sure it's closed before you light your candle as this will help to make your candle last longer, too. 'Drafts can cause candles to burn unevenly which leads to tunneling, a common problem where the wax only melts in the center, wasting the surrounding wax and reducing the burn time,' she says. 'The same goes for any areas in your home that might be near air vents. Artificial ventilation can prevent a candle’s scent from circulating effectively and providing a long-lasting fragrance.’

5. Consider the size of your room 

living room with white walls, black bookcase and plant

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson. Design: Nikki Boyd. Organized Living by Shira Gill)

If you really want the scent to fill a space, you’ll need to be mindful of the size of the room it’s in. ‘The strength of your scented candle can be less effective in larger spaces,’ Grace tells me. ‘One way to tackle this is to buy larger candles or position multiple throughout your rooms. Equally, small or enclosed spaces like bathrooms should be avoided as this can cause the scent to be overpowering and overwhelming.’ 

6. Keep your candle away from dust and direct sunlight 

Avoiding dust or direct sunlight is vital to consider if you want your candle to fill the space with its beautiful scent. ‘The particles can trap and absorb the fragrance so that it's less potent and less able to diffuse throughout the room,' says Grace. 'This can also affect the candle’s ability to burn cleanly and evenly, resulting in uneven melting of the wax and, in some cases, can produce soot.' 

Direct sunlight can also cause your candles to melt too quickly and therefore the burn time will be reduced (meaning the scent is lost sooner). For a slower release of your favorite aromas, consider using a candle warmer to gently warm the wax without lighting the wick. 

Raluca Racasan
News writer

Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.