The way I see it, candles really break down into about five categories.
The Luxury Candle There are many brands of candles made from all manner of soy and vegetable wax, with wooden wicks that crackle, and come in beautiful containers. The Seda France candle above, especially in Japanese Quince, is one of my favorites. But these candles are not cheap! Candles of this nature range from $20-$100 (and up, I'm sure) for a small container candle. They're worth the money for the fresh, clean, burning exotic scents they give off, but they're not something many folks can buy in bulk. For most folks, these are special occasion candles.
The Tealight Tealights are fantastic because they are very inexpensive, come in a myriad of colors and scents, and can be put into reusable containers that dress them up. MoniCandles, on the left, is just one of many artists on Etsy making hand-poured tealights--they're $6 for a pack of four. Just find a beautiful container that you love, like these three level tealight holders from Etsy maker tokyocraftstudios and put an inexpensive tealight in it for a great bang for the buck.
The Budget Candle These are the candles that get you through without breaking the budget. I'm a big fan of Ikea and for my budget candles, as well as Target where you can get this Lemongrass Verbena candle. Not too much money, and often really great scents.
The Statement Candle Like the carved taper in the lead image, which is made by Forest Candle Studio, on Etsy, to look like it has petals, certain candles can be made very sculpturally. These are the sorts of candles that are difficult to burn, if you opt to burn them at all! Very decorative, candles like the skull candles from D.L. & Co. can run a pretty penny, but make a very bold and beautiful statement in the home.
The Taper Candle For a more traditional take, the taper candle is a cornerstone of formal dining. Candlesticks can be heirloom pieces or perfect wedding registry fare. I love a set of Rosanna Dauphine candlesticks that I received as a gift, but truth be told I have yet to buy taper candles to put in them. They look great on my shelf, but are a bit more formal for my taste when it comes to using them. My Favorites (not a category, just my choices!)
I've definitely honed in on my two favorite candles for my home. Voluspa, what I would categorize as a "luxury candle" makes a scent, Black Figue and Chypre, that both my fiance and I agree is one of our favorite aromas. We realize that this doesn't happen very often--when two people respond so well to a particular scent--so we decided that this was the candle we wanted to burn in our home as often as possible. We especially like to burn it for a few hours before guests arrive---it really makes the whole house smell nice! But, at nearing $20 for an 11 oz. coconut wax candle, we don't burn it around the clock. That's where the Ikea Tindra candle comes in. I'm a huge fan of this $1.99 candle in a glass container. The apple scent is nice, and when the candle is burned down, the glass container is super versatile. I just planted small succulents in two of my used ones---perfect! These I can justify burning more regularly. I prefer a soy wax or 100% natural candle, but alas, my poor pocketbook can't afford to keep those in stock all of the time.
What are your go-tos in your house? Favorite brands? Scents? Candles can be very personal, and there are so many options out there. Have fun with it!
Images: As credited above.