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Candle Centerpiece Ideas

Soft, romantic, demure, or bright, candles set the tabletop tone, beckoning you to sit, eat, relax, and be merry. Tall tapers, chunky pillars, and tiny votives add beauty to your dining decor and can be arranged in a thousand innovative and creative ways. Here are some of our favorite candle ideas for table centerpieces, from simple settings of a candle or two to flowery, candlelight extravaganzas.

How to create a centerpiece using candles

Let's begin with a guide to the many different kinds of candles you can choose from:

Tall, slim, and elegant, tapered candles should be a mainstay of your candle dining decor. They burn for hours, come in a variety of colors, and add drama to small tables and enormous banquets. A single taper in the center transforms darkness into light, or you can spread tapers out for a theatrical effect. Mix and match tapers with baby votives for a twinkly effect.

Votives and tea lights are small candles that add sparkle to formal dinners and casual buffets alike. Pair them with lanterns for an elegant, ethereal vibe, or group them together to multiply the candlelight.

Hurricanes are mouth-blown glass sleeves that can hold lovely flickers of light. A single hurricane looks stately and fine, and they look beautiful when arranged in different heights and sizes as a centerpiece. You can dress them up or down, in any decor.

Pillar candles are wide and solid; they mean business. Rest a pillar candle on top of a wooden, metallic, or bright blue base. Secure pillars into holders with fluted details or chrome finishes. Cylinder-shaped pillars burn longer than smaller candles. Florists love them as the bold centerpieces in their flower arrangements.

Go flameless! These clever gilt pillar candles flicker like natural candlelight but they're operated via batteries. Set them to light at the same time each day with the built-in timer. Set them at different heights for a 'wow' effect.

Why not choose a decorative votive sculpture, like a spring hare, for the centerpiece of your round or square table? A shaped candle that evokes a current holiday or weather patterns brings joyful energy to your seasonal table.

And don't forget the sense of smell. Aromas affect our mood and can make us feel upbeat, calm, or relaxed. From fresh citrus to exotic spice, scented candles at your table centerpiece are subtle and unexpected: surprise your guests each time they inhale.

How to arrange candles on a long table

To help you add an extra layer of dazzle when you're throwing a party with a long table, here are ten ideas to spice up your dining decoration:

  1. Use lanterns. Lanterns with candles inside create a multi-dimensional effect. Add sand, shells, and a starfish for a seaside theme. At Halloween, add candy corn, fake cobwebs, and a green LED candle with a mini-pumpkin on top. For festive holiday fun, surround your candle with cranberries, pine branches, and tiny star ornaments.
  2. Aim for height. Use several tall, glass vases filled with hydrangea shooting upwards, and place rows of elegant white tapers on the white tablecloth center.
  3. Get nautical. Pair vintage white-and-blue place settings with navy pillar candles.
  4. Multiply miniatures. Group together tiny votives in the table center for tiny sparkly lights. Create a rainbow with color votive bunches on white linens. Tightly place 35 cream tea lights in the center with deep blue tapers either end. Create a firefly effect with one long, single row of tiny candles.
  5. Casual cool. For laid-back ease at a backyard brunch, spread green and white waxy leaves across the table with white candles of varying heights in the center.
  6. Place your tapers for big impact. Leave 8 inches between extra tall white tapers, with bougainvillea vases in between. Spread peach, pink, and yellow tapers between rose heads directly onto the tablecloth for a gorgeous, raw, pastel aesthetic.
  7. Float. Create centerpieces outside in the garden lined with short votives and tall tapers in glass containers. The candles magnify the beautiful dancing light.
  8. Use oil tea lights. Add a warm glow to small vases of white lilies, spray roses, and green berries by spreading tiny oil tea lights within them.
  9. Make it metallic. Use quiet, neutral linens and let bronze lanterns, hurricane lamps, and votives add glint and glow to your table.
  10. Go over-the-top! Embellish enormous floral candelabras with jasmine, and dot golden tapers between and above the flower line. Stunning.

At Pottery Barn, we want to help you create magic at your table. It's such a pleasure to dine with friends and family framed by soft, flickering candlelight. Whether dining indoors or outside under the moonlight, choose the centerpiece style and decoration that has you glowing with excitement.