There’s a weird consensus among those who follow editor Lauren Santo Domingo that a candle is basically the worst gift you could give to someone. Apparently, as The LSD would have you believe “nothing says ‘I don’t care’ like a candle.” While many a folk would agree that a candle is usually the result (or the preview of) a regift, I staunchly disagree that they’re a shit gift—with a slight catch. Sure, a pumpkin-spiced-latte Yankee Candle (do those even exist?) is the epitome of basic bitch, but if you find the right style, a good scented candle could completely transform any old apartment to into a Grown Up apartment—all at little relative cost. Still, there’s a telltale difference between an offensive votive and one you’d want to display (and light) proudly, and it’s all in the aesthetic.
Unlike candles that shout for your attention with bright colors and weird patterns on clunky, look-at-me jars (again, really sorry, Yankee Candle) the best ones err on the side of minimalism. They’re as subtle as they are cool, and they’d look right at home atop a stack of books, on your nightstand, or as a centerpiece on a coffee table. Ahead, we found 23 minimalist candles that can make any small space feel spirited, rather than cluttered.