One of the first things I did upon moving apartments last week—before I picked some affordable art for the walls or even connected the Wi-Fi—was to jump onto my phone and order scented candles for every room in the house. As far as I’m concerned, a house isn’t truly your own until every corner radiates a scent that, whatever it may be, smells like your definition of home.
Plus, adding a minimalist three-wick soy wax candle adds a quiet luxury to anything from a bedside table to a stacked pile of books, making them a chic, relatively affordable way to decorate your space.
So in the slideshow ahead, I’ve reviewed my 13 favorite options that look even better than they smell. There’s a brand new floral candle by Monique Lhuillier, cult-hit classics you spot on every fashion girl’s Instagram (and what they really smell like), and a couple of chic, affordable brands I bet you haven’t heard of yet. Keep clicking!
Cotton Polin Candle, $80; at Byredo
If this candle were an item of clothing, it would be the Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag, or Adidas x Stan Smith sneakers, because it's owned by just about every fashion girl on the planet (and Instagram). Cotton Poplin is Byredo's most popular scent, and it smells light, fresh, and clean. Not that it really matters—at $80, this candle's more for looking, and less for burning.
Citrus Lily Candle, $60; at Monique Lhuillier
The best thing about fashion designers delving into homewares is that even if you can't afford a $2,000 dress, you might be able to splurge on a $60 candle by the same name. Released today, Monique Lhuillier's new home fragrance, "citrus lily," is a fresh, floral scent with top notes of lilies, freesia, ylang-ylang, and jasmine and a little warm Indian sandalwood and musk. After burning it, I'd say the jasmine is the strongest note. Sadly, this pretty thing does err on the expensive side, though.
Citrus and Violet Haze Candle, $72.95; at Capri Blue
Perhaps it's because I'm Australian, but a eucalyptus-scented candle draws me in every time. Notes of musk and clove also mean that its sweet, citrus orange won't ever overpower your apartment.
Insect-Repelling Candle, $40; at Aromaflage
I first heard about this brand at a health expo last year when I made a mental note to invest in everyone single one of its products for summer. Aromaflage makes nontoxic insect repellents with a soft vanilla scent that will actually drive mosquitos away. This is the brand's candle, which was just released in July and also wards off bugs, and smells almost edible.
Hand Poured Soy Candle, $30; at Little Barn Apothecary
My favorite is the rosewood-and-mint scent, but this candle also comes in sweet fennel and bergamot, and rosemary and lemon. The wax is hand poured, and the jar is logo-free, which is hard to find in the candle world.
Little Barn Apothecary
Illume Cyprus Candle, $14.95; at Anthropologie
Technically, Illume's candle has notes of cardamom, saffron, green apple, basil, parsley, grapefruit, kale, and mint, but it doesn't smell like a green salad, I promise. Instead, you'll appreciate an overall clean but earthy smell, and the mint definitely comes through quite strongly.
Figuier Candle, $32; at Diptyque
Diptyque's fig-scented candle is one of their most popular—and its hype is warranted, IMO. Plus, they must hand out some kind of award for ’gramming a Diptyque candle on your desk, because every Insta-famous girl's doing it.
Sweet Pea and Jasmine Candle, $23; at Ecoya
Here you have it, guys, my favorite candle of all time. Made by Australian natural home fragrance and skin care company, Ecoya, this is one of the buzziest candle brands Down Under. And if you're going to buy one (do it, trust me!), the jasmine and sweet pea fragrance is soft, sweet, and delicious.
White Wood Candle, $55; at Baxter of California
Floral, fruity, and obnoxiously sweet candles aren't for everyone—and if you'd rather your house doesn't smell like the candy aisle of a supermarket, try this woodsy candle instead.
Kungsholmstorg Scented Candle, $25; at & Other Stories
At $25, the & Other Stories candle line is a lot more affordable than most chic home-fragrance brands. The Stories candle didn't do much to make my apartment smell like anything in particular, but even though it has some shortcomings on the fragrance front, I'm obsessed with that minimalist Scandinavian style and would buy another one purely for display purposes.
& Other Stories
Transit Issue Table Candle, $30; at Apolis
To be honest, you don't even really need to burn this candle to appreciate the distinctive fragrance throughout a room, which means you can burn and enjoy outdoors, too. I don't love the packaging as much as some of the all-white candles (my apartment also happens to be decorated in fairly neutral colors), but the scent is really summery, pretty, and much more powerful than some of the other brands I tested.
Apricot Tea Classic Candle, $40; at Nest Fragrances
The scent is a bit subtle compared with others on this list, but that also means it won't overpower small rooms.
Scalloped Edge Glass Candle, $20; at Voluspa
Obviously, the first thing attracting me to this particular candle is the intricate metallic holder, which is inspired by Japanese paper-making. However, the grapefruit, lavender, and geranium scent is what will make me replace it when the wick finally burns out (which will take approximately 50 hours!).