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We love a good candle for its gorgeous, romantic flame, simple design and huge variety of scents, colors and materials. They’ve been around for centuries, so there’s no denying that candles have earned a coveted spot on our essential home décor list. Whether you prefer floating candles, votive candles or citronella candles for the outdoors, we’ve got a few tips to help you add that romantic ambience to your home:

Avoid releasing toxic chemicals with soy candles.

Many people are turning away from traditional paraffin candles in favor of soy candles, and for good reason. While soy tends to be a bit more expensive than paraffin, it more than makes up for it by being more health and eco friendly. Why? Paraffin can release toxic chemicals into the air like benzene and toluene, and even soy-blend options burn cleaner. As if you needed further convincing, soy burns more evenly than paraffin, as well.

Be worry free with battery-operated candles.

If you have small children or adventurous pets, it’s normal to worry about the possible hazards a candle adds. Flameless LED candles can resolve that issue, plus they last much longer than your traditional style. More recent flameless styles may also use real, scented wax to add delicious smells to your home without melting into a hot mess.

Choose beeswax candles for drip-free décor.

If you love your tapers but just can’t stand cleaning up the drips, try switching to beeswax. This alternative to paraffin burns twice as slowly and doesn’t make a mess with drips as it burns. Another possible plus is that it smells a bit like honey, which can really sweeten up your interior aroma.

Create a stunning centerpiece with tea lights.

If you’re hosting a holiday feast or inviting guests over for a casual party, a few well-placed tea lights can add that wow factor to your table. Try adding a layered effect by creating tall, medium and short stands. These can be improvised by turning stemware upside down, utilizing a cake stand or adding a touch of nature with flowers, fruit or pinecones. If you have a glass bowl or vase handy, try filling it with water and topping it off with floating tea lights. Add some decorative accents such as flower blossoms or food coloring to the water to complete the look. If you have a few colorful Moroccan-style lanterns lying about, pop a tea light in each one and watch the colors dance with the flames in your homemade candle lanterns.