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Light up your life with faux candles

Interior decorating is not a field rife with major technological breakthroughs. But in recent years, science has rocked my design world with one single, revolutionizing advancement: the fake candle.

Today's fakes look so real that you're afraid to get too close for fear of being burned. They come in a host of colors and sizes, with realistic detailing like wicks that look like they've been burned, and you can find them at most home accent stores.

I used to turn up my nose at fake candles. But through the years, I've heard so many horror stories from customers whose homes were destroyed by fires caused by unattended candles, and after a few near misses of my own, I've changed my tune.

Once my acceptance of battery-operated candles began, I fell hard. I call on them when I want to add just a tiny touch of warm light to an interior display or to do big jobs, like illuminate my home's exterior when we hosted our daughter's garden wedding reception.

For the wedding, I wanted to give guests a warm welcome, so I lighted up our front walkway with two grand candelabras fitted with battery-operated pillar candles. To add sparkle to the trees, we hung wreaths horizontally from the low boughs, then covered them with faux votives. And we pooled clusters of votives on the stairs leading to our home.

To light our courtyard and the event tent where guests dined, I placed an epergne holding battery-operated votives at the center of each table. The garden paths were brightened by hundreds of votives suspended from branches of trees and shrubs. The effect was breathtaking.

I could never have pulled off this lighting feat with real candles. We were able to "light" the fakes hours before the event instead of at the last minute, as you must do with real candles. We didn't have to worry that they might be extinguished by the wind and rain that plagued us before guests arrived. And the fake candles burned through the night instead of burning out in a few hours as the real ones do.

Wherever you use battery-operated candles, I guarantee they'll light a flame in your heart, too.

Get creative with lighting

This summer, why not make your home look magical with faux candlelight? Outside, group votives on your front steps, next to your door or on the window sash. Tuck votives into potted plants for a little surprise twinkle of light. It's also fun to float tea lights in a birdbath or on your backyard pond.

Suspend groups of hanging votives from the ceiling of your screened porch, arbor or gazebo. Dot them along your fence or brick wall. Hang from bushes and tree limbs so they look like fireflies in the summer night.

You also can use pretend pillar candles in lanterns to illuminate outdoor events. Line up a different-sized lanterns on your front porch, or hang a mirror-backed lantern from the front door.

Inside your home, use faux candles anywhere you would use the real thing, plus a few places you wouldn't. I like to tuck fake candles into displays in bookcases. You can even use them as nightlights in children's rooms, guest rooms and guest baths.

Mary Carol Garrity

Light up your life with faux candles 07/27/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 8:55am]

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