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.