Dough Bowl Candles Are a Perfectly Cozy Accessory for Warming Up Any Space

Incorporate this oversized, rustic piece of decor into your space for an instant coziness boost.

If you’ve wondered what to call those oversized rustic candles that suddenly seem to be everywhere, you’re not alone. Let us introduce you to one of the year’s emerging design trends: the dough bowl candle.

These farmhouse-style candles are seeing a significant surge in popularity, and they’re a sophisticated way to add a natural element to your home. Dough bowls (sans candles) have been trending for several years already, with many people using them on countertops as a pretty way to store fruit or create decorative arrangements. (A dough bowl is a large wooden vessel traditionally used to mix bread dough and provide a place for the dough to rise before baking.) Recently, though, candlemakers have taken to using dough bowls to create large candles that are beautiful enough to be stand-alone centerpieces, no fruit required.

tissue paper flowers
Steven McDonald

Read on for more information about the rising dough bowl candle trend—plus tips for bringing a dough bowl candle into your home.

The Start of the Dough Bowl Candle Trend

Dough bowls candles are an evolution of the farmhouse trend of decorating with traditional bread dough bowls that has been thriving for nearly a decade. Dough bowl candles still have a homespun feeling, but the earthy colors of the dough bowls create a perfect segue between those earlier, often very stylized modern farmhouse interiors and today’s increased focus on creating cozy spaces. If you love a country- or rustic-inspired look and want to update your space, dough bowl candles are the perfect transition piece to give your home a more contemporary look while maintaining its current style, but they’re equally capable of adding warmth and authenticity to a modern space.

Though the candles may be a newer trend, the design philosophy behind them is not. According to Audrey Scheck, principal of Audrey Scheck Design, “Incorporating natural elements into design has been prevalent for years, and we don’t anticipate that changing any time soon. One of our favorite ways to incorporate natural elements into our design plans is by sourcing raw wood materials such as dough bowls.”

Additionally, spending more time at home in the last few years has made many people reevaluate the environment in which they want to live. “We are seeing a gravitation toward more intentional and meaningful decor pieces in our client’s homes,” Scheck says. “The dough bowl candle trend aligns perfectly with that observation. People are becoming more interested in one-of-a-kind, unique decor such as dough bowls, which are a perfect styling piece that can be used for years even after the candle has melted.”

How to Decorate with a Dough Bowl Candle in Your Space

Part of the popularity of these candles comes from the fact that their wood tones act as a neutral, which makes them immensely adaptable.

“The dough bowl is versatile enough to work with a number of styles throughout virtually any space in the home,” Scheck says. “Personally, we like to place dough bowl candles in kitchens or on dining tables. The bowl’s traditional use for cooking makes it feel like a natural fit for these spaces.”

Kitchen with white brick and dining room seating
Anthony Masterson Photography

The rich wood tones are also a great way to instantly warm up spaces with cooler elements—like the tile and marble often found in kitchens and baths—even when the candle isn’t burning, and when it is, the glow from the multiple wicks creates instant ambiance in any space.

When it comes to styling these candles, it’s all about proportions. “We recommend putting the candle next to a taller item to offset the low profile of the dough bowl,” Scheck says. “For example, try placing your dough bowl candle alongside a tall vase with dried or faux florals in it.” The contrast between high and low elements will add additional interest to your decor and draw your eye to the arrangement. 

There are practical considerations for adding dough bowl candles to your home as well; how you use a large, multi-wick candle matters. You might be nervous about burning a candle in a wooden vessel, but Elisa Vanderschuit, owner and creator of Song of a Sparrow, a candle company, says she creates her dough bowl candles with the potentially flammable vessel in mind.

“The inner part of the bowl candle is soaked in wax, which makes it non-flammable,” Vanderschuit says. “The flames of the wicks do not create enough heat to ignite the soaked wood.”

Of course, you should still practice with these candles, as you would with any burning candle. “As with any candle, never leave the dough bowl candle burning unattended,” Vanderschuit says. Keep them away from pets, small children, and anything flammable, too, she says.

To enjoy your beautiful dough bowl candle for as long as possible, follow Vanderschuit’s tips for making your candle last.

“To get the most out of your candle, you should always trim your wicks before every time you light them,” Vanderschuit says. She also suggests burning large, multi-wick candles until the wax melts to the candle’s edges to prevent tunneling. For best results, you should plan to burn a large dough bowl candle for about four hours at a time and allow it to cool and resolidify before lighting it again.

With proper care, you can enjoy your dough bowl candle for hours of brilliant burn time, then create a centerpiece with your upcycled bowl once the wax is gone.

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