Experts say: Tips on using scented candles

Tips on using scented candles

How can I make the fragrance from scented candles last in my living room? The smell seems to disappear quickly once I put out the flame.

Scenting a room is not just about lighting some fragranced candles.

Ms Michelle Liu, head of multi- brand beauty retailer Escentials, shares her tips for making the scents, and your candles, last.

First, make sure you have enough candles for the scent to come through. Ideally, use a 180g to 220g candle for every 10 sq m of space. A larger living room might require three to four candles to create a consistent smell.


PHOTO: VERNON WONG; DESIGN: PIU DESIGN

Always burn a candle for at least an hour to allow the candle wax to melt properly and provide sufficient time for the scent to evaporate. If you are in a rush to leave home, opt for a diffuser or room spray as a quick fix instead of a candle.

Observe where the candles are placed. If a window is frequently opened or the room is air-conditioned, these factors can affect the strength of a scent.

Before lighting the candle, trim the wick to between 0.5cm and 0.6cm. The wick length will impact the burning quality of the candle. For example, if the wick is too long and overburnt, when lit, it will create heavy smoke and block off proper heat transmission to the surface of the wax.

Whenever possible, put out the candle with a candle snuffer or a candle lid to cut oxygen supply to the flame, minimise the generation of smoke and prevent a burning smell.

On how to make candle scents last, Jo Malone's senior retail and education manager Christopher Don Au says: "After continually smelling the same scent for more than 15 minutes, our olfactory system will become less sensitive, making us think the scent has disappeared.

"For a longer-lasting fragrance, use different scents in different areas of the home, so the olfactory system can be stimulated as we walk from room to room."


Making a home baby-ready

My living space is less than 1,000sq ft. How can I make my home baby-ready?

The basic pieces of furniture you will need are a cot and a changing table.

A great way to save space and money is to get a cot which can be converted into a toddler bed, a single bed or sofa, says Ms Sharon Wong, founder and CEO of nursery retailer Motherswork. Remember to make provisions for the items your baby will need. That means planning for plenty of storage.

Pick a changing table with drawers to store clothes, towels and diapers, Ms Wong adds.

It is more convenient than storing them in your wardrobe as everything is within reach. Consider wall-mounted storage units as these will not take up floor space.


Good teak exposed to hot sun should not crack

The weather has been very hot lately and I am worried about the teak furniture in my balcony as they look dry. What can I do to prevent it from cracking?


PHOTO: DARREN CHANG; DESIGN: MUSEUM ID

If you bought your teak furniture from a reputable company, you can rest assured that your pieces will not crack no matter how hot the sun gets, says Mr Philip Jensen, export and marketing manager of Teak & Mahogany.

He says an important part of teak production is the kiln-drying process. All reputable companies will kiln-dry their teak for four to eight weeks. This reduces the moisture in the wood to a stable level so that there is very little chance of cracking.

For teak, the moisture content should be below 14 per cent. It will naturally reduce to about 8 to 10 per cent and stay at that level. Teak products that crack most likely were not kiln-dried properly or not at all. Teak is a tropical hardwood prized for its durability and weather resistance. It may change colour when exposed to rain and sun to a light silvery grey. However, this is more of a "sun tan" than the wood drying out and you can clean and sand away the top surface to revive its golden hue.


  • •Home & Decor magazine editor Rebeckka Wong and experts in renovation and home decoration answer queries from readers in this series. These questions first appeared in the June (2016) issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.

    •Got a decorating or home renovation issue? Write to Experts Say, Home & Decor, 82 Genting Lane, Media Centre, Level 7, Singapore 349567 or e-mail maghomedecor@sph.com.sg. Photos and layouts are non-returnable.

Soundbar for surround- sound effect of cinemas

I love the surround-sound effect of cinemas. How can I get a similar effect without spending too much money?

Home owners new to getting sound systems for the home can consider buying a soundbar, says Mr Sam Soh, electrical manager of Harvey Norman Millenia Walk.

A soundbar consists of several speakers placed together in one casing and is a cheaper alternative to the surround-sound system in cinemas. Some are engineered to produce sound that mimics that of a surround-sound system and speakers can be detachable. Plus, there is no drilling involved.

Mr Soh adds: "When looking for a soundbar, ask whether it comes with a subwoofer. If it doesn't, consider getting one to enhance the bass. Listen to sound effects from various genres of music or movies to decide on sound quality."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2016, with the headline 'ExpertsSay'. Print Edition | Subscribe