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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Bowl Candleholders Reviewed In 2018Last Updated January 1, 2019
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Candles & Candle Holders
The perfect match for every room, beautifully fragranced candles are ideal for the bathroom, making bath time a relaxing and indulgent treat. Add decorative old world charm to the house or garden with our nautical lanterns and hurricane lamps. Choose the daintiest spring flower and tulip tea lights to add a quirky touch for spring. Available in all sizes, from pillar candles and votive candlesticks to tealights. We’ve signature scents for evening and daytime, including Italian lemon, jasmine, English apple, lime blossom, cedarwood and bergamot. Natural materials like clear and frosted glass, wood, rope handles and brass help you achieve just the right level of light and the look you want. Add elegance, light, a beautiful focal point, at home and in the garden with our beautiful candles and holders. For more ways to illuminate your home, take a look at our
This tealight holder adds an ethereal interplay of light and shadow to your room, throwing off glimmering shards of candlelight with its richly beaded exterior. Perfect for adding an atmospheric touch to your bedroom or living area.
Make it easier to find the lampshade you want
You don’t have to just trawl through hundreds of lampshades trying to find the exact right size or shade to fit your lamp. If you’re armed with certain pieces of information, you can shortcut your search to find the perfect lampshade.
If you have the dimensions of your old lampshade
Usually you measure a lampshade across the top to get a “top width”, across the bottom to get a “bottom width”, and along the “diagonal slant” (or vertical height for drum shades) of the side of the shade, to get a “slant height”. Consult our section below about how to measure a lamp shade if you need help. But once you know the measurements, why not jump straight to the exact right size lampshades and skip the ones that won’t look right?
If all you have is a lamp base without a shade
Fear not, because you can actually figure out the exact right size of lamp shade you need based on the size and shape/style of your lamp base. Consult the section of this guide regarding how to measure a lamp shade for tips on what size shade you’ll need depending on your lamp base size.
Generally you’ll want to get an idea of the right “size” of lampshade you need first before you consider the shape or color, otherwise it won’t have appropriate proportions and will look too big or small.
Once you have an idea of the size you may need, consider the shape of the lamp base to help you decide what kind of lamp shade to look for. See our section on How to match the shade shape to the lamp base for simple tips about matching the lamp shade shape to the style of the base. While it may be easy to just throw a typical empire shade onto your lamp, it will look better when the shape of the lampshade complements or balances or brings out the shape of the base.
Popular Lampshade Colors
Lampshades feature a wide spectrum of colors to suit almost any lamp base and environment. You will likely want to complement the base of the lamp by choosing a lamp shade color that is either understated (as to let the lamp base be featured), or to make the shade a focal point (e.g. with a more understated base). It’s also possible to strike a balance between the two components, for example picking up colors in the base to bring out with the shade – similar to how you bring out the color of your eyes.
Black Lamp Shades
A black lamp shade can allow a lamp to be understated but also gives your lamp and air of sophistication, and can also be quite a modern look. Sleek black shades might match your black furniture or act as a balance against white or brightly colored elements in the room. Explore some examples of black lamp shades.
White Lamp Shades
A white lamp shade similarly can give your lamp a look of elegance and sophistication especially allowing the lamp base to be featured if it is colorful or interesting. White shades are clean and purifying, and may reflect upon white elements in the room or act as a canvas for other colors you wish to feature. Explore some examples of white lamp shades.
Red Lamp Shades
Believe it or not, red lamp shades are one of the most searched-for colors on the internet. A red shade would likely highlight warmer tones in a lamp base or be a striking statement against an understated lamp base. Red shades might just highlight your favorite color ro pick up red or warm accents in the room. Explore some examples of red lamp shades.
Orange Lamp Shades & Yellow Lamp Shades
Orange or yellow lamp shades are not typically as popular as a color choice, since yellow tends to be quite a bright color which will stand out in a room. You’d probably pick an orange lamp shade or yellow lamp shade if it particularly matched the lamp in some way or is part of your room’s color scheme. Explore some examples of orange and yellow lamp shades.
Green Lamp Shades
Green lamp shades also are one of the less popular colors for a lamp, mainly because green is quite a distinct color and tends not to be featured in lamp bases. Green shades may however complement a green or earth-toned or natural theme in your room and could complement a natural-toned lamp base well. Explore some examples of green lamp shades.
Blue Lamp Shades
Add a blue lamp shade to your table lamp or floor lamp and you’re instantly into making a cool statement. Blue is actually one of the most searched-for- colors of lampshades online, perhaps due to the relative rarity of blue coloring in nature in general. A blue shade will likely look quite contemporary and give your lamp a deliberate, designer look. Pair it with a lamp with blue in the base or perhaps white or black. Explore some examples of blue lamp shades.
Purple Lamp Shades and Pink Lamp Shades
Yes, pink is in. And purple too. Pink lamp shade are quite sought after and perhaps this is due to the fact that many people replacing lampshades are women. It may be a stereotype, but yes, women do seem to like to buy pink shades. And some men too, of course. A pink shade would look great on a white or gray or perhaps red or pink lamp base. Perhaps a pink or purple lamp shade would look great in a girls’ bedroom. Explore some examples of pink lamp shades and purple lamp shades.
Cream Lamp Shades
Cream lamp shades are a classic. Not so pure as to be white, but somewhat softened and warming. A cream lamp shade will match well to many lamp base designs and colors especially more classically or traditionally styled lamps. Sometimes cream includes off-white or egg-shell which are more neutral or reddish tones. Explore some examples of cream lamp shades.
Beige Lamp Shades
Beige is all the rage. A beige lamp shade suits many modern homes where beige and browns provide a soft, comforting and nurturing environment. Beige shades can complement well with brown furniture or perhaps a beige couch. Often a beige lamp shade will complement a fancy decorated lamp base well. Explore some examples of beige lamp shades.
Brown Lamp Shades
Brown lamp shades add a darker, comforting warmth to a room. A brown shade can complement a more decorative lamp base of many colors or a more plain design. With a brown shade, you can pick up on the browns in your furniture or textiles in the room. Explore some examples of brown lamp shades.
The Practical Uses of Different Lamp Shades
Different types of lamp shades serve a different purpose. Besides shielding your eyes from the glare of a light bulb, their shape is not purely for decorative reasons. The correct shade greatly affects the kind of light the lamp gives off, as well as where that light is directed. Different types of lamp shades correlate to different functions for practical purposes, be it sitting nearby, at a distance, or as an ambient light source. If you are not as concerned about how the lamp assists you in your daily activities, you may prefer to make a choice purely for decorative reasons.
Empire lamp shades for table lamp provide a spread of light for a bedside desk as well as for reading in bed.
A bell shade atop a floor lamp provides a maximum area of illumination for sitting beneath to read.
A drum lamp shade on this pendant light, radiating strong and focussed light downward over a dining table as well as illuminating the room with ambient light via the ceiling.
Bell lamp shades for table lamps provide a local spread of light for nearby seating.
A pair of floor lamps with flat drum lamp shades prove strong ambient and local light for a softer mood.
The opaque drum lamp shade on this lamp provides a decorative, less functional ambient light over a narrow side-table.
How Home Lamp Shades Affect the Light
Light emits from different shaped shades in different ways, which affects how far the light is useful and for what purposes. Light emitting from the top of the shade produces a reflected ambient light bouncing off the ceiling, while light emitting below produces a more focused light surrounding furniture. Additional light shines through the sides of the shade itself, whereby a white or light-colored shade allows the most light to pass through. Darker-colored shades and hardback shades tend to block more of the light.
Drum lamp shades provide an medium spread of light from both ends
An empire shade provides most light from the bottom, the least from the top
A bell shade provides a balance between light from the top and a wide spread of light from the bottom
Light from Bell Lamp Shades
TIP: Also consider also what other sources of light are in the room – if you have bright light from a main light fixture, your lamps may provide accent lighting, or mood lighting when used alone. If you need them to be a primary light source for sitting and reading, opt for a more flared shape of shade such as empire/coolie, provided it complements the style of the base. Also consider a hard-backed shade for increasing the light output from below the shade.
Hard-Back Lamp Shades
Lampshades hold their shape either due to a hard lining or with the use of a metal framework. A `hard-backed` shade is typically lined with plastic or or other materials designed to prevent light from passing through the sides of the shade. The hard lining allows the shape of the shade to be quite firm and less likely to change over time. The firm backing is glued into place behind a more attractive outer material.
Soft-Back Lamp Shades
A soft-back shade does not have a firm lining, although it may still potentially be lined. The lining, however, would be flexible, such as a linen or paper, and so does not provide support for maintaining the shape of the lampshade. As a result, soft-back or `un-backed` shades require additional vertical supports between the bottom and top of the shade to maintain shape.
This soft-backed drum lamp shade emits light through the shade itself, for a softer light, and reveals a textured pattern in the shade material.
Cylinder Lamp Shades
Cylinder-shaped lamp shades are taller than they are wide, with vertical straight sides. These tall shades are best for unusually tall lamp bases, or floor lamps. They funnel equal amounts of light out of the top and bottom without spreading the light outwards, producing a large amount of ambient reflected light.
Because they are so much taller than wide, their proportions look good on narrow lamp bases. Their very open-ended nature maximizes the amount of light output.
Drum Lamp Shades
Drum-shaped shades are similar to cylinder shades except they are flatter, typically wider than they are tall, similar to a musical drum. Drum shades look good on a variety of table lamps and floor lamps, but also can be suited to pendant light fixtures. With vertical sides, maximum light emits through the top and bottom of the drum shade producing ambient reflected light in the room.
When used in an overhead pendant it provides ample light output for visual clarity. On a table lamp the drum shade gives a contemporary, modern look. A drum shade is well suited to a lamp base with wide proportions. Being open-ended allows a maximum amount of light to be released through both ends of the shade.
Floor Lamp Shades
Floor lamps typically require a slightly larger shade than table lamps. Also due to the height of the lamp, they tend to look better with a drum or floor-style shade. A floor shade is almost a drum shade, except the sides are slightly slanted. This shape complements the proportions of the floor lamp.
A floor shade distributes light out through the bottom with a slight spread, illuminating a larger area around the lamp base. Similarly, the top of the floor shade is less open, slightly restricting the amount of ambient reflected light shining out through the top. Often a floor lamp is located near to a seating area and thus provides a cone of light which can extend at least partly across the furniture. Floor lamps, in general, provide a large amount of light close to functional spaces.
Empire Lamp Shades
Empire-shaped lampshades strike a balance between slanted sides and visually-appealing proportions. These straight-sided shades are found commonly on many table lamps and some floor lamps. The narrower opening at the top is still large enough to vent heat from the light bulb, yet allows the bottom of the shade to flare more in order to spread light outwards.
This wider cone of light illuminates a wider area beneath and to the sides of the lamp, providing a hotspot of local light ideal for reading and other activities. Since most of the light is cast downwards, there is less ambient light reflected off the ceiling and more light spread outward near to seating areas or top of furniture. Empire shades are popular lamp shades for table lamps.
Coolie Lamp Shades
A coolie lamp shade features a very wide spread of light, since the top of the shade is very narrow and the bottom very open. The sides of the coolie shade are heavily slanted. Coolie shades tend to be flatter (less height) due to the proportions of the shape.
The coolie shade restricts ambient light emitting from the top of the shade, while maximizing the amount of light spreading out from the bottom. The shape of the shade also directs the light to spread as widely as possible to the sides of the shade for maximum coverage. This can be useful when your lamp is serving to illuminate tasks or projects or for reading.
Bell Lamp Shades
The bell shade is very popular and provides an elegant, relaxed shape. The sides of the shade curve inwards producing a shape that resembles a `bell`. The flare at the bottom helps to distribute light outwards for maximum coverage, while the top of the shade remains quite wide to help facilitate the escape of heat and ambient light.
The bell shade is well suited to table lamps with a more curved base shape. Empire lampshades are popular lamp shade for table lamps to use.
Oval Lamp Shades
With an oval-shaped shade, looking down on the shade from above reveals an oval shape rather than a perfect circle. The shade wider than it is deep, front-to-back. An oval or flatter style of lamp base goes well with it. It can help to situate a lamp on a narrower piece of furniture closer to a wall without extruding into the room, helping to ensure the lamp will not be knocked over by passers by.
Oval shades are less common but look good when their shape complements the shape of the base. An oval shade may have an oval profile from the top, while having any of the other shapes when viewed from the side, such as an oval bell, an oval empire, an oval drum etc.
Square and Rectangular Lamp Shades
Square and rectangle-shaped shades complement a lamp base which is very rectangular in appearance. Suited mainly to contemporary modern lamps, they work well with floor lamps and table lamps. The rectangular shade has flat edges rather than circular edges, and thus produces corners. Some varieties of square shade also feature a ‘cut corner’ as a decorative modification to its shape.
Square or rectangular shades are most obvious when viewed from above or at an angle, but from the side may feature a bell shape (pagoda), drum shape, or empire shape. Rectangular or square shades with a very narrow or no opening in the top may be thought of as a pyramid shade.
Art-Glass Lamp Shades
Art-glass is a special kind of toughened glass designed to be lighter and less fragile than real or tiffany glass. Lamps with an art-glass shade make a bold statement. Commonly a single piece of art glass is used in a very unique hand-crafted shape. Since art-glass can be molded into endless shapes, it can be manipulated to resemble flowers, animals or even traditional shade shapes with unusual edge designs.
In addition to the shape, art-glass shades feature extraordinary patterns of vibrant color, with swirls of multiple hues mixed in. While art-glass lamps are readily available, finding replacement glass shades is less simple – usually through contacting the manufacturer of the original lamp, since each piece is so uniquely specific to the lamp itself.
How to Match Lamp Shade Shape to the Lamp Base
A base featuring a curved profile is complemented by a curved bell shade. You can see here the pattern of a curve ending in a platform is repeated from the base to the shade, albeit inverted. Bell shades match well to a curved base profile.
A barrel, drum lamp shade or cone-style lamp base is reflected well by a rounded drum/cylinder shade. Rounded/cylindrical bases tend to work better with rounded shades than square shades.
Sometimes shapes are directly repeated in the base as in the shade. Here, trapezium shapes occur multiple times and the shade is an extension of the base’s design theme. Since the base’s view from above/below is a square, the square shade works well.
Bases with a square or rectangular profile do well complemented with a rectangular shade. Since these angular shapes tend to be more modern, a square/rectangular shade is a good match.
Sometimes the shape of the shade may reflect the shape of only a portion of the base. Here, trapezium/pyramid shapes are repeated in the shade and the foot of the base, as well as in the patterning of the shade itself.
Proportions of shade and base should be reasonably similar. Here an unusually tall/thin lamp base is well complemented by an unusually flat/thin drum lamp shade, continuing the theme of elegance. Also very narrow lamp bases look good with a drum or rectangle shade.
While both lamp base and shade here are circular, since the base features a bold shape, the shade chosen is also a boldly contrasting shape. Use a partly contradictory or balancing shape of shade for added drama. Notice the shade is still round and the base is still round when viewed from above or below.
While this lamp base bends outward, the shade bends inward. Both elements thus feature a curved surface, but they work together to form a balance. This also produces a flowing visual line from the bottom of the lamp to the top. Notice also the need for a square-style shade due to the base’s square sides.
Matching with your furniture
As an extension of your lamp, consider the furniture it sits on or is near to. What shapes do you see there? What are the proportions like, as a whole and for individual parts?
Rectangular furniture: is likely to be best complemented by a more angular or rectangular shade
Sculptured rounded furniture: is likely to match best with a more rounded shade especially if the furniture has rounded corners
Proportions: Is the furniture wide and flat or tall and narrow? Consider how your lamp may complement or balance the shape
Decor: Consider the rest of your room’s theme. Think about the textures and colors and shapes that your lamp could tie into. Is there a strong color that you’d like to match or contrast with?
Lampshade Sizing Rules
Shade height should be about 3/the height of the base. The bottom of the shade should be wider than the widest part of the base. Shade width should approximately equal the height from the bottom of base to socket.
Reading lamps need a wider shade to provide plenty of light.
Consider the Bulb
Be sure you have 2-inch separation from bulb to shade, especially for higher wattage bulbs. Be sure the top opening is wide enough to vent the heat. Compact Fluorescent bulbs are great for most lamps because they burn cooler, but you may need larger harp since CFL’s are taller than standard light bulbs.
How to measure a lamp shade
Find the right size shade for your lamp. Follow these tips for correct measuring.
Shade Dimensions are typically given Top x Bottom x Height on the SLANT. Be sure to measure the slant height and not the vertical height.
The taller the lamp, the larger the shade. Most table lamps take a shade with a bottom diameter (B) of 16″ or less. Floor lamps take a shade with a bottom diameter (B) of 16″ or 18″ or larger.
Measure the lamp’s height from the bottom of the base to just below the socket(s). The basic rule of thumb is that the shade you choose should have a bottom diameter (B) that’s approximately equal to this measurement.
Choosing the Right Fitter
A “fitter” is simply the way the shade connects to your lamp. Most lamps have “spider” fitters. Other common fitters include UNO or clip-on fitters. Check your existing lamp against the diagram and descriptions below to determine what type of fitter you need:
Choosing the Right Drop
Shades with a spider-type or UNO-type fitter usually have some distance between the top edge of the shade down to the center of the fitter. This makes the fitting less visible when viewing the lamp from the side but does raise the position of the shade by the drop distance.
Shades with spider-type fitters typically feature a 1/to 1-inch drop.
Shades with a Slip-UNO fitter have several inches of the drop which varies per-shade since the fitter has to drop down to below the bulb.
Threaded-UNO fitter shades typically feature a drop of to inches so as to conceal electrical attachments above the shade.
Simple designed straight-sided shades that usually feature a bottom width 3-times larger than the top, resulting in a shade that emits most of the light from the bottom.
Distance from the top of the shade to the center of the fitter.
The metal structure that attaches the shade to the lamp base. The most common type is the Spider Fitter which resembles a spoked wheel and connects to a harp with a finial. A Clip-On Fitter features metal loops allowing the shade to attach on top of the bulb. Larger clip-on shades are designed to attach directly to a standard Edison bulb, while smaller chandelier shades have smaller loops to fit a candelabra bulb. An Uno Fitter is designed with a larger center opening which fits snugly into the socket. Slip Uno Fitters feature a large drop and rest on the socket of a table lamp. Threaded Uno Fitters actually screw on to the socket so it can hang downward, typically on down-bridge floor lamps.
A stiff backing applied to the inner surface of a lamp shade to keep its shape over time. During the creation of a hardback lampshade, the fabric is laminated over a stiff but bendable backing material, typically a plastic such as a styrene. The hard backing helps the shade to keep its form, prevents drooping or warping, and extends the life of the shade. With a hardback shade it often becomes unnecessary to use extra metal framework running between the top and bottom of the shade, since the backing maintains the shape. This removes the shadows or blocks to light caused by the presence of vertical framework showing through the shade.
Decorative covering, usually fabric, used to diffuse and direct the light from the bulb. A properly chosen shade will enhance the base and bring out its best features without competing with it for attention. (The life of the party can also use it as a hat late on a wild evening.)
An additional surface applied to the inside of a lamp shade, used to filter or reflect light. A reflective lining such as gold or silver helps to reflect light away from the shade surface and focuses it out of the top and bottom. This keeps the outer appearance of the shade the same color and tone as when the light is off. This is useful for dark or black shades that you want to stay dark-looking even when the lamp is on. It also prevents the shade from absorbing some of the light, increasing overall light output. A reflective lining also hides the appearance of a bright-spot from the light bulb, as seen through the shade. Other types of lining include plastic, linen and other fabrics, each with its own degree of diffusing and reflecting light. Some linings allow some light through while also increasing the output through the top and bottom of the shade.
The measurement from the outermost tip of the top edge of a lamp shade, to the outermost tip of the bottom edge, on a diagonal and in a straight line. We use the slant height to describe the `height` (length of the side) of the shade. The slant height is easily measured outside the shade, even when the shade is installed, and should be measured in a straight line regardless of any curvature in the shape of the shade. Bell shades are just as easily measured, measuring in a straight line from top to bottom, ignoring the curved surface. (Since most shades do not have vertical sides, it is difficult to get an accurate vertical measurement, usually requires the shade to be removed from the lamp. It is easier and more intuitive to measure the outside of the shade on the slant from top to bottom.)
Metal receptacle at the top of the lamp base that holds the bulb and usually contains the switch. A slip-UNO fitter or a harp generally sits beneath the socket.
Zalto Denk’Art Burgundy Glass
Most glassware manufacturers will create a glass for all the different grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Champagne, etc. Each varietal specific glass is made with that particular style of wine in mind in order to capture its essence. Some wines are acidic, others are tannic, and some are even sweet. So the glasses are shaped to allow the wine to reach the appropriate area of your tongue to bring out the best in every sip.
For example, the Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Bordeaux glass is typically considered the standard red wine glass. It’s tall with a full size bowl that somewhat tapers at the top. This glass is ideal for highly tannic red wines of moderate acidity. The reason being is that it directs the wine to the center of the tongue, creating a perfect balance of fruit, tannin and acidity. The same goes for the Shiraz glass, which is the tallest of all red wine glasses and has a very distinct taper towards the top.
The Pinot Noir/Burgundy stems are not quite as tall as Bordeaux glass but will have a much wider bowl and sometimes will tulip towards the rim. These glasses enhance red wines with high acidity and moderate tannin by directing the wine to the tip of the tongue, highlighting the fruit and balancing the naturally high acidity. glasses enhance red wines with high acidity and moderate tannin by directing the wine to the tip of the tongue, highlighting the fruit and balancing the naturally high acidity.
Similar to Red Burgundy or Pinot Noir glass but shorter, with the same wide bowl style.
The Champagne flute is designed to be tall and thin to highlight the fine bouquet, richness and complexity on the palate. It also has the ability to keep the bubbles in the flute longer; with less surface area exposed to the air, the bubbles can’t escape as quickly … and they look really cool!
Our Bluetooth speaker pick
This all-in-one speaker offers a wide sound stage, with clear, crisp highs and midrange audio and hearty, booming bass, no matter where you set it up in a room or from which angle you listen to it.
Using a smallish Bluetooth speaker allows you to have a dance party in any room and cede control of the decks to your friends with Bluetooth-enabled devices. Our favorite home Bluetooth speaker is the Peachtree Audio Deepblue2.
It’s the one speaker we tested that everyone on our blind-listening panel agreed sounded great—and once the blindfolds came off, that everyone agreed looked good. A Bluetooth speaker won’t be as powerful or rich as a stereo system, but in our tests the Deepbluedelivered full, big sound for the wide variety of music styles we tried. For the price, nothing else can touch it—this model sounds at least 80 percent as good as our upgrade pick, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless, a speaker that sells for hundreds of dollars more.
If you’re interested in filling a much bigger space—or the whole house—you should get our favorite whole-home audio system instead. Or if you’d rather have something that you can move from room to room, and you’re willing to give up a bit of sound quality, get the Riva Turbo X, which is the upgrade pick in our portable speaker guide. —Ganda Suthivarakom
Rule the ambience for guests in every room of the house (no matter how big your palace is) with a whole-home wireless music system. We’ve spent hundreds of hours over several months using six whole-home wireless music systems in every possible room and Sonos is still the best around because it’s super easy to use and set up, and has excellent sound quality for the price.
The best part about a wireless home music system compared with a series of Bluetooth speakers is that it connects directly to the Internet instead of relying on your phone or computer. Just select the music you want to play and the machine will do the rest, freeing up your phone to do other stuff—with no notification sounds or ringtones to interrupt playback. And you can play different music in different rooms, or group them together, all while maintaining independent volume control on each unit. —GS
A good selection of candles can make or break a party’s atmosphere. In a new round of testing this fall, we looked at dozens of candles online and spent several hours on research to determine our top picks.
You can find four main styles of candles: tapers, which are tall and skinny, and stand in candlesticks; pillar candles, which are squat (usually at least to inches in diameter) and come in a variety of heights; votives, which measure about inches tall and inch wide, and go in votive holders; and tea lights, small candles in metal cups that traditionally serve to warm teapots but also make great accent lighting.
For all the candles we tested, we looked for four main things: no dripping (which can ruin candleholders or tablecloths), very little smoke or none at all, no scent to interfere with food on the table, and the length of burn time. (set of three)
With an impressively long burn time of about seven hours, Richland’s Tealight Candles Extended Burn (available in a pack of 100) are our pick. These tea lights gave off the least amount of smoke compared with IKEA Glimma unscented tea lights (sold in a pack of 100) and Waxations Superior Quality Unscented Tea Light Candles (available in a pack of 125). In our test, the IKEA candles burned for only five hours, and their wax turned an unattractive yellow color. The Waxations tea lights had the shortest burn time of four hours and gave off a lot of smoke when extinguished. —Jamie Wiebe, Michael Sullivan
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
In an age when most people experience photos only as pixels on their phones, nothing draws attention at a party like the tactile, retro charm of an instant camera. Our pick for an instant camera is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic. Its film is widely available, and the pocket-sized prints make for excellent keepsakes with more-accurate colors and finer detail than its competitors can produce, all in a compact and durable retro design. —GS
The Duralex Picardie survived an 8-foot fall off a roof onto a linoleum floor. It stacks neatly, too, and it costs only a few dollars per glass. (set of six)
After 2hours of research including drop tests onto tile and concrete, plus years of long-term testing, we couldn’t resist picking the Picardie tumbler from French manufacturer Duralex as our favorite drinking glass. While they look elegant enough for the dinner table, they’re versatile enough to sit stacked up on the bar for use as wine or cocktail glasses. You’ll spot these glasses at Paris bistros and Middle Eastern tea shops, making everything from espresso shots to bordeaux look good. During our temperature stress tests, the Picardie tumbler’s tempered glass withstood freezing temps and boiling water, so it’ll work for both hot apple cider and ice water. When we flung the tumblers off an 8-foot roof onto a linoleum floor, they didn’t break, and because they stack well they’re easy to store once your dinner is over.
The 10⅞-ounce size is ideal for smaller portions of juice or warm punch and comes in boxes of six. For water or for tall coolers like iced tea and lemonade, the 16⅞-ounce tumbler (box of six) is big enough to hold your drink and lots of ice, too.
Our champagne glass pick
The Viv doesn’t have the characteristics that make higher-end flutes better than others, namely tulip-shaped bowls, effervescence points, and leaded crystal. For fine dining or an intimate occasion, our favorite high-quality Champagne flute is the Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige, and you can read about it in our full-length guide.
The Libbey Signature Kentfield Estate All-Purpose Glass is ideal for casual drinking and entertaining. Photo: Michael Hession
The best wine glass for hosting parties is the durable Libbey Signature Kentfield Estate All-Purpose Wine Glass. This inexpensive, tulip-shaped glass ranked among the top stemware chosen by our experts in our blind taste test. It stood out for showcasing the aromas of both red and white wines well. It’s nicely balanced with a thin lip that doesn’t distract from enjoyment of the overall drinking experience. The Libbey glass has a classic look that makes it appropriate for daily use, or for more formal occasions such as dinners and cocktail parties. It’s also dishwasher-safe, and since it’s so affordably priced, you won’t be heartbroken if one breaks.
If you’re seeking something more elegant to create a polished and formal feel for your dinner table, check out our full-length wine glass guide. —MS for a set of 3
When it comes to having a pitcher of water on the table, we found that simple and cheap is the way to go. The Weck Juice Jar is economical, sturdy, and comfortable to hold. It has a small footprint, and the classic shape blends in well on most dining tables. It comes with a loose-fitting glass lid that’s a little impractical for day-to-day use, but thankfully you can purchase a plastic snap-on lid if you require airtight storage in the refrigerator. Even with the extra lid, though, we can’t recommend storing this jar on its side in case your fridge has limited shelf clearance. —Lesley Stockton
If you want a cobbler shaker
This all-in-one shaker and strainer will be easier to use for novice mixologists. It has less of a tendency to leak than other cobbler-style shakers, and it feels more solidly built.
If you want an all-in-one option, we also like the Usagi Cobbler Shaker. Cobbler-style shakers, which separate into three pieces (a canister, a lid with a strainer, and a cap to cover the holes), are sometimes easier for beginners but generally prone to leaking. The Usagi is the only cobbler shaker we’ve found that doesn’t: In our tests, all three parts remained snug during shaking, yet the parts weren’t so tight as to make breaking the seal difficult. We also appreciate that the Usagi shaker has a little ergonomic indentation in the cap where you can put your index finger while shaking. For those who care, this shaker also looks nice and classic. —Christine Cyr Clisset
For larger parties, grab big bags of ice from the supermarket or gas station and then separate the ice into two groups: ice that cools your beverages (and won’t be consumed) and clean ice meant for drinks. The clean ice needs its own container—nobody should have to stick a hand in the cooler to grab ice meant for chilling dirty off-the-shelf cans of beer.
After 20 hours of watching ice melt, we can say that our favorite ice bucket is the Oggi Stainless Steel Ice Bucket. Double-walled for insulation, this shiny, stainless model has a removable lid, a 3-quart capacity, and an included pair of tongs. In our tests, it didn’t sweat at all on the outside, keeping stacks of napkins and tablecloths dry.—EO
Stocking a bar is a matter of personal taste: It’s your party, so buy what you prefer. As long as you’re offering something to drink, your guests will be happy to linger. But if you need to stock up from scratch and want suggestions for basic, crowd-pleasing bottles of liquor that are good for most cocktails but won’t blow your budget, we narrowed the field down to seven selections. How much booze should you buy? The best advice is to buy plenty. Martha Stewart also has a helpful party calculator to determine how much to buy.
After speaking to eight celebrated bartenders, researching what the entertaining experts had to say, and cross-referencing their responses, we recommend the following.
Vodka: Absolut. Dale DeGroff, formerly of the Rainbow Room, told us, “If you want something a little more viscous, with a little more flavor, we’re talking pastry flavor, you get the malty, grainy: Absolut.”
Gin: Tanqueray. Chad Solomon of beverage consultancy Cuffs & Buttons called Tanqueray a “Rolls-Royce–quality” gin.
Dry vermouth: Dolin. Solomon and John deBary of Momofuku both picked Dolin for dry vermouth, a key ingredient in martinis.
Bourbon: Wild Turkey. “Right there in the heart, at 10proof, is Wild Turkey,” DeGroff said. “This man is the master.”
Whisky: The Famous Grouse. Solomon gave points to The Famous Grouse whisky for being “more of a mixer than a sipper … it’s not overly sweetened and has a little bit of smoke to it.”
Rum: Bacardi Superior. For white rum, DeGroff told us, “obviously Bacardi.”
Different cocktails (or straight sipping) may be better suited to different bottles. You know your friends, so pick and choose the alcohol you think they’ll enjoy most. —Nick Guy
Our sparkling wine pick
It’s bready and complex, and it smells like burnt sugar. People recommend Gruet to us all the time, even when we’re not asking.
Real Champagne is expensive and not commonly bought by the case. Luckily, you have much to choose from beyond the French stuff these days, and if you’re having a celebration and you don’t want to go broke, we recommend Gruet Brut. This non-vintage sparkler from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is made in the French style by a family from Champagne.
To find a great bottle that’s available for purchase by the case, we first consulted “best of” lists from various sources, including Food & Wine, Good Housekeeping, Huffington Post, The Nest, Serious Eats, and Wine Enthusiast. Then we sought out the experts.
Chad Solomon, a Milk & Honey bar alumnus and partner of beverage consultancy Cuffs & Buttons, told us, “It’s quite lovely to sip on.” Michael McCaulley, wine director and partner of Philadelphia’s Tria bar-cafe, said, “It’s toastier, it’s bready, it’s complex, it’s awesome with luscious cheese.” It’s also widely available across the US, including at online shops such as Astor Wines & Spirits.
Again and again, our sources listed Gruet Brut as one of their favorites, even without our mentioning it. Just to make sure, we pitted it against the Wine Enthusiast–approved Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut, which pops up on top sparkler lists, as well as against the similarly well-received Segura Viudas Aria Brut Cava, yet in taste tests the Gruet was the clear favorite.—NG
Our utensils pick
Sturdy, disposable cutlery is hard to find, but Kirkland’s plastic stuff fills the bill and won’t break on you.
In our tine-to-tine face-off of three plastic utensil sets, the clear winner was Kirkland Signature Crystal Clear Cutlery. These utensils won’t break on you mid-meal unless you’re dining with the Hulk, and they come in a huge quantity for cheap, so one box (which can be even cheaper in-store at Costco) should last you through quite a few dinner parties, bake-offs, and picnics. The 360-piece set comes in real-world proportions of 180 forks, 120 spoons, and 60 knives.
Our slow cooker pick
With a slow cooker you can put a roast with mouthwatering, braised flavor on the table without spending all day tending to it. Plus, preparing your main dish in an independent appliance can help free up valuable oven and stove space.
We considered many slow-cooker models across the budget range and couldn’t find the perfect one—most of them run too hot. After 5hours of research and testing, we decided that our pick is the slightly fancier but still affordable Hamilton Beach 6-quart Programmable Set & Forget, which is large enough to hold a 4-pound brisket. The built-in meat probe seems gimmicky, but slow-cooker expert Phyllis Pellman Good told us that it’s a useful feature. Keep in mind, though, that the short probe may not be long enough to reach into the front cut of every brisket.
If your brisket has gone eight hours and hasn’t reached optimal melt-in-your-mouth texture, keep cooking it on low for a few more hours. The writer behind Smitten Kitchen, a big fan of slow-cooker brisket, lets hers go for 10.
Is a roast too formal or hearty for your soirée? Slow cookers set on low are also the perfect serving vehicle for hors d’oeuvres like glazed meatballs, crowd-pleasing dips, mulled wine, and even decadent desserts. —Camille Chatterjee
Ready-made puff pastry offers an easy and sophisticated option for entertaining. It’s a great staple to keep on hand for making fancy-looking desserts, special entrées like beef Wellington, and even breakfast pastries. Using puff pastry is also one of the best ways to make tasty, impressive-looking appetizers with the bare minimum of effort.
Most people don’t want to make puff pastry from scratch, as it’s a labor-intensive process. The store-bought variety can be a real time-saver, especially when you’re prepping for a gathering, and we found Trader Joe’s Puff Pastry Dough to be the best you can buy.
As the name suggests, puff pastry puffs up as it bakes. The resulting pastry should have an airy, flaky texture. The flavor should be buttery and have a melt-in-your-mouth quality. Good ready-made puff pastry should be relatively easy to work with. Ready-made puff pastry dough usually comes in a sheet; it should roll out smoothly, without cracking where it was folded in the package. The dough should feel slightly moist but not wet, and no sections of the dough sheet should be dry or suffering the effects of freezer burn.
Generally you can find premade puff pastry dough in the freezer section of a grocery store, near the pie crust and phyllo dough. After testing Trader Joe’s dough against the high-end Dufour Classic Puff Pastry and the commonly available Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets, we found the Trader Joe’s brand to offer the best taste and the best value.
TJ’s puff pastry comes thinly rolled in parchment, which makes it easy to unroll and work with immediately. Although we like that the Dufour Classic dough is made with butter (which we could particularly taste in our apple tart), we also tasted the butter in the Trader Joe’s brand (which is created with a combination of butter and non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening made from palm oil). And at about a fourth of the price of the Dufour dough, Trader Joe’s puff pastry is a steal. It’s available only during the holidays, so if you like it, stock up; it should keep in a steady freezer for about six months. Otherwise, Dufour’s puff pastry is our offseason pick. —CCC
A toaster oven is a must for parties: It frees up oven space and heats up canapés without heating up your whole kitchen (which is good if you have a lot of people congregated in your kitchen). For our best toaster oven guide, we spent over 5hours on research and went through stacks and stacks of toasted white bread, mini pizza bagels, and cookies. Our main pick is the Panasonic FlashXpress, which is smaller than most competitors and cheaper, too. For a party, however, we’d recommend a larger toaster that can function as an auxiliary oven, the Cuisinart TOB-260NChef’s Convection Toaster Oven. —Raphael Brion
For large parties, Husky’s bags will hold a lot of the garbage and recycling that piles up at the end of the night, and they’re extra-thick to ward off punctures.
Our pick for the best kitchen trash bag is the Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bag, which works fine for a smaller dinner party. But as anyone who has had to clean up after an excellent party knows, a tremendous amount of garbage and recycling can pile up—especially if you’re using disposable flatware. For these situations, you’ll want a contractor bag.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Bowl Candleholders wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Bowl Candleholders
- №1 — AWEVILIA Handmade Red Orange Mosaic Glass Bowl Candle Holders Votive Tealight Candleholders Home Decor Christmas Party
- №2 — AWEVILIA Pink Mosaic Floral Glass Bowl Candle Holders Votive Tealight Candleholders Home Decor Christmas Party
- №3 — VINCIGANT Decorative Silver Crystal Clear Display Vases / Bowl Candleholders for Thanksgiving Home Holiday Decoration Wedding Coffee Table Decorative Centerpiece ,8 inch Diameter