'Family' of candlesticks more dynamic than a pair

Assorted clusters of candles can be far more interesting and dynamic than pairs of candlesticks, or candlesticks lined up stiffly like soldiers in a row. So dig out your own particular assortment and cluster them on a table, buffet, entrance hall table, or fireplace mantel to light up the festive evenings ahead.

In this photograph, it is a cluster of brass candlesticks of different shapes and sizes that becomes the holiday centerpiece on the shiny surface of this traditional mahogany table.

Many interior designers agree that there should be a ''family feeling'' among the candlesticks chosen for the cluster. Here, for instance, the brass candlesticks have a common feel and relationship. Glass or silver might happily mix with brass, if the same rather refined feeling were preserved.

On the other hand, a more informal and country-style cluster might include pewter, stoneware, pottery, wrought iron, and wood candlesticks. Again, they have a fellow feeling. One good way to meld a collection of different materials, sizes, and shapes is to use candles that are all of the same color family. One decorator says this trick makes compatible a personal collection that includes new and old brass and glass candlesticks.

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