Home altars are all about you and what you want on your altar. Ignore the books, the gurus, the woman down the street, and anyone else you want to on this subject. It is your altar and it should make you feel good inside and connected to the divine. Altars can be simple, elaborate, formal or informal. Do what feel right for you at this time.
One altar held my TV while not in use. Another place I lived had a fireplace that I never used (terrified that the chimney was clogged) but it made for a great altar. Hearth and home, it was so far my favorite and most formal altar. It had candles for the Goddess and the God, along with a petitioner candle, incense burner and room for plants and other stuff that I used.
At the moment I am very informal I have a Virgin of Guadalupe candle I use, some crystals and a twig wreath I made. It is simple to the point and easy to set up and take down on my desk. The sacred and mundane need to hang out more it’s good for them.
The point is do what you want to do.
Keep things simple so you don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of stuff,
unless you want to.
I suggest a white candle, something to symbolize the divine.
Symbols I have used are pine cones, acorns, leaves, apples, pomegranates, flowers, tarot or oracle cards, sculpture, that’s all I can think of at the moment.
Crystal Grids are one of my favorite things right now.
Incense or some form of spray.
Anything that feels right.
There are those who do not like the smokeless stuff and say since it doesn’t have smoke it is not as potent. Maybe they are right but if that smoke is going to give you an asthma attack or impact you or someone in your home. It is not worth it, use your intent. You can have all the smokey incense you want but if there is no intent behind it, it is just nice smelling smoke.
All this stuff is just something to turn the key in your mind and unlock your box of sacred in your head. None of this is necessary truth be told all you need is you. But using and doing you create a pattern in your brain, a memory that will trigger you into your connection eventually just by thinking about it. The Ego loves ritual and will get caught up in it so you can hear something else.