How To: Decorate Your Home with Scents



I don’t know about you, but the first thing that I notice when I walk into a place is how it smells—perhaps it’s my animal instincts front and center. Because our sense of smell provides such an overwhelming amount of information to our brain, it has a great role in transforming a home into a truly welcoming environment.

SCENT STRATEGY. Certain stores such as Anthropologie or hotel brands like the Westin really have it down when they add fragrances to their spaces—which evokes a specific feeling. In your home, begin your scent strategy with your favorite scents. Think about the flavors of your own perfume or the flowers in your own garden.

BALANCE. You don’t want to evoke the sense of a flower shop—too much is overwhelming. Instead, the goal is to make a space seem special with a specific smell about it. Balancing diffusers and candles with fresh flowers is a great technique. When it comes to layering scents, think of pairing something soft with something hard. For example: Rose wood paired with a grassy scent.

CHOOSING. As mentioned above, begin with the smells that you love. However, also consider the time of year and the season. Sandalwood with sage aroma is great in cooler months while sweet pea is an uplifting and very appropriate smell in warmer ones.

THE RIGHT TYPE FOR THE RIGHT PLACE. Candles, incense, sprays, diffusers, plug-ins—which ones do you choose? In a powder room, I recommend a diffuser which eliminates having a candle lit all the time. I will, however, light a candle in my guest bathroom to add some ambiance if I know this is the go-to restroom during a party. I also like to light scented candles in an area where I know my guests will be congregating. Spraying throw pillows is a subtle way to infuse your scents along with towels in a bath or curtains in any room.

CARE. The fragrance life of a candle should be anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Store your “special occasion” candles in the boxes they came in to prevent them from getting dusty. For candles in jars, keep their lids on while not in use. When candle wicks get dusty, they become difficult to light.

YOUR SCENT. Now that your home is filled with beautiful fragrances and your guests are about to arrive, it is time to put on your perfume. Choose one that complements the scents that you have chosen for your room.

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