There’s nothing like opening the front door or waking up in the morning to be greeted by a wonderful wafting scent. Scents can invigorate, relax, jog your memories, and tap into nostalgia. You can rotate them according to the mood you’re in, the mood you want to be in, the season, time of day, or even the atmosphere or tone you wish to create.
With the growing popularity of diffusers and essential oils, there are so many accessible and affordable ways to add scent. Let’s look at a few different ways to fill your home with pleasant aromas.
Traditional essential oil burner
Essential oil burners had a long reputation of being hippie or teen accessories, but that stereotype is no more. They’re small and come in so many cute shapes and materials, from terracotta to marble. Just place a tealight candle in the bottom and some of your favorite essential oils in the top burner. It will slowly release scent as the candle burns, filling the room. The quiet glow of the candle is very relaxing too. Essential oil burners are best used for single rooms.
Companies like Saje and other wellness brands have popularized and perfected diffusers, also called “misters”. They are a more deluxe version of the essential oil burner and can filter scent through multiple rooms, with more strength and in a steady stream. You’ve likely seen them at your yoga studio or spa. They work very simply; just plug it in, open up the bowl, and fill with water and your choice of essential oil(s). A puff of mist will blow out constantly through the top spout, releasing and diffusing the scent. With so many styles to choose from, you can find one to match nearly any decorating style to suit your space.
Of course scented candles require no explanation, but what about your curation of scent? Sometimes we get stuck in a loop of the classics (like vanilla or pumpkin spice) or whichever candles are on sale. Why not curate your scents to pair with your mood, the theme of a gathering or the season? When I’m having a stressful day, I like to light a lavender or chamomile candle to relax and unwind. It’s mellow and pleasant, and will not excite or interfere with my thoughts. When I’m entertaining, I go for one of my more niche candles, such as tobacco and vanilla. It’s one of those fragrance combinations that smells so wonderful, but you can’t really pin down what it is. It can even be a conversation starter. During the holidays, I use a large 3-wick candle in a cozy scent like pine or apple cider. Scented candles are so popular that you can find a fragrance for nearly every occasion in gorgeous containers made from glass, concrete, or other stylish materials, at every price point.
Room sprays are ideal for a quick cover up or refresh. Think beyond Febreeze; many bath and home stores carry unique room sprays that have more natural fresh scents. Keep a bottle of room spray in your kitchen and washroom, and give a quick spray here and there to mask odors and refresh the space. Light, bright, and neutral scents work best for this, like lemon or cotton.
Your grandmother probably had these, and she was on to something. Scent packets are basically potpourri in a paper bag, designed to be placed in your drawers and closets to keep clothing and linens smelling fresh. Now there are so many scent variations available. While they still tend to be floral, they are certainly less pungent than those of generations past. Lavender is a common and more modern floral to try. Scent packets will run you about $2-$5 per packet, and will stay fresh in your drawers for months on end. You’ll never have to suffer a stale closet again.
Not only functional for cooking and decor, herbs smell incredible and can aromatize your kitchen space. Basil, mint, rosemary and lavender are especially strong smelling herbs. Give them a tousle and tear some leaves off to release the scent.
Cleaners made from natural essential oils and astringents can freshen your kitchen beyond just cleaning; they can leave behind a lightly perfumed scent. They’re less harsh than chemical cleaners and don’t smell sterile.
Baking bread or cookies
This is a classic trick that everyone associates with having an open house, as baking cookies smell nostalgic and homey. But baking bread or cookies can make your home smell warm and comforting any time, and you get to indulge in some delicious carbs at the end of it. If you’re entertaining, leave a tray of cookies to bake until right before your guests arrive for best effect.
What are some tips you use to make your space smell amazing?
Freelance writer and photographer living in Toronto. She is the author and photographer of two cookbooks, Everyone’s Welcome (2019) and Allergen-Free Desserts (2015).