People who know me well know I have a very sharp sense of smell. As such, I have strong associations between smells and memories. A whiff of a perfume or the scent of a cake baking not only reminds me of particular people or locations, but very particular and detailed memories—some lasting an extended period of time.
But it doesn’t take a weirdo like me for scents to be important. Indeed, most people will remember if you’re “that friend” who has a house which always smell like dog or mildewy towels.
If you’re looking to ensure you and your guests have a pleasant experience every time they walk through your door, read on to find out how to make your home smell good forever—seriously!
Firstly, be aware of things which people find smelly.
These usually emanate from the kitchen, but not always. There are a few classic culprits we all know about—red meat, seafood which isn’t fresh, burnt toast, certain spices, rockmelon which is going off—but also remember that used kitty litter, dirty clothes, and unwashed humans can be super pongy too.
You don’t have to eliminate all of these scents—indeed, if we eliminated everything from our diets which has been “proven” to make rooms (or people) smell bad, no-one would have anything to eat! But it’s important to be aware of these scents and be ready to respond quickly should you get a whiff of them in your home.
Secondly, don’t forget the power of fresh air.
There’s nothing like a strong breeze to clear a room of scents, pleasant or otherwise. You might even bring in a lovely smell from the great outdoors, like the first blooms of spring or petrichor. Indeed, I’ve heard a fancy-pants interior design lecturer talk a lot about the importance of a scented garden for a nice-smelling home—all it takes is to position pots of flowering plants like gardenias outside your doors and windows.
In lieu of fresh air—for example, if you live close to livestock, in the middle of a capital city, or if your country is on fire for four months—try a high-quality air purifier to clear your space, or at least a scent-neutralising candle. It’s more work, but it’s better than fish or cigarette smoke.
Thirdly, make sure you know your scent associations.
Some scents are directly associated with personalities: for example, fruity scents with fruity people, and sweet scents for sweet people.
Others have been associated with gender. Woods, tobacco, and strong spices, for example, are associated with masculinity. Florals, textiles, and many finer food fragrances are associated with femininity.
Others still don’t have a strong association at all and work well for many kinds of people. Fresh and earthy scents, like campfire and the sea breeze, are the most common of this type.
But these are just presumptions. Whether you buy into any of it is up to you, but you should be aware that at least some of your guests might. Some manly men may feel offended if their man cave smells like roses and geraniums!
Fourthly, start early and let the scent develop.
Start at least half an hour before visitors arrive, if not an hour. This will give time for the ‘throw’ of a candle to develop and fill all the nooks and crannies of your home.
If you want to make the process as fast as possible, close all windows and doors to the outside. Use draught excluders if necessary. If your guests will only be using certain parts of the house—your living and dining areas, for example—consider closing the doors to your other rooms to help keep the fragrance to one room.
If you’ve left it late, you could try burning multiple candles. However, the risk carried by this method is that your room will become incredibly heady and possibly downright unpleasant to inhabit. The better option, we think, is to go for a matching or complementary room spray. This will quickly scent a small area without making it pungent—just make sure you use it sparingly!
Fifthly, think beyond the candle.
Candles are great—as are oil burners, which are functionally similar. But if you want a home which smells good forever then you’ll need to use them in conjunction with other products.
The first product you should look at is the reed diffuser. These are subtler than candles but they last a lot longer. There’s also no way of “turning them off”, at least not without tampering with the effectiveness of the diffuser. But this means the diffuser is releasing fragrance constantly, which is perfect if you always want your home to have a lovely scent.
You can also create a similar effect with scented décor. We sell some by Angel Aromatics, like this gorgeous set with balsa wood balls. You can refresh the fragrance with essential oils or home sprays, or you can let the fragrance fade and keep the balls as interesting bits of décor.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a quick refresh—or you suddenly need to prepare for guests you weren’t expecting—a room spray is the perfect option.
But then there’s the best option of them all: cooking. Any cooking will do. Remember: if you’re cooking for your guests, you don’t need a scent going at the same time. So don’t be afraid to blow out your candle once you start baking! You’ll just leave your guests hungry and happy.
Finally, don’t be afraid to mix scents to creative something more distinctive.
Jessica Matlin at Cosmopolitan suggests that the best way to create a distinctive home fragrance is to combine masculine and feminine scents. You could also mix scents of different characters, like sweet and spicy, citrusy and woody, and so on. Or you could have scents of the same character which complement each other. It’s totally up to you.
There are practically endless scent combinations and a lot of different ways you can create a home fragrance, so don’t be afraid to be creative and make mistakes. Try having different candles in the same room, different candles in different rooms, diffusers in one area and candles in another, home sprays in one area and sweet-smelling décor in another, and so on. You could even add fresh flowers to the mix!
Oh, and when you have a favourite fragrance, don’t be tempted to use it in the toilet! It’ll totally spoil it for you. Trust me; I’ve had experience with this!
P.S. Something to remember: a house which smells good can make you money!
Layering fragrances in your home (using a combination of candles, reed diffusers, room sprays, etc) will not only help it smell lovely; it can even make you money!
If you run a business from your home, an office which is scented pleasantly and distinctively will help your clients take a liking to you and generate sales.
If you’re selling or leasing a property, it’s a simple matter of common sense that a nice-smelling home will be more appealing to potential buyers or tenants. It doesn’t even have to something “artificial” like a candle—baking bread and brewing coffee are quick and easy ways to make a house smell good. Plus, you get a reward at the end!