Can we talk scent? We put so much effort into making our homes look amazing, but sometimes forget about the other senses. For me good decorating is all about creating an environment that feels, sounds and yep smells as good as it looks. Scent is one of the most evocative of all the senses – it can instantly whisk you off somewhere else or trigger a wonderful memory. From roasting coffee or baking cakes to flowers and favourite perfumes. We don’t always notice it, but it will bring out a positive response in us and can make the biggest difference to how happy you feel in your home. Fragrance is really personal, so I prefer masculine, woody scents, but some people want sweet or musky or fresh and citrus or light and floral. I’m not going to tell you what your pad ought to smell like obviously, but here are a few of my favourite ways to scent every area of the house (not forgetting my lavender floors tip from Monday!)…
These enliven a room and gently scent it even when they’re not lit. The most incredible ones I’ve discovered are by We Took to the Woods, which we’ve just started stocking in store. The scent is intoxicating, kind of woody and unlike anything I’ve smelt before! They’re wrapped in bark and such beautiful vessels that they’d even make the perfect little bud vase once the candle is done. These are particularly good for bathrooms, or living rooms if you’re hanging out there in the evening, when there’s nothing more enticing than beautiful flickering candlelight.
I have essential oils burning at my desk throughout the day. Aesop have the best essential oils, I’ve got their Isabelle burner blend burning as I type – imagine spearmint, rosemary, and sage all in one little pot. Heavenly. I’d say that essential oils are a must for a studio or home office. The best thing is that you can switch them up depending on your mood. There’s tons of research into the responses we have to different smells, for example:
- Rosemary The scent is a pick-me-up that’s stimulates you when you’re tired, like a fantastic smelling great wake-up call.
- Peppermint like a double shot of espresso – enlivening and motivating. Scientific studies have suggested that the scent even improves stamina and exam performance! Good for when you need to be clear-headed.
- Lemon and lemongrass invigorating and energizing. Promotes concentration.
- Lavender soothing and calming, but can also make you drowsy! Great for unwinding or going to sleep. Maybe not the best thing to kick off the working day!
- Jasmine Jasmine reduces nerves and is even used against depression.
- Eucalyptus – calming. Apparently the scent of eucalyptus actually makes you breathe deeper and relaxes you. It also encourages the imagination, so perhaps a good one for those uninspired days!
- Clove or cinnamon comforting and warming. Maybe because they’re so Christmassy?
People are a bit snobby about pot pouri but I absolutely love it. I’m obsessed with Santa Maria Novella which I’ve scattered everywhere in my pad. It’s particularly good in hallways and landings – they scent the air all the time so will welcome you with gorgeous fragrance as soon as you step through the door.
Flowers and herbs
These are brilliant for a more subtle fragrance in kitchens and dining rooms, where you don’t want a scent to overwhelm food. Plop something scented like stocks, sweetpeas, roses, herbs or foliage on to a dining table, and it will instantly make you happy.
There are some quick tricks to get rid of nasty smells too. I burn incense in the kitchen to disguise the M’s whiffy dog food. Armenian burning papers are also really cool – it’s wafer-thin scented paper, that you scrumple up and burn to immediately release scent – and hide any not-so-nice odours! And (ahem) Aesop have really cool “Post-poo drops” to use in the loo.
So there you have it – how to create a gorgeous scent in the whole house. Too often we think about how a space functions and forget about the emotional experience, but a space needs to appeal on many different levels. Now it will look, feel and smell amazing that second you walk through the door.