Design Lesson
May 23, 2014

The best home fragrances

By: Helen Racanelli

The best home fragrances Author: Style At Home

Design Lesson
May 23, 2014

The best home fragrances

By: Helen Racanelli

One of the best first impressions you can make on visitors is to introduce a charming, memorable fragrance into your home. And as a host, hearing that your foyer smells fantastic never gets old. If you’re new to introducing fragrance to your home, keep in mind you don’t want any smells that are too cloying or too artificial. On the other hand, you don’t want something so faint it has no impact. If you pick a good-quality home fragrance, you won’t have to worry about either of these situations. Today’s home fragrances, from reed diffusers to room sprays to candles have become much more sophisticated since the heyday of too-pungent air fresheners displayed in a flimsy plastic case or shot out of an aerosol can.

The best signature scent for your home, quite simply, is the fragrance you love the most when you smell it. Keep it simple. It should be love at first sniff. Because as worthwhile as it is to impress the senses of your guests and your family, home fragrance should make you happy whenever you step in the door and smell it. You don’t need anything too complicated to start out with. Stick with a straightforward, natural scent that you adore. We each have a spice or a flower or a fruit, or a woodsy scent we love for its intoxicating aroma or even because that smell evokes a cherished memory. Why not start out with one of those? Here’s a refresher of these most common home fragrance scents, and how to use them.

Fragrance: Florals
There’s a reason that the gift of fresh flowers is a tradition that has endured over the centuries. Once placed in a vase, the blooms are not only gorgeous, they perfume your home beautifully, memorably and entirely naturally. Though not all flowers are fragrant (notably tulips, daffodils and orchids don’t have much scent), consider the flowers that do. Rose, gardenia, lily of the valley, freesia and peony are instantly recognizable classics. Any of these floral fragrances will create a strong association for people who smell them in your home and tend to be the most memorable. If you use a peony or lilac scent in your bedroom, for instance, your kids are likely to always associate it with you. Aside from fresh flowers, a few drops of a top-quality home-fragrance oil is one of the most authentic ways to replicate floral smells in your home, which can be added to potpourri or a diffuser.

Where to use this home fragrance
Florals are timeless, traditional and highly memorable. They’re great for bedrooms and entryways.Fragrance: Spices
Thyme, cinnamon, lavender (often assumed to be a floral but is actually a part of the mint family), ginger, and vanilla evoke the warmth of baking. These spice-cupboard fragrances are often reminiscent of the winter months, especially cinnamon. And peppermint, in fact, has been associated with curbing overeating and boosting your mood. These spicy smells are a natural fit in the kitchen but are just as lovely for any room in the home. They are usually more suitable than florals for the dining room because they don’t clash with food smells. Candles tend to do a great job of replicating spicy smells like cinnamon and thyme. Reed diffusers are wonderful if you lean toward lavender, minty, and vanilla scents as they perfume the air with just the right amount of tingly scent.

Where to use this home fragrance
Spicy fragrances create a warm, cozy atmosphere and work well in the kitchen and dining room.

Fragrance: Citrus

Citrus fruit fragrances, like lemon, orange, bergamot and grapefruit have one thing in common: they are energizing and crisp. (It’s not a coincidence that lemon is a typical scent for household cleansers and detergents; it smells clean and fresh). A citrus aroma is sunny and bright, it’s ideal for lifting up your mood and reminding you of a subtropical or Mediterranean vacation. The smell of orange, for instance, has been shown in a study to reduce stress. Citrus is also ideal for entertaining in the morning and early afternoon when it’s a little too early for heavy floras or heady spices. Room sprays, the kind you spritz like a perfume, tend to smell fantastic and zingy in citrus notes.

Where to use this home fragrance
Citrus aromas are fresh, clean and sunny. Use them anywhere in the home when you want to add an energizing mood and reduce stress.

Fragrance: Woodsy
Sandalwood, oud (also known as agarwood), cedar and pine are age-old, ever-popular scents for the home. Cedar wood has long been prized for its clean, outdoorsy fragrance, durability and moth-repelling qualities, and pine reminds us of Christmas trees and the holiday season, but also of camping and mid-summer. Sandalwood and oud are dark, mysterious and exotic. All of these resinous, woodsy scents are earthy, intricate and sensual and they can be used to create an inviting ambience in your home. Incense is an ancient way of bringing smells of a woodsy garden into the home, but candles are a more modern way to introduce these scents. They perfume the air intensely when lit, and gently when they are not.

Where to use this home fragrance
Woodsy home fragrances are earthy and can be used anywhere indoors or out, to set a mood that’s either clean and outdoorsy (pine, cedar) or exotic and sultry (sandalwood, oud).
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The best home fragrances