How can I use scent to enhance the mood in my home?
If a picture paints a thousand words, a smell could fill a library. Smell is one of our most powerful senses, and the scents we experience on a daily basis have a significant impact on our how we function, feel and remember things.
A lovely smelling home can make us feel pampered and invigorated. It can also lift a heavy load at the end of a long day, lull you into a blissful sleep or make you feel more productive and focused when trying to concentrate.
The first thing to consider is the type of mood you want to create in any particular room or space. The beauty of using scents in the home is their flexibility. You can change them depending on how you feel, if you are having guests around and to suit your decorating scheme or even the season (e.g. for some families, a spicy nutmeg or cinnamon aroma is evocative of the end-of-year holidays).
Think about the mood you're going for, rather than the room itself. If you want your bedroom to feel like a calm sanctuary, scents like lavender, chamomile and ylang ylang are known for their relaxing properties. Citruses - such as orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit - are wonderful all-purpose aromas that enliven and invigorate most settings. Traditional kitchen herbs and spices - like rosemary, sage and basil - also have soothing qualities. Some people enjoy the smell of coffee and chocolate but you'd be wise not to use anything associated with cooking in the bathroom or toilet because the mix just isn't quite right.
No matter what scents you select, remember that smell should act as an accessory, not the star. If a scent is too strong, it will overpower your room. Keep your scents subtle - think of them as an underscore to the main scene of your decor.
Once you've thought about your scent choices, you need to consider how you'll house and then disperse them throughout the home.
Scented candles are one of the most popular ways to perfume a space.
Candles are best positioned on sturdy and heat-resistant surfaces, away from flammable materials such as curtains that can move in a breeze. They will work in almost any room but are particularly well-suited to lounge rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms. But never leave unattended! Candles are a common cause of house-fires.
We get used to smells quite quickly so use different aromas in different rooms to keep the senses stimulated and keep the scents making an impression.
Candles also need oxygen to do their job, which means they work best in medium to larger spaces. If your room is smaller or enclosed, you may want to try a diffuser instead. As part of your fire safety, if you have little ones or pets, you should be mindful of minimising open flames. Using candle holders offers extra protection and a way to create a stylish accent.
Essential (not synthetic) oils can be used around the home to create more than just an appealing aroma - they also have a therapeutic effect. Use fragrance diffusers to distribute essential oil scents around the room and help the fragrance disperse evenly over time, making sure it is balanced and not overpowering.
You can use different types of diffusers - reeds, oil burners, ceramic diffusers and plug-in diffusers - depending on the style of the room and your personal tastes. Available in a variety of stylish colours, patterns and materials that make them a fashionable feature in their own right, diffusers are an effective way to bring scent into a space, and refills make them economical too.
As well as putting scents on display throughout the home, you can use fragrance in tucked-away storage areas - like drawers, wardrobes and cupboards - to create beautiful aromas and banish unpleasant ones.
Scented drawer liners and sachets are ideal for stowing in cabinets and drawers in your bedroom, guest room, kitchen and bathroom. They help keep the contents fresh, and enhance the mood of the entire room.
Potpourri is another way to let appealing scents release over time. If you want to curate your own scent, you can use loose materials like lavender to create your own sachets to freshen up storage areas.
A beautiful and stylish vase on a table or dresser can visually brighten up a room, and a bouquet of flowers elevates it to the next level. Scientific research has shown, just like essential oils and other scents, the smell of fresh flowers helps boost mood and alleviate stress. With so many gorgeous looking and smelling flowers to choose from, you can mix and match vases, floral arrangements and smells to your heart's content.
Scent really is perfect for enlivening and enhancing the mood in your home. It's a deeply personal way to create spaces that are truly yours and help you be your best self. Whether you use them to stay focused in a work room, help the kids get to sleep or indulge in some 'me-time', scents are a powerful, all too often overlooked feature of the modern home.