Wondering how to make your house smell good? Here are 8 tips
We’ve come a long way since resin. Candles, diffusers, sprays, plug-ins, and even hearth potion TikTok tutorials have helped make our homes easier on the nose. So what do you use and where? We’ve rounded up tips from expert perfumers and interior designers on landscaping or adding fragrance to your surroundings.
Whatever you choose, interior designer Jarad Gardemal of JF Gardemal Designs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, points out that it must be done on purpose. He says, “Just like an original, handpicked piece of art, the way your home smells is also a way to express your personal style and evoke certain feelings when you walk into a room.”
When it comes to making your home smell good, Chrissy Fichtl, founder of Brooklyn-based home fragrance company Apotheke, says the first step is finding a signature scent and knowing that’s your key ingredient. “Always have a little fun in season,” she says, adding that pine or cedar are favorites for the winter, while tomato tarragon is a favorite for the warmer months.
If you’re going to create a signature scent for your home, the entryway, whether it’s a foyer or a mudroom, is the place to do it. Guests will be greeted when they arrive and reminded of them when they go. As for the ship? “I think the Pura is great,” says Fichtl. “You can monitor scents from your phone and it’s also a night light.” A plug-in for the 21st century, the Pura Smart Fragrance Diffuser has a curated smartphone app. Users can load two different fragrances into the device at once and choose which fragrance they want to emit as well as the intensity of the emission — all remotely. Let the scent of fresh linen, a fireplace, or lemon greet you when you walk through the door.
Citrus is a universally agreed-upon scent for kitchens, not only for its edible affiliation but also because it is invigorating. “The image I go to when I think of a candle in the kitchen is that it’s a sunny day, the windows are open, and you’re cutting fruit,” says Carter Stout-Sachet, creative director at Paddywax, the candle company in Nashville. “It’s all about the story and the environment the fragrance creates.”
Paddywax makes candles so perfect for the kitchen, they’ll live on even after the wax has burned out. The Orange Blossom candle from the La Playa collection, for example, is meant to be repurposed as a margarita glass. Other utensils become guacamole bowls or sprouts vases.
Dual purpose is the name of the game at Safely, Kris Jenner and Emma Grede’s line of cleaning products packed with luxurious scents. The idea is that you can abolish candles altogether—simply wiping them down with the brand’s Universal Cleaner strips away the grease and leaves a lingering fresh scent. “Right before bed, I love doing a final kitchen cleanup with Calm Universal Cleaner and waking up in the morning to the scent still in the air,” says Grede.
to fight more, well, violent Aromatherapy Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray keeps the air fresh, even when opening a window isn’t possible. For general ambience, Fichtl says to go with a refreshing ozone scent like Apotheke’s Canvas, which comes in candle and diffuser form. She laughs, “It won’t actually clean your house, but it does have a psychological effect on cleanliness.”
Stout Sacchet agrees with the recommendation for Ozone, or Clean and Fresh Scents. It also recommends them in the form of a publisher. “You won’t really get the scent effect from a diffuser in a larger living room,” she says, “but it’s great for small, enclosed spaces.” It’s also much safer than a candle in rooms without constant monitoring.
“Bergamot, eucalyptus, white musk, florals, and rosemary are pleasantly energizing scents that are perfect for living rooms,” says interior designer Sheryl Neal of Houston’s Sheryl Design Studio.
Stout Sacchet agrees that florals are great for the living room and adds that this is the setting for more complex fragrances. “The kitchen and other rooms where you want that really fresh scent is where you’ll use single-note perfumes, citrus fragrances,” she says. “But many fragrances are crossing categories now, so you might have woody floral, sweet floral, or woody ozony, and here’s a space where that makes sense.”
If you’re going the new route with your florals, Pearlstine points out that most commercial cut flowers are odorless, so it’s best to plant fragrant bouquets in your garden. She says, “Spring bloomers include lilies, peonies, freesias, and some violets, while dianthus, stock, tuberose, and lavender provide scented blooms in summer.” And if you have a patio outside your living room, Pearlstine recommends placing potted plants—such as mini lemon trees, gardenias, or jasmines—near a door or window so the natural fragrance wafts into the room.
Safely’s newest addition to her line of sprays and soaps is an add-on dispenser that Grede says makes sense in the office. “Personally, I love my desktop Bright plug-in for an extra touch of uplift,” she says. “It evokes memories of summer with essences of citrus fruits grown locally in the United States.”
In terms of motivation, pretending you’re always on summer vacation or wherever but hiding in front of your laptop might be the best approach. Candle brand Homesick is a scent actually called the Home Office that doesn’t smell like stale coffee and a microwaved burrito. Instead, it’s inspired by water lilies and patchouli and aims to bring the outside in.
However, homesickness is most famous for state and city candles, so you can make your office smell like Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York City even if you work from a cabin in the woods.
And speaking of New York City, if you want to bring creativity to your workspace, Pura’s latest collection of fragrances is an ode to The Met. Choose from scents like Terracotta Rose, a nod to Greek artisans; Immortelle perfume, inspired by Roman marble statues; and Egyptian sandalwood for the museum’s ancient Egyptian art collection.
Just as citrus is a favorite scent in the kitchen, lavender is the overwhelmingly agreed-upon scent in the bedroom. And for good reason. “Lavender essential oil has been shown to reduce stress and aid relaxation,” says Pearlstein. She recommends putting a few drops on your pillowcase to help you relax and fall asleep.
If fatigue is accompanied by overcrowding, Pearlstein switches to eucalyptus. “I’ll add a few drops of eucalyptus or pine essential oil to a few cotton balls in a pretty bowl instead of using a diffuser,” she says.
Gardemal suggests a blend of lavender and lemon for relaxation (he’s a fan of the Nouvelle Candle Company), and Neil notes that watermelon can achieve a calming effect. Meanwhile, Safely has a scent that’s literally called Calm and comes in plug-in form. “It really evokes a sense of calm,” says Greedy, who uses it in her bedroom.
But because the bedrooms are not Just About relaxation, Fichtl recommends the charcoal scent. “It’s manly, it’s smoky, it’s moody…. It has a cologne-like scent,” she says.
“I don’t keep candles or diffusers in my kids’ rooms, mainly because I don’t trust them,” says Fichtel. Incidents aside, adding fragrance is generally not recommended for young children, especially babies. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, “their lungs are still developing and exposure to aerosol irritants will provide no benefit.” Plus Fichtl says, “Your baby’s scent is enough.”
But if your sweet baby smell is completely overwhelmed by the smell of dirty diapers, there is a solution. Arm & Hammer Stay Fresh deodorants are filled with baking soda to neutralize odors. Fresh pucks can be placed in diaper pails, baskets, or near changing tables.
Are you Need To freshen up the space where you store your car, lawn mower, and old catcher’s gloves? not necessarily. But if you also have trash cans in there, it wouldn’t hurt. If you come and go through your garage, this might be where you put your Pura filled with their signature scent. Or, as Fichtl suggests, this could be where you get really creative with candles that smell like burgers and fries. Apotheke’s pair of Shake Shack-inspired fragrances has top notes of green grass and sea salt as well. “If you’re having a barbecue and really want to make a statement, I’d burn a Shake Shack candle outside,” she says. “Why not?!”