• Caroline Caron Dhaouadi

How to create a signature scent for your home

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

The scent of a space is arguably just as important as the visual decor. It helps bring together the multiple design elements in the room to create an overall, sensual experience.

Smell is also the sense most closely linked to memory. It helps us recall specific moments in time and is an essential part of the memories we make, our moods, and emotions. Without our sense of smell, it’s easier for our memories to fade.

Your home being the background for so many special memories, when you intentionally create a signature scent, it helps cement those particular moments in the mind of everyone.

Even without a signature scent, fragrance is still an amazing accessory. It adds depth and character and allows you to give each space in your home a different feel.

Home Fragrance - Homefulness
Source: The White Company

Whether you want a signature scent or just a nice smell in your house, below are our top tips to accessorise your home with fragrance.

1. Finding a signature scent for your home

Choosing a scent that you love and that you feel would suit your home can be the first step for making your home smell amazing.

Ultimately, the scent your choose should complement the existing smells in the house, rather than contrast them which could be overwhelming and even unpleasant. Also think about how you want your home to feel, whether it’s relaxing, energising, stimulating, cosy…etc. That way, you can start to look at scent palettes to achieve this atmosphere. For example, if you want it to be cosy and inviting, scents like vanilla and cinnamon are great. If you prefer something brighter, fresher and more energising, opt for citrus fruits, cut grass, fresh linen or bright fruits.

2. Neutralise existing odours

Before introducing any specific smell, you should start with a clean palette by neutralising unwanted scents.

Firstly, giving your home a good clean and airing it out will provide the perfect foundation. Eliminating clutter as well as dirt can be a great way to avoid those more unpleasant smells from lingering, and a good clean will give your home that freshly clean smell which is the ideal starting point to build on. Opening windows and doors to let in fresh air is a good idea too, especially for bathroom odours.

The cleaning products you use should also be taken into consideration. Look at more organic alternatives which are often much more natural in terms of scents as well as ingredients.

Natural cleaner - Homefulness
Source: Hearth & Vine

Here are a few tips to get rid of strong odours:

  • Skip using cleaners with strong smells to avoid bringing in sterilising scents

  • Keep a bowl of white vinegar on the counter while cooking foods with strong smells to make sure odours are neutralised while cooking.

  • Spray white vinegar onto carpets and rugs to easily neutralise any smells your furry friends bring into your home.

3. Work With What You Have

This is an important part of determining a signature scent for your home because the naturally-occurring fragrances will play a role in the final aroma and you want to make sure they blend well.

Once all strong odours have been neutralised, take a few moments to consider the smells your home naturally gives off. Does your leather furniture have a soothing, rustic smell? Do you have a collection of plants or flowers that have a fresh or floral scent?

4. Determine Your Scent

Now that you have an idea of the naturally-occurring aromas in your home, it’s time to think about the atmosphere you want to create. Think about the aesthetic in your home and go from there to determine a scent to match.

Rich scents like vanilla, smoked wood, and amber definitely match the design of a brown living room that includes wood or leather.

A scent laced with cinnamon or maple would be a perfect complement to a bold design.

A crisp, clean scent goes hand-in-hand with the neutral colour palette of a room. Something with light floral notes would also work.

If a room has touches of yellow or orange in its colour palette. It might call for a fresh citrus scent.

You can also look at the notes in your favourite fragrances, and scents that appear in products like your body lotions, shower gels and laundry products for clues to your subconscious preferences.

Like the design of your home, a signature scent is very personal. There’s no right or wrong fragrance. Just remember to neutralise the space before you try to determine any scents. Use the design style and atmosphere to think about what kind of smells you associate with that. As long as you love the scent, that’s all that matters!

5. Incorporating your chosen scent into your home

Now that you've worked out that you're totally into vanilla and not so down with fruity notes (or the exact opposite !), the key to creating a homey vibe is through artful scent layering using varied delivery systems, such as sprays, candles and reed diffusers, all at the same time. These scents can then be dialled in and out to create different effects.

Here are some great ways to help your house smell incredible.

  • Using scented candles Scented candles are really popular and can be a really nice way to give your home a nice new smell as well as creating a cosy atmosphere and providing a gentle light source. Always light your candles half an hour before guests arrive, giving the fragrance time to warm up.

  • Oil and candle burners You can select your favourite essential oil and burn it in a burner which will give off a surprisingly strong and pretty scent.

  • Reed diffusers Diffusers are rapidly growing in popularity and they now come in a lot of different styles and scents. They’re perfect for changing the smell of smaller spaces, so are ideal if you’d like different scents in different rooms.

  • The boiling water method This is really simple and really effective, and you can do it with things you may already have in your home. Boil a small pot of water on your hob and keep on a low heat. Then add your favourite scented items, such as cinnamon sticks, vanilla pots, cloves, coffee beans or orange peels.

Candles - Homefulness
Source: Nordic House

6. If you want different fragrances in different rooms

Think of it like music. In a living room, you’d usually want soft background music. A subtle floral is the scent equivalent to that. But for a party where you’d turn on lively music, you’d want a happy, social fragrance that gets noticed.

For the kitchen, something that’s a little bit mouth-watering—apple, fresh pear, or thyme—works well. Avoid florals here. They’ll get in the way of food aromas.

For the bathroom, juicy grapefruit, crisp linen, or the candle version of your favourite perfume.

In the bedroom, orange flower and lavender promote relaxation. You can put fresh lavender buds in a pretty dish—just not by your head. The scent would be too strong.

7. Other tricks to make your house smell great

As well as incorporating your favourite scent into your home, there are other things you can do to improve the fragrance of your house.

  • Baking There’s arguably no better smell than that of freshly baked bread, cakes or cookies, so take to the kitchen and get baking for a scent that will gently waft through your home. But you can also get oven-fresh smells without baking: pour a teaspoon or two of ground cinnamon and cloves on a baking sheet. Leave it inside a 100°C oven for half an hour, keeping the door ajar. You’ll fill your home with a lovely spicy scent.

  • Fresh coffee Fresh coffee is always a welcoming and inviting smell, but take it up a notch with this trick. Fill a small mug with coffee beans, then make a small dip in the beans and place a vanilla scented tea light in it. When you light the tea light, it will smell like infused coffee and vanilla which will be amazing.

Fresh flowers - Homefulness
Source: The White Company
  • Freshly cut flowers The ultimate fresh smell is fresh flowers, so choose your favourites and display them in each room.

  • Fridge fragrance Baking soda can neutralise fridge odours, but here’s another trick: dampen a cotton ball with vanilla extract and leave it on a refrigerator shelf to add a pleasantly sweet fragrance. You could also try dabbing lemon juice on the cotton ball instead.

  • Try a stovetop fragrance You can make your own home fragrance without shelling out for expensive candles or diffusers. Add several lemon and orange peels to a cup or two of water, then let it simmer for a few hours, adding water as needed. You’ll freshen the air and the pot in one step.

  • Take an extra-luxurious shower Tie a few eucalyptus branches together, then hang them on your shower-head, behind the stream of water. Your steamy shower will release the aromatic oils, giving you an invigorating wash time. The scent will stay fresh for about a week.

As always, never forget that clutter will always be in the way of having an amazing home. Before incorporating candles and diffusers, it’s always better to make sure that everything is properly organise. There also, Homefulness can help you.