When a guest walks in your home, what do you think the first thing they notice is? Your lovely sideboard? The amazing foyer? The pristine hardwood flooring? Unfortunately, these details don't matter if your house smells like wet dog and moldy air. Smell is a very powerful sense, and it can override your other four senses if something foul wafts your way. How your home smells can leave a big impression, so your home's scent is just as important as its appearance. Plus, you have to live there.
If you're striving for a pleasant smell, you have a lot of choices. Some people prefer citrus scents, others go for incense and patchouli. Vanilla is believed to have a calming effect, and, in fact, market research companies have named vanilla as the most popular choice among air freshener consumers. Lavender is a wonderful floral scent to use, or if you prefer something a little more fresh, lemon or orange are great choices. Where you live may also have a bearing on your home's scent. Citrus can be associated with areas that get a lot of sun and breezy weather, or when we think of a cold-weather mountain cabin, earthier scents like pine come to mind.
In Victorian times, floriography, better known as the language of flowers, was used to express feelings of love for those who weren't gifted with the quill and scroll. The flowers were carefully picked, each one having a distinct message that it relayed to the recipient. A gerbera daisy meant cheer up, a sunflower stood for congratulations, and a lily said you're a dear friend. If you want to convey a message to your guests old-world style, you can find extensive lists of flowers and their meanings on the Internet. If you want to be a bit more creative, you can craft your own welcoming scent.
Plug It in and Light It Up
Once you've decided on what kind of scent you'd like for your home, you have a variety of ways you can go about delivering the smell goods. If you're into heavy-duty fresh and floral, there are a variety of strong air fresheners you can buy. Some are gelatinous discs hidden inside decorative plastic while others plug in to a wall outlet to heat up scented oils. You can also use candles scented with fragrance oils, sprays, oil diffusers or more pricey home air purifiers.
If you're into a more natural way to scent your home, there are all kinds of ways to go about this. The Earth mother in you may like to experiment with incense. It's a great way to fill a house with a specific scent, but some people prefer not to have any smoke in the house. All-natural essential oils are extracted from plants, and can get your home smelling great without using synthetic ingredients. Soy candles burn cleaner than petroleum-based paraffin wax and are often scented with essential oils. You can also mix any essential oil with water for an all-natural home spray.
The best way to let Mother Nature do her thing is to use flowers to bring scent into your home. You can buy floral arrangements or cut flowers from your local flower shop, or grow your own and incorporate your landscape's smells inside your house. Tying the scents that your property yields to your home's interior is not only harmonious -- it's also very Martha. Just clipping some magnolia or honeysuckle blooms for your kitchen or dining table is a great way to add natural scent. For an earthier ambiance, fresh pine needles, rosemary and cedar are all good choices. And if you like citrus in your kitchen, there's no better way to get it than to peel and eat a large orange or simply leave out some cut lemon or throw some citrus rinds in the garbage disposal to run it to get the scent circulating.
- Audet, Marye. "Forget the Toxins! Scent Your Home with Natural DIY Fragrance Stones." Discovery.com, October 7, 2009.http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/forget-toxins-scent-home.html
- Brown, Sara. "Love a Vanilla-Scented Home? You're Not Alone." Shelterpop.com, December 30, 2010.http://www.shelterpop.com/2010/12/30/vanilla-scent-home/
- Gardner, Amanda. "Long-term Exposure to Incense Raises Cancer Risk." Usnews.com, August 25, 2008.http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/cancer/articles/2008/08/25/long-term-exposure-to-incense-raises-cancer-risk
- Seuschek, Kara. "Useful Tips to Naturally Scent Your Home." Ecolutionist.com, January 25, 2011.http://ecolutionist.com/2011/01/25/useful-tips-to-naturally-scent-your-home/
- "What Your Favorite Floral Scent Says About You." Bellasugar.com, 2011. http://www.bellasugar.com/What-Your-Favorite-Flower-Scent-Says-About-Your-Personality-14922329