Decorating: use your nose
One of my childhood friend’s homes really stands out in my memory – it always smelled wonderfully. I loved walking through their door and discovering what aroma I’d be treated to. That delicious bread-and-cookie smell stands out the strongest (being a kid, after all), but I also remember the sweet smell of flowers, fruit, and pine year-round.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
Turns out her mom always had candles burning. When I discovered that as an adult, I’ve made a point to have lit aromatic candles at home whenever I can.
There’s something welcoming, relaxiing, and stress-relieving to have a delicious smell wafting through your home. It feels cleaner, it draws guests through the front door with a sense of belonging, and in general, it says “this is a home, and not just a house.”
Some thoughts on effective smelly tools:
• Don’t waste your money on candles that smell only a little bit. To me, their scent is weak and waxy, and it dissipates after a few minutes anyway. Since I advocate simplicity and minimalism, having weak candles just clutters up your living and visual space, in my opinion. They’re not useful.
• If you can’t afford stronger-smelling candles, just go with unscented. Then buy some essential oil and sprinkle a few drops on the top of the candle. An essential oil‘s scent is much stronger, and its aroma is more realistic because, well, essential oils are made of natural ingredients.
• But if you can, go for a few strong-smelling candles that have a long burn life. I adore Tyler candles – some of their scents I like right now are Paris, Indulge, Kaffe, and Snickerdoodle. There are also a lot of Etsy shops that sell homemade candles, and since I have a soft spot for both mom-owned businesses and fellow Etsy store owners, I wanted to mention a few. Check out etsy shops here, here, and here.
• I’m a big fan of incense, and I currently use it all the time, since effectively-scented candles are extremely hard to find where I live. Use a simple incense holder, or you can easily make your own. Etsy has some great stuff for sale like this chocolate orange stuff (one of my favorite scents).
• I’ve never had much luck with potpourri, but I know some people love having it around. Like with candles, I wouldn’t bother with the barely-smelling stuff. I’d spend a little bit more on stuff that really works. You can also use dried lavender to really pack some aromatic punch.
• Don’t forget how wonderful food baking in the oven smells! Bread, cookies, muffins – they’re all winners. Even savory cooking with spices like fresh basil easily waft through the house and smell wonderful.
• I haven’t tried this, but I’ve read that having a pot of apple juice with sliced oranges, cinnamon sticks, and cloves boiling on the stove provides instant aromatherapy.
• I drink coffee like it’s going out of style, so it’s brewing every morning. It’s one of my favorite morning smells.
A few of my guidelines for scenting my home:
• Don’t conflict aromas. You cancel out a candle’s effectiveness when you have lavender, chocolate, and cider-smelling candles burning at once.
Photo by Othon Leon
• That said, be bold and mix scents that possibly make sense. I think orange goes with almost everything, like cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, and even pine.
• Go with the seasons. Citrus and flowery scents make sense in the spring and summer, and earthy, spicy, and warmer scents are great in the fall and winter. I adore holiday scents, so I try to go big here.
• Go unscented during dinnertime. If you have candles lit at your dinner table, make sure they’re unscented. You want the meal to be the showcase, and chicken curry just doesn’t work well with a gardenia-scented candle.
• Have smells going all the time! Don’t wait just for guests to arrive. Enjoy beautiful scents even when it’s just you and the kids. It’s relaxing and enjoyable for you, and you’ll appreciate being home more.
And unbeknownst to them, your kids might have fond memories of a warmly-scented home during their childhood. I’d love to be known as having a home that always smelled great.
What about you? Do you like scented candles? What are your favorites? Do you use anything else to create aromas in your home?
Essential oil photo by mollycakes
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