Scentscaping: Unlock the Power of Scents for Your Home’s Mood

June 3, 2024



Hannah Haber

What do you usually imagine when you plan to decorate your home? You’re probably thinking of sprucing it up by painting the walls with your favorite color. Maybe add a new piece of furniture or explore a new style you’ve never tried before. All of these design ideas satisfy the eyes and feel inviting to touch. But have you ever thought about scentscaping? This design trend uses fragrance to create immersive indoor atmospheres beyond visual and tactile. 

What Is Scentscaping?

Scentscaping: Unlock the Power of Scents for Your Home’s Mood.

Scentscaping, also known as fragrance layering or fragrance zoning, goes beyond just making your home smell nice. It’s the art of using scent to create a desired mood and craft unique sensory experiences to improve your well-being. Think of it as the interior design for your nose. 

This is typically done by assigning particular scented candles, essential oil diffusers, or even fresh flowers in different areas. This creates a unique scent profile for each space, inducing a different sensation as you move through your home.

According to Commodity re-founder Vicken Arslanian, scentscaping began during the pandemic when people had no choice but to stay indoors. Spending too much time inside made it hard to compartmentalize personal time from work. And to set less stern boundaries, scents were used to dictate the time and zone for working and leisure alike. Punchy 

Given the continued popularity of a hybrid setup, this interior design trend is likely to remain prominent. And that’s a good thing! In fact, you might want to practice it permanently at home for its mental health benefits.

Scents for Improved Mental Health

Scentscaping: Unlock the Power of Scents for Your Home’s Mood.

As it lets each area carry a different fragrance, scentscaping establishes a more positive and balanced emotional atmosphere throughout your home. By simply moving from one area to another, you can feel a different emotion, which helps communicate our internal state. This can also result in an elevated mood since your space doesn’t allow you to get stuck in the same state of mind. 

Each scent also comes with different benefits. Punchy fruit-based scents like lemon and cherry let you stay awake during business hours. Lavender and chamomile have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Diffusing these scents in your workspace or living room can help you unwind after a long day and create a sense of calm. 

On the other hand, vanilla can promote deeper and more restful sleep. So, you can use them in your bedroom to lull you into a peaceful slumber. 

Rosemary and peppermint are linked to improved memory and focus, and might give you a cognitive boost to help you concentrate on your tasks. 

However, take note that the effectiveness of scentscaping can vary depending on individual preferences. Experiment with different scents and find what works best for you!

How to Decorate for Your Nose

Although it’s a breeze to fill diffusers and place scented candles and flowers, the last thing you want is a mix of overpowering scents in your space. To prevent that from happening, here’s a guide on how to get started with scentscaping. 

Define the Mood You Want to Create

Scentscaping: Unlock the Power of Scents for Your Home’s Mood.

When you enter an area in your home, think about the atmosphere you want to feel. If you picture yourself unwinding after a long day in the bedroom or by the balcony, you can create a calming oasis with lavender, chamomile, or sandalwood scents. And if you want the area to be inviting and energetic, uplifting citrus like lemon or grapefruit are the answer. To create a focused environment, opt for stronger scents like rosemary and peppermint. 

You can also align the room’s mood depending on the time of the day. Start the day with zesty notes like orange, lemongrass, or ginger. These invigorating scents could be your morning pick-me-up and sharpen your focus for a productive day. 

Afternoons are perfect for a combination of revitalizing and relaxing aromas. Spearmint, cedarwood, and green tea can all avoid an afternoon slump and can promote calmness without drowsiness. Evenings and late nights call for a serene and wind-down ambiance after a long, tiring day. Gentle scents that are floral, earthy, or herbal can ease tension so you can tuck into bed peacefully.   

But if you want to create layers of fragrances, start with earthy and musky base notes. Then, apply the floral or herbal middle notes and top it with lighter citrusy or fruity notes. 

Choose Your Scentscaping Tools

Scentscaping: Unlock the Power of Scents for Your Home’s Mood.

Now that you’ve envisioned the ideal atmosphere for each space, it’s time to pick your olfactory weapons. Here’s a breakdown of the various scent sources at your disposal.

Essential Oils

These concentrated plant extracts pack a powerful aromatic punch. But you need a diffuser to disperse the oil particles in the air to create a long-lasting fragrance. These handy devices cost about Php 3,000 to Php 5,000 and are available both in physical stores and online. 

However, essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause skin irritation and respiratory problems if not diluted properly. Dissolve them with carrier oils like jojoba or almond oil, but you can always research for more specific ratios for a safer concentration. And as a safety precaution, keep essential oils out of reach from children and pets.

Scented Candles

In scentscaping, choose only those that have natural ingredients like soy or beeswax since they burn cleaner. You also need to match the burn time with the size of the room. Choose larger candles for larger areas to easily spot them and smaller candles to not overwhelm smaller spaces. You can also cut the wick of newly bought candles by at least a quarter inch to prevent soot buildup. This trick also makes a cleaner and more natural fragrance throw. 

Room Sprays

A light spritz is all you need, but excessive use can create an overwhelming and artificial aroma. Opt for natural room sprays made with essential oils or fragrances. These tend to have a more pleasant and authentic scent compared to synthetic options. Also, don’t forget to open the windows and doors after spraying to allow some fresh air. 

Fresh Flowers

If you want a pure natural air freshener, this option is for you. But not all flowers have strong scents. So, choose lilies, lavenders, roses, and hyacinths for a more prominent fragrance. In addition, take note that fresh flowers last about a week or two. So, it could be pricey if you want to constantly use them.  

Place Them Strategically

Scentscaping: Unlock the Power of Scents for Your Home’s Mood.
Photo by Jar Concengco.

Similar to furniture arrangement, where you position your scentscaping tools significantly impacts the overall olfactory experience.

For high traffic areas like entryways and living rooms, choose uplifting scents like citrus or calming florals like lavender. Spread these notes using diffusers and scented candles to create a warming and inviting atmosphere.

Low traffic spaces like bathrooms and closets benefit from occasional fragrance refreshes. So, opt for room sprays with flowery scents to neutralize lingering odors and promote relaxation.

Calming scents like lavender, chamomile, or sandalwood dispersed using low-setting diffusers are the perfect choices for bedrooms. This creates a gentle and relaxing atmosphere as long as the scentscaping tool is not placed next to your bed.

For workspaces, consider diffusers and scented candles with aromas that keep you alert and focused like citrus and peppermint. Just make sure to put them on heat-resistant surfaces like concrete and away from wires and flammable materials. 

Pro tip: Rotate your scentscapes. Our sense of smell can adapt to familiar scents over time, making them less noticeable. Switching up your essential oils or scented candles every few weeks can help maintain the olfactory impact and prevent fragrance fatigue.

Along with the provided visual and tactile experience of common furnishings, scentscaping allows you to decorate your home that embraces an often-overlooked intangible design element. More than aesthetics, this trend offers a way to create a sanctuary that supports your mental and emotional health. So, next time you feel like your home decor is missing something, maybe you haven’t accounted for your olfactory senses yet.

Read more: Lampscaping: How to Light up Your Home like a Pro

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