Just like the fragrances you choose to wear, the scents you select for your home are personal. They define the space in which you live by contributing to your overall experience of your home, and by making a lasting impression on your guests (according to studies, scent has been closely linked with memory). For these reasons, and because there are so many options available, choosing scents for your home can be a challenging process. Therefore, we asked Jess Anderson, Director of Retail Operations at Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida, for some guidance. Here, she shares her expert advice:
Don’t pick “favorites.” Your moods change, your tastes change, and the occasions you host will have different purposes. Anderson says to consider these factors as opportunities to define each mood or moment with scent. “We have been trained by some of the greats in the home fragrance world, and the single thread of advice they have all given us is this: don’t narrow your ‘favorite’ scent down to one choice,” she says. Instead, she recommends asking yourself a set of questions to determine which scent is your favorite for a particular scenario. The following prompts will allow you to have a better idea of what type of home fragrance you should use, and which scent you should select:
- Where will you be using this scent?
- What type of mood or feeling are you looking to evoke?
- What type of scents or notes do you lean towards in your personal fragrance?
Select the right fragrance type for the setting. Before you narrow down a scent, you should first identify the type of product that’s right for your space or situation. Here, Anderson breaks down four common home fragrance types and how and where to use them:
- Potpourri: Best used in small spaces, such as a guest bathroom, hall, or entryway, potpourri is low-maintenance and constantly permeates a space with scent. To keep potpourri going, a scented refresher oil is usually needed, as it will dry out.
- Room spray: Best used right before a party or after a meal is cooked that leaves a pungent smell. “I personally love room spray because I can control how much is used and where,” says Anderson. “My favorite application for room spray is to spray a few spritzes inside your kitchen garbage can before you put in the garbage bag. Instead of smelling food or garbage when you open it, you’ll smell your fragrance of choice.”
- Incense: Best used in a larger space or before a party. “We have seen in our retail store that incense is making a comeback in popularity, and rightfully so,” Anderson says, adding that high-quality incense has a rich presence while burning. Because incense burns fast and needs to be lit in order to “throw the scent,” it does take more effort than other fragrance options, but Anderson assures it’s worth it.
- Candles: According to Anderson, candles are the overall best choice—especially when tailored to an occasion and room—because they require very little maintenance yet provide a lasting impression. “I believe small unlit candles with a good ‘cold scent throw’ are fantastic in a powder room,” she says. If the fragrance oils in a candle are of high quality, you should be able to smell an unlit candle in a small space when it is left uncovered. Also, if your candle has high-quality oils, it should also be able to fill an entire space, no matter the size, without giving you or your guests a headache.
Be cautious about scents when food is present. It is typically frowned upon to have a scent present while serving food or eating, but Anderson believes it’s acceptable during a casual setting with food, such as a cocktail party or buffet-style event. However, she notes that a scent should not be present when dinner is served during a dinner party. To avoid confusing your palate, remove the scent source before the food service, or display unscented candles during mealtime.
TSG Tip 241 from Jess Anderson, Director of Retail Operations at Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida. Featured image courtesy of Oxford Exchange. Shop Oxford Exchange’s selection of home fragrances here.