When I was young, I noticed that when I visited the homes of my friends, each had its own particular smell. Each was completely unique to the family that lived there, but it was mostly invisible to them. And I always wondered – what does my home smell like to other people?
If you’ve ever wondered the same, here are some things to do to make sure you enjoy the smell of your home.
Do a smell audit
Do you have pets? Someone who plays sports and leaves their sweaty gear to “air out” in the entryway? Do you love to cook with pungent spices and ingredients? Are the surfaces in your home mostly soft and absorbent, like upholstery and carpeting? Do you allow smoking in your home?
None of these things are inherently bad, but all can contribute to the smell of your space – a smell that you will eventually habituate to and not notice. But other people will. So, if you aren’t in love with the idea of your house smelling like pets or sports equipment, your first step is to neutralize any offensive odours. Use hood fans in the kitchen, and make sure you clean the filters regularly. Clean regularly, including things like ductwork. Air equipment outside or in well-ventilated areas. Clean up after your pets immediately. The best way to have a great smelling home is to have one absent of unpleasant odours.
Pick a scent
Think about the collective personality of the people who live in your home. Ask yourself if you are chill and relaxed, hyper and fun, or somber and serious, and consider smells that match that personality. Now think about the space – are the colours you have chosen to decorate with warm or cool in tone? Are your furnishings soft and romantic, or hard and modern? Warm décor would match well with warm smells, like vanilla or vetiver; cool tones and modern lines might do better with something citrusy or fruity. Of course, you can choose whatever scent makes you the happiest in the space. But when you consider the overall tone of your home, and the people that live there, the scent should feel like a feature of the space, augmenting its visual appeal.
Make it smell
You’ll have to decide how you want to dispense this wonderful new aroma that you have so carefully chosen. You might want to work with fresh flowers and plants, or you might embrace the multi-sensory beauty of candles. Whatever you chose to give your house it’s signature scent, make sure it is something you can maintain. Go with what you naturally love and amplify its effect. Perhaps you love to bake. If that’s the case, lean in on that existing olfactory delight and fill your home with other warm baking smells, like vanilla and cinnamon.