As humans, our sense of smell plays a large role in our everyday lives, whether we realize it or not. Scents have the ability to change our mood, change how we interact with others and even play a large role in our ability to recall memories.
In fact, studies find that scent is so closely linked to memory, that people can remember a scent with 65% accuracy after one year, where visual memory drops to nearly 50% after only a few months. This is because when we smell a scent it goes straight to the brain’s olfactory bulb, which is directly connected to the amygdala and the hippocampus.
All technical terms aside, scents are oftentimes linked by the brain with memories. Maybe it’s the smell of your mum’s cooking, a certain flower or a perfume; certain scents can bring you right back to a memory as if it happened just yesterday. Scents have the ability to change our mood. You can use scents to your advantage to calm or energise yourself, spike your hygge spirit, and make your home smell amazing.
Scented candles are a wonderful way to make your home look and smell inviting. Having lit candles around your home will most definitely add to a hygge vibe. The warm glow will make rooms feel cozy and comfortable.
Not only do candles look and feel homey, they also smell great. Almost all stores sell scented candles these days, but for higher quality scents, get your candles from a brand that sells candles exclusively. If you have a local candle maker near you, even better!
Scents like warm vanilla, cinnamon apple, sugar plum and peppermint are some winter favourites. Fresher scents such as citrus and herb scents are great for warmer weather and can make your home feel refreshed.
Reed diffusers are a newer kid on the block and I love them as an alternative to scented candles. Although they lack the cozy vibe from a lit candle, they are a safer option for homes with kids or pets. They also last longer, and they scent your room constantly, not just when lit.
Some tips for making the most of your reed diffuser are to flip the reeds upside down daily for the first week or so to help the scented oil permeate evenly throughout the reed. After that, flip every few days or whenever you feel like you want the scent to be stronger.
For a weaker scent, you can remove some reeds or just flip a couple of reeds. For a stronger scent, add more or flip them all.
Another way to make your home smell amazing is with fresh greenery, houseplants and cut flowers.
Bringing the outside in not only makes your home smell incredible in a natural, healthy way, but they can even purify the air and bring other health benefits.
Some flowers are especially renowned for their fabulous scent such as roses, lilies, lavender and gardenia.
For the Christmas holiday season, there is nothing like real greenery! Use of a freshly cut fir Christmas tree, a fresh wreath or some branches from an aromatic evergreen are great ways to keep your home smelling and feeling joyful. If fresh trees and branches are not naturally available in your area, check with some of the home improvement stores. Look for some of the best smelling evergreens, which are the Scotch pine, Douglas fir, white spruce and Noble fir trees.
Eucalyptus is another great option to scent your home. It has aromatherapeutic benefits and is long lasting. It even keeps its smell when it is dried.
Certain plants, such as lilies, can be toxic to pets so please check this first.
Here is a simple quick fix to get your home smelling fresh in a hurry. Simply pop a halved lemon in a pan with a little water and simmer gently. You can add to or replace the lemon with any other fragrant items you can find in your kitchen: oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves etc. You can even use leftover citrus peels after you’ve used the fruit in a recipe.
This is a great way to quickly freshen the kitchen after cooking, or before visitors come over. And it’s all natural and toxin-free.
Another great hack is to heat the lemon peel/slices in a bowl of water in the microwave. Not only does this have the same fragrant effect, but the steam will make it super easy to wipe down the microwave after (make sure it’s not too hot).
Just remember to keep an eye on the water levels and don’t let it boil dry and burn!
Baking homemade treats always keeps your home filled with sweet and savoury scents! Not only is baking and cooking treats a fun and cosy activity, it ensures your home smells good, naturally. From freshly baked bread to cookies or brownies, no one can resist the smell of baking!
Last but not least, don’t forget to air your home out regularly. No matter how much you fill it will scented candles, diffusers and flowers, if you never open a window it will start to get stuffy and unhealthy!
I keep the windows open as much as possible in summer, and even in winter I throw them all open for a few minutes every morning. Fresh air is the best antidote to cooking smells, human smells and general mustiness. The other ideas in this post should be use to add a fresh scent to an otherwise clean, neutral air rather than using them to cover up nasty smells.
What’s your favourite way to make your home smell incredible?