An easy to follow guide to evoke the senses and create the right atmosphere for your home, using scents that will help to stimulate or calm you depending on what you need.
Whist designing the interior of our homes, regardless of our tastes on the aesthetics of the room, we all have a similar end goal in our minds. No, I’m not talking about the trip to Home Sense for a trolly full of soft furnishings that you never knew you needed. Put the gold zebra down Linda…I’m talking about the atmosphere.
To create an inviting and cosy, or even uplifting atmosphere, you need to incorporate more than one design element and appeal to all of the senses – it’s a bit like baking the perfect sponge, just missing out one vital ingredient will take you from light and fluffy to well, just flat.
“The more senses we engage, the more likely we are to associate them to a moment in time, an object or a space. As a result, design is evolving to incorporate sensory experience into the places we live and work. If we evoke the senses then we have the power to create the right ambiance and mood ”
One of the most commonly overlooked senses whilst designing a room is smell, and yet it is arguably as important as choosing your furniture or piece of art as it can really impact the way that you feel within that space.
Why is finding the right scent so important?
Our brains are made up of complex, multi-sensory connections that enable us to create meaning and memory – when entering a scented room, two things may happen: if the smell is familiar, old memories will be evoked, possibly offering a sense of nostalgia. If the smell is completely new, then new memories will be created.
The great news is, if scent is an element that up until now you’ve ignored, it’s never too late to start thinking about it and incorporating it into your home, and if you make a mistake, it’s relatively simple to resolve.
Using plants, herbs and organic essential oils, can not only trigger fond associations of being within nature while we’re cooped up indoors, but they can also stimulate or calm you. Some can even help to reduce headaches and respiratory issues. But where do we start when we’re choosing the right scent for the room and the mood that we want to create? There are so many options for scented candles, room sprays and diffusers on the market that it can be a little over whelming.
I’ve created a guide on scents and the impact that they can have on our mood, to help you choose the right ones for you, and I’ve even included an organic room and linen spray that you can mix up at home to lift up your spirits or give you that sense of calm.
Finding the right scent for you
Whether you fit into the love lavender camp or it conjures up too many memories of your grannies drawers – the impact that scent can have on our bodies runs even deeper than the memories they create.
Here’s a list if some of the more popular scents that you can use in the home, and the positive impacts that they have on our mood when used in the right room.
Sleep and Relaxation
Lavender – one of the best fragrances for promoting relaxation and a good night’s sleep. It has also been shown to help lower the heart rate.
Vanilla – has a sedative effect and can reduce hyperactivity and restlessness making it a great scent to use for stress relief.
Lavender and vanilla are the perfect scents to add to a linen spray. Make your own using essential oils and try giving your pillows a quick spritz with it every night to keep them fresh.
Bergamot – can reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone). This scent has also been linked to promote positive mood changes.
Anxiety and Depression
Orange – This scent is an energising one and has also been shown to help people with PTSD by reducing anxiety.
Lemon and Lemongrass – these scents, weather inhaled via the fruit or in essential oils can ease depression and anxiety.
Both of these are great to add to a room spray for your home office as they will help to invigorate you during those afternoon slumps.
Camomile – is calming and can reduce symptoms of anxiety. It is also a great anti-inflammatory.
I have a fresh camomile tea every evening as part of my wind down ritual. Rituals like these are so important, especially for anyone that struggles with insomnia. A fresh bunch of camomile next to your bed will also help.
Respiratory and Blood Pressure
Eucalyptus – great for opening the airways and combating the symptoms of congestion, coughs and sore throats.
I like to hang up a bunch of fresh eucalyptus from our shower head, the steam from the hot shower helps to activate the oils and open up the airways, alleviate stress and muscle tightness, as well as transporting you back to that spa weekend with your pals. Sigh.
Clary Sage – has been shown to have a positive impact on high blood pressure and breathing rates, it is also believed to help with balancing hormones and improve the symptoms of period pain.
Headaches and Pain Relief
Rosemary – improves circulation and reduces inflammation. It can also reduce headaches, muscle pain and even arthritis.
I like to have a pot of rosemary on my desk for those late night writing sessions, as it is considered a cognitive stimulant and can help improve memory performance and quality.
Nausea and Stomach Issues
Peppermint – can treat headache symptoms and reduce nausea.
Ginger – as well as having medical and antiseptic properties, it can help to reduce nausea and vomiting.
Deodorising nasty smells
Tea tree – is a natural antiseptic and is a great way of eliminating pet or teenage oder, I use it in a spray for our sofas to help keep the doggie smell at bay.
“So now that you know a little bit more about scents and their healing properties, how can you use them to enhance how you feel at home?”
Create your own linen and room sprays
There are so many room sprays, defusers, atmospheric candles and melts on the market that it can be tricky to know which one is the right one for you – you can use the above information to help you browse the various options and choose the right scent for each room in your home. I try to stick to organic scents that use natural materials and essential oils as they are much better for you and the environment.
If you fancy delving into the world of essential oils and creating something bespoke for your home and needs, then here are some ideas for some blends that will help you get started.
You will need…
- 100ml distilled water
- 100ml vodka
- 20 – 40 drops of your chosen essential oils
- A clean spray bottle – use a dark glass bottle if possible to preserve the essential oils.
Measure out the distilled water and vodka and pour both into a small spray bottle using a funnel. Add 20-30 of your favourite essential oils to the spray bottle give it a shake and voila. You have your own unique room or linen spray. Give it a shake before every use.
Tip – Only use clear oils for linen sprays as some scents such as rose oil can stain the fabric.
**Do not put essential oils directly onto your skin and keep them away from children and animals. Pregnant women should avoid using them too unless it is marked on the bottle as safe to do so.**
Create the right mood
Focusing office blend
- 10 drops peppermint
- 15 drops rosemary
Relaxing bedroom blend
- 15 drops orange
- 10 drops grapefruit
- 10 drops lemon
Mood boosting blend
- 25 drops orange
- 10 drops lemon
- 15 drops eucalyptus
- 7 drops peppermint
Cosy evening blend
- 25 drops sandalwood
- 15 drops ginger
- 5 drops orange
Sleep well blend
- 12 drops clary sage
- 15 drops chamomile
- 10 drops valerian
- 15 drops sandalwood
- 10 drops ylang ylang
- 12 drops vetiver
Side note – Did you know that a lot of deodorising sprays that you can buy at the supermarket are made using a small bit of fabric softener and warm water – they should cost you 15p a bottle not over £2. True story.
So there you have it, designer candles are a lovely treat but it shouldn’t need to cost you a fortune to set the right mood for your space and create a relaxing atmosphere after a long stressful day at work. Just a few drops of essential oils in a defuser could be just what you need or mix them up with coconut oil and some sea salt to create a soothing body scrub for your next long soak in the tub.
I hope you found some useful tips and ideas to help you create the right scent in your home and improve your health and wellbeing.