HOW TO HARNESS SCENT AT HOME
According to master perfumer Emma Leah of Fleurage, scent and psychology is misunderstood by most of the population. While we’re all attuned to using the primitive information decoder to assess our environment – think leaning in close to breathe something deeply when it smells beautiful, and making a detour when something unpleasant wafts our way – we’re too often brushing over the deeper effects of this sense.
‘What people don’t realise is the way we process scent in our brain means we have an unedited impression as a memory base that’s stored immediately in its pure form,’ says Leah. Once this happens, it’s hard to over-ride a scent connection in your mind no matter how much you love or loathe it. Which explains why we recall memories clearer when we smell something familiar, as opposed to when we use other senses that have a less direct route to the brain, and can be easily diluted and distorted.
So what does this have to do with our homes? Recognising the power of scent means we can embrace it to create mood, feeling, and memory at home, as opposed to simply masking unpleasant smells from the sock drawer.
How to Use Scent in Rooms
‘We should always aim for quality, beauty, appeal, and positive reinforcements,’ says Leah when it comes to introducing scents at home. But what happens when you don’t have a skilled master perfumer by your side? Take cues from your decorating style. If your bedroom is inspired by coastal retreats – awash with sea greens and blues – opt for a soft white musk with marine notes. Sleeping in a more Oriental décor vibe with rich reds and gold: try sandalwood, cinnamon, and orange. ‘Bedrooms are a very personal space, so it’s important to take into account the main user’s tastes and style when it comes to scent,’ says Leah.
Orange scent is a tested relaxant, and not a stimulating citrus smell it’s often thought of as.
The living room on the other hand, is a communal/multi-use space that needs a more universal approach. ‘This room is many things at different times of the day, so I think a changing menu of scent choices would be an intelligent response,’ says Leah. Her suggestions: when you’re seeking stimulation and focus in the morning, use a light citrus scent such as bamboo or lime; move to a calm scent for lunchtime such as soft ylangylang or white peach; and create a relaxing mood for the evenings with a deep and comforting smell such as honey vanilla or cinnamon.
The Best Scent Tools
Candles, oils, room sprays, and reed diffusers are just some of the ways we can produce beautiful aroma at home, but what’s the best? According to Emma Leah, they’re all great options. ‘Candles and oil burners are ambient, and reed diffusers are subtle. You can’t beat sprays for instant application and effect, and I’m a huge fan of the humidifier diffuser that’s a delicate and effective dispersal,’ she says.
Want a bespoke scent that speaks to your home and lifestyle? Utilise one of the best tools out there – an expert. ‘We’re rare, but we’re there,’ says Leah. Even if you’re not equipped with the right vocab, a skilled perfumer and scent formulation specialist will help you decipher your wants. ‘Scent does effect thinking, emotion, and wellbeing, so we must be mindful of what impression we’re making and what environment we are creating.’
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