Our sense of smell is such a powerful trigger for pleasure. When we taste food much of the experience is actually mixed with what we are smelling (think how tasteless food is when you have a cold). Given that we often associate food with comforting childhood memories, a method of celebration and happy events, it's no surprise that the right aromas mean a lot to us too. Whilst many of us might not think we're the aromatherapy types who want to turn our kitchen into a laboratory filled with exotic essential oils, we do enjoy enhancing our homes with wonderful smells. Beyond giving our homes an appealing impression of cleanliness, the right scents can help us relax, feel invigorated or they can simply cheer us up.
Bringing nature into the home
Where our mums might have been happy to spray heavily perfumed concoctions around the hall before visitors arrived, but nowadays we hanker after more natural scents in our fabric conditioners, shampoos and room fragrancers. But what are the right kinds of scents to choose?
Floral tones offer a light scent and the pleasure of bringing the outdoors inside. Delicate fragrances such as lilac, gardenia and jasmine are a good choice for rooms you use during the day. Be careful with rose scents – they are capable of producing the most wonderful aroma of all flowers, but if they are too intense they can begin to smell harsh and almost vinegary. Make sure you select a subtle floral scent.
Scents for relaxing
Relaxing scents are great for the bedroom but can work in the right living room, too. Lavender is popular because it is regarded as an excellent scent to aid relaxation, ease headaches and help get you off to sleep. Some people find lavender a little old-fashioned because their grandmothers would have used lavender sachets around their own homes, but the plant has come back into fashion as herbal remedies have risen in popularity. Pretty jasmine has a powerful smell and is associated with improved well-being and useful for reducing anxiety. It can be a little soapy if used in small enclosed spaces but when the windows are open and it mixes with fresh air the distinctive aroma is much more enjoyable.
Fresh fruitiness and spices
In the sunnier months of the year, fresh scents like apple and citrus fruits are perfect for kitchen and bathroom. Try lime, as it's good balance of the sweet and sour somewhere between orange and lemon. Soaps infused with scents like mint are also wonderful for this time of year. For autumn and winter, as our cooking habits swap salads for casseroles and bath time is more about soothing chill-out time than the quick daily showers of spring and summer, aromas such as ginger, cranberry or cinnamon are more suitable.
Fresh clean scents
Most of us have probably never even thought about using a linen spray, but just because we don't have acres of white tablecloth to iron, scents like French Linen are making a real comeback in candles and room sprays. It's a fresh light tone that seems more clean and modern and suits any room. Similarly, green tea has a refreshing tone about it that is appealingly contemporary and wonderfully calming.
Traditional woodland aromas
With ingredients like exotic fruits and flowers proving popular, many forget the old-school appeal of scents such as pine and sandalwood. Cedar is fresh and clean, perfect for rooms you use mostly by day, while the rich muskiness of sandalwood is ideal for bedrooms and the bathroom. If woodland aromas are too strong for you, opt for leafy scents – maple, ivy or even tomato leaf, bring the outside in to stunning affect all year round.