There’s a new self-care trend on the block, which encourages you to divide up your home and day with different scents. We take a closer look at the wellness benefits of this trend, before delving into some top tips from the fragrance experts…
By Lily Smith
Over the past year or so, many of us have spent more time in our homes than ever before. Because of this, many people strove to make their homes as beautiful and relaxing as possible.
However, with lockdown turning our kitchens into classrooms, our dining rooms into home offices, and our living rooms into gyms, finding clear-cut boundaries within our homes has become difficult. How can you find relaxation in the same place you find yourself stressing over work?
Well, one way is through ‘scent-scaping’.
What is scent scaping?
Scent scaping (or ‘fragrance zoning’) is a method of splitting up the areas in your home using different scents, based on the purpose or mood of the room. This is achieved by burning a scented candle, placing reed diffusers in particular places, or by spritzing a room spray as you enter a room.
This method is based on the fact that the olfactory system in our brain links specific scents with certain memories. By filling each room with a specific scent, based on the room’s purpose, you can trigger your mind and body to feel a certain way.
As the founder of scent scaping candle brand The Muses London, Fiona Janneryd, explains: ‘Scent contributes to the environment in which we live and work. When the environment is deliberately designed, it can enhance moods, motivation and day-to-day wellbeing.’
Setting boundaries when you work from home
It’s no surprise that this wellness trend emerged during lockdown: in a time when our homes became places for work and relaxation, it became necessary to set some boundaries.
If you work and relax in the same room, you can also use scent scaping to divide up your day, by using two different scents based on the activity you’re doing. This will add structure to your day and signal to your brain when it’s time to work or relax.
As The Perfume Shop fragrance expert, Rebecca Herd explains: ‘As our homes are now even more multi-functional than ever before, it’s important to establish different areas for working and for relaxing. Scent can have the power to help you feel motivated during work hours or relaxed at the weekend.’
Getting started with scent scaping
If you’re a beginner to scent scaping, you might feel overwhelmed by the idea. However, as Fiona explains: ‘Scent scaping doesn’t have to be complicated and there are no strict rules, because fragrance is a personal affair – we all have our own memories, scent associations and preferences.’
If the idea of choosing a fragrance for every room or time of day is too complicated, you could simply start out with one candle for the work day, and another for unwinding in the evening.
However, if you’re looking to completely scent scape your entire house, first make a list of the rooms in your house, along with the purpose(s) of each one. Try focusing on the rooms you spend the most time in first, such as your home office or bedroom.
Choosing your scents:
Then, think about which scents you typically associate with different emotions or activities. If you’re struggling with this, a good place to start is to think about which scents are often marketed as being more relaxing (such as lavender), or more energising (such as citrus scents).
If you’ve never associated different scents with different emotions before, don’t worry. As Rebecca explains: ‘Over time, your mind will start associating those scents with the boundaries you have set.’
Positioning the fragrances:
Once you’ve chosen your scents, it’s also important to correctly position them, and to choose the right type of home fragrance product for different rooms, to ensure they can be optimally experienced.
For example, as reed diffusers often emit a stronger scent, try using them in more open spaces like living or dining areas. Rebecca adds: ‘A great spot for a diffuser is near a door so scent can be picked up as soon as you enter the room.’
In comparison, a candle might be more suitable for relaxing rooms like the bedroom or near the bathtub. This is because candles offer multiple sensory benefits, and the calming flickering flame alongside the aroma can help you to unwind.
How to choose the right scent for each room
Everyone has different preferences, and you should always choose scents based on how they personally make you feel.
However, if you’re just getting started with scent-scaping and you’re looking for some guidance, here are some scent recommendations for each room in the house, based on the documented aromatherapeutic benefits of different scents.
If, for example, you work and relax in the same room, use the suggestions below to think about how you could switch between scents based on the activity you’re doing.
For your home office or workspace, uplifting and invigorating citrus scents can help you feel more motivated and energised. Try placing a candle or reed diffuser that is powered by lemon, mandarin, or grapefruit on your desk, and let the zesty fragrance fill you with positivity.
We recommend…St Eval Grapefruit and Lime Reed Diffuser (£29.99). This zesty and uplifting fragrance comes in a glass bottle and a recyclable cardboard box.
In contrast to your workspace, your bedroom needs a scent to help you wind down and switch off for the day. Try using floral notes of lavender, jasmine, or chamomile. Alternatively, if you’re not keen on floral aromas, you could try using deep, smoky notes of oud, leather, or myrrh.
We recommend…BeYou Sleep Pillow Mist (£17.99). Spritz this onto your pillow and allow the comforting notes of lavender, vetiver and chamomile calm your mind and body after a long day.
As bathrooms have multiple uses, it’s best to have a few different fragrance options that you can switch between.
When you’re getting ready in the morning, try using an invigorating fruity or spicy scent, to boost your energy levels for the day ahead. When you’re unwinding in the bath after work, try a more relaxing scent like lavender.
We recommend…Roots Lemongrass and Ginger Candle (£20). This powerful and spicy scent is sure to blow the cobwebs away when you’re getting ready in the morning.
The kitchen is the perfect room to try out a bold, herbal scent, like peppermint, eucalyptus, or rosemary. The invigorating scent will give you a creativity boost when you’re cooking or baking.
Plus, they are sure to cut through any leftover smells from last night’s dinner. Alternatively, you could try a more subtle scent, like clean linen or an ocean fragrance.
We recommend…Octo London Eucalyptus and Peppermint Candle (£12). This powerful green aroma will lift your spirits and keep your kitchen smelling clean and fresh all day long.
Try using a candle with floral notes of rose to promote a calm and tranquil atmosphere. As Rebecca explains: ‘Roses are great for creating a calm, balanced environment. This would work best in the living room when winding down.’
You could also try grounding, woody notes like sandalwood, or comforting notes of honey and vanilla.
We recommend…The Muses London Unplug Candle (£45). Step away from the screens and unplug with this soothing scent. Complete with warming notes of soft rose, along with honey and patchouli.