From the lingering scent of a Friday night curry (guilty) to pets and damp in old houses (*cry*), there are lots of reasons why your home might not smell quite as “show home” as you’d always like. Sure, when it’s business as normal, the odd stench from a garlic-packed dinner might not cause much irritation. But when you’re spending every waking minute within the same four walls? You’re probably left wondering how to make your house smell like a spa, once and for all.
Fret not: there are many ways to make your room smell good, from making potpourri from dried flowers (old school) to investing in an essential oil diffuser, reed diffuser or a scented candle.
Here are the best ways to fragrance your home, according to GLAMOUR editors and fragrance experts – plus, the best products to make house smell good. Consider your mood uplifted.
1. With one of the best home fragrance diffusers
Investing in an essential oil diffuser is one of the best hacks to make your house smell good; if you’re wondering how to keep your house smelling good with pets, this is the trick. These nifty little home fragrance diffusers are a hot property right now, dispersing natural oils into the air (lavender/jasmine/rosewood/whatever else you fancy) to make your room smell like a spa. They also have the power to leave you feeling more relaxed or energised (depending on which essential oil you choose). Needed.
“If you use blends of therapeutic grade essential oils on an electric diffuser, they will have a real effect, as opposed to a plug-in air freshener, which uses chemicals to provide a synthetic smell that is not going to really have the power to alter your state of mind in any way,” Geraldine Howard of Aromatherapy Associates told us. “A ceramic, electronic oil diffuser cannot overheat and will diffuse fragrance for hours through your rooms. It’s a fantastic way of safely and effectively scenting any environment to suit your mood without using a naked flame.”
2. By bathing
“While running a bath, spritz yourself and the air around you with cologne to scent the clouds of steam. Mix it up on your own body too – wear one fragrance as a body lotion and another cologne on your pulse points – you’ll leave a sweet-smelling trail as you pass through,” Debbie Wild of Jo Malone told us.
3. Through your linen
Scenting your linen will, in turn, make your house smell nicer. When hand-washing delicates like underwear, see if your favourite fragrances have fabric washes. With bath towels, soft furnishings and duvet covers choose a linen spray – Jo Malone, NEOM, Tisserand, L’Occitane, The White Company and The Body Shop all have delicious examples.
4. With scented candles
Ahh, the humble scented candle. You can never have too many, trust us. When it comes to which the best scented candle is, it’s a matter of opinion. A bit like choosing a perfume, choosing your home fragrance is a personal choice.
“Try out a candle packed with essential oils like lavender and jasmine in your bedroom – it’ll act as an aroma-therapeutic, sleep-inducing treatment,” said Nicola Elliott of NEOM Luxury Organics. “Burn something with cinnamon in the living room this winter – it’s great for zapping germs and gives a festive feel. Or, try a zingy lemon or grapefruit candle for the kitchen to alleviate those cooking smells as well as offering the perfect morning pick-me-up! Remember you should always burn your candle for at least two hours and for a maximum of four hours per treatment – this’ll give you that lingering subtle scent all-day long.”
Look for a candle with a long burn time and high intensity of scent.
5. With reed diffusers
“Thanks to its diffusing system, fragrance in a glass decanter absorbs into the reeds much like water delicately ascending into the stem of a plant, and the perfume will fragrance your home for up to four weeks,” says Sabrina Herlory of L’Occitane.
“For a light fragrance diffusion, only use 10 reeds and half of the oil. For an intense fragrance diffusion, use all of the reeds and all of the oil. The perfumes are real olfactory compositions, created not just to hide unpleasant scents, but to improve the whole atmosphere of your home. Especially in winter, when we want to create a nice, warm atmosphere at home. And there is no risk of fire or toxic diffusion.”
6. With natural home fragrance plug-ins
Sure, they’re largely artificial and don’t have the power to alter your mood. But in a large space – like your hallway or landing – you might find it beneficial to plug a home fragrance pack into the wall. Keep scrolling for our top picks.
Is potpourri still a thing? YES. Sure, it’s a slightly dated method of home fragrance, but if you want to know how to make your room smell good: DIY edition, try making potpourri from dried flowers. Well, fresh flowers… but they’ll be dry once you’ve finished with them.
- Prepare your fresh flowers by removing individual petals.
- Cover a baking tray with parchment paper or baking paper and lay out your petals – one layer thick.
- Add some essential oils. Good essential oils for making potpourri include: rose geranium oil, lavender oil, lemon oil and bergamot oil. You could also add mix-ins like lemon slices, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, thyme or mint.
- Leave the sheet in the oven for two hours before checking.
- Your flowers should be dry! Dried flowers and petals will feel brittle and hard — that’s how you know they’re ready!
- A “fixative” is a special potpourri ingredient that will make your fragrance last longer by keeping the scents in the mixture from evaporating. Fixatives are key if you want your potpourri to stay fragrant for weeks.
7. With fresh flowers – that have been picked at the right time
Fresh flowers will leave your home smelling instantly fresher, as long as you choose seasonal blooms. Or pick flowers from your garden at the right time. If it’s the latter, cut your flowers in the morning when they’re filled with sap, and choose stems which have at least one open flowers (plus lots of other buds).
8. With fragrant herbs
Into cooking? Curate a mini kitchen garden with fresh and fragrant herbs like basil, sage and parsley to make your kitchen smell delightful. They’ll be on hand for cooking with, but you can also crush the leaves between your fingers for a fragrance level-up. Don’t have enough space for a kitchen garden? Collect herbs from your garden in the morning and hang them in bundles around your home.
9. Invest in a food waste bin
Buy a countertop food waste bin with a built-in filter to mask the smell of vegetable peelings, food scraps and old tea bags.
10. Use baking soda
Another old school method for fragrancing your home – or banishing nasty smells, as the case may be – is using baking soda. It does an excellent job at eliminating odour. Baking soda is ideal for eliminating odour. Leave your baking soda in the fridge overnight, before sprinkling it on your carpets and vacuuming.