Candles or diffusers can actually change the way your home feels.
Wooden chairs at table with flowers in natural dining room interior with poster and lamp
Credit: Getty / KatarzynaBialasiewicz

There is nothing quite like walking through your front door at the end of a long day, taking a deep breath, and smelling that familiar smell of your home. A mix of oils and candles make up your space's particular aroma—but did you know that, in addition to creating that sense of home, the fragrance you use in your living area can also speak to your home's vibe or your even overarching style? Here, Mark Crames, the CEO and Chief Perfumer at Demeter Fragrance explains how to choose a fragrance that resonates with both.

A signature fragrance turns a house into your home.

Of course your residence needs a signature scent, says Crames—think of the fragrance as an extension of everything else you do to make your house feel like a home. "I think scent is one of the great pleasures of life, so it only makes sense to me to want to build and control your olfactory surroundings," he says. "We create visual and tactile parts of our homes and offices for various purposes. Certainly, scent is a natural and potful extension of that."

There's no "wrong" signature scent.

Picking an aroma for your abode is easier than you think. Crames says that there are no "right" scents—instead, focus on introducing fragrances into the right places at the right times. That can mean using lemon in your kitchen in the summer months or vanilla in the winter—it's completely up to you. "Scent is personal and powerful," he continues. "Nothing evokes emotion like scent."

Create a serene vibe with cortisol-reducing notes.

If you are, however, looking for a little guidance on which scent to choose, consider the vibe you're looking to create before reaching for any old candle. Searching for something soothing? Consider aromas that lower cortisol (the stress hormone) and inspire calm. Anything with a lavender, vanilla—try Voluspa's "Santal Vanille" line ($30, for this note!—or bergamot bases can help with this. Pro tip: These are particularly effective in bedrooms, because they can also reduce your heart rate and ease restlessness.

Pump things up with citrus.

For a more up-beat vibe, select fragrances with lemon, orange, and grapefruit bases; we're partial to Agraria's "Lemon Verbena" candle ($40,, which weaves eye-opening citrus scents together (the key note is Caribbean lime). These smells naturally give you a burst of energy and help combat stress—which makes them particularly useful in the kitchen come morning, as you start your day.

Don't be afraid of something different.

Ginger, menthol, chai, or camphor notes give off earthy, bold scents—ones that you don't often smell in living spaces. Burn Byredo's "Chai" candle ($85,—a fragrant homage to the tea rituals of the Indian subcontinent—for example, and you'll instantly be transported elsewhere. Each of these scents offers a different feeling (as well as some reported medicinal properties; some experts claim that the smell of camphor can reduce headaches), which, in turn, brings an out-of-this-world touch to your home.


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