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Home Fragrance Guide: How to Choose the Perfect Scent

May 29, 2020
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There are more factors to consider when choosing a home fragrance than just smelling good.

So, you have a beautifully designed apartment, but there’s an often overlooked element that can transform your flat into a home: fragrance. Not only is our sense of smell closely linked to memory, it can also evoke certain emotions, such as happiness or relaxation.

Northwave by Prozfile Design

Interior Firm: Prozfile Design

From candles and diffusers to room sprays, there are a plethora of choices that can make a home smell good. But, which is the right one for you? We talk with two fragrance boutiques, Escentials and Artisan of Sense, to find out!


On the different types of home fragrances

There are many factors to consider when selecting a home fragrance, including room size, ambience and ease of use. Here’s a TL;DR version, to sum up!

CandlesDiffusersRoom Spray
Room SizeSuitable for both small and large spaces.Good for smaller spaces.Can quickly scent both small and large spaces.
AmbienceWarm, flickering glow adds a cosy ambience.--
Ease of useNeed to be attended to when they’re lit.Can be left unattended, if placed out of reach from kids or pets.Can be left unattended. Great for busy homes with kids or pets.

A. Candles

Home Fragrance How to Choose Scent

Escentials (E): Candles are perfect for creating an ambience thanks to the combination of soft flickering light and beautiful fragrance. They also add a steady amount of scent to a room over the course of a few hours.

Artisan of Sense (AOS): Lighting a scented candle isn’t just about making your room smell good. The candlelight also helps to add cosiness to the space. The only downside to them is that you'll have to be present when they are lit, else they become fire hazards.

B. Diffusers

Home Fragrance How to Choose Scent

AOS: Reed and ultrasonic diffusers are extremely popular right now. They are flame-free, safe and simple to use.

There are many types of diffusers to choose from and they all function differently, but the end result is that they aerosolise the oils, turning them into a fine spray in the air.

Jelebu Road by Project Guru

Interior Firm: Project Guru

E: Diffusers are great if you want your home to smell good round the clock, but without being too heady. They work best in smaller spaces (a room), or in a hallway with high traffic (where people walking about helps to spread the fragrance and makes the scent more noticeable).

Since they come in a variety of designs, they also make great decor pieces for the home. Plus, they typically last a few months, longer than that of a candle or room spray.

C. Room Sprays

Home Fragrance How to Choose Scent

Source: Byredo

E: Room sprays are generally compounded with a higher concentration of perfume/fragrance for a longer lasting scent experience. They are also formulated to quickly and very effectively scent both small and large areas, including loft spaces or homes with high ceilings.

Room sprays are also great for busy homes with children and pets where an unattended candle or diffuser might not be such a great idea.

How do we determine if a home fragrance is ‘good’?

E: A good quality candle will have a wick that is the right size and construction for the candle. It burns cleanly, evenly, and creates a pool of liquid wax all the way across the surface of the candle within 2 to 4 hours.

A good diffuser will disperse enough aroma to scent a room in under 30 minutes.

Clementi Park by Mr Shopper Studio

Interior Firm: Mr Shopper Studio

On choosing a scent

E: Just like any human being, every home also has its own personal scent and unique aroma. It depends on the people who live and visit them, or the function of each room.

Therefore, the selection of scents for the home can be based on:

  • The functional (to mask other smells in the room); or
  • The emotional (depending on an individual’s personal preference or to create an ambience).
The Clement Canopy by Anhans Interior Design

Interior Firm: Anhans Interior Design

Home is where your family lives and where your guests visit, so it is best to choose a fragrance that everyone in the family will love. It is also recommended to avoid extremely sharp and eccentric scents, especially if there are people of very different tastes and ages in your family.

Will certain notes (floral, fresh, fruity etc.) last longer?

AOS: Scents with a musk or woody base will generally last longer than other fragrances, as the oils tend to evaporate at a slower rate than those with a fruity or floral base.

Recommendations for each room type

Living Room: Sweet/floral based notes (rose, jasmine, vanilla)

The Glades by The Local INN.terior 新家室

E: As we typically spend most of our time in our living rooms, use your home fragrances to create a refreshing and comfortable atmosphere. You can also consider picking out a scent that suits your home's style and decor.

Dining Room: Citrus-based notes (bergamot, lemon, orange)

Fernvale Link by Starry Homestead

Interior Firm: Starry Homestead

E: The last thing you would want is an overpowering fragrance that disturbs your family meal or a dinner party by taking the attention away from the delicious meal on the table. A light spritz with a room spray, before and after the room is used, will keep it fresh and stop food smells from lingering.

Bedroom: Floral/Woody based notes (Lily, lavender, rose, jasmine, tuberose and sandalwood)

The Sixth Avenue Residences by Home Philosophy

Interior Firm: Home Philosophy

E: The bedroom is your personal refuge. We'd recommend choosing a comforting scent to create a soothing and relaxing environment.

Bathroom: Fruity-based notes (Apricot, fig, orange and peach)

Rivervale Drive by Weiken.com

Interior Firm: Weiken.com

E: Room sprays are always great to have on hand, especially if you want to keep your bathroom smelling fresh. Scented candles are also great alternatives as they evoke a relaxing home spa vibe.

On bestsellers in their stores

Home Fragrance How to Choose Scent

AOS: Citrus, lavender and lime candles are refreshing and uplifting. Gifting a set of three candles is also a good option as the recipient can try out different fragrances to see which they like best!

Home Fragrance How to Choose Scent

Source: Escentials

E: For housewarming gifts, we would recommend the Baies scented candle which is one of diptyque’s iconic scents. It emits the freshness of a bouquet of roses, sweetened with blackcurrant leaves. The Baies scent is also available in an hourglass diffuser and room spray. Other well-loved scents include Roses and Figuier.

Home Fragrance How to Choose Scent

Source: Cire Trudon

Or if you are feeling fancy, treat yourself to a luxurious candle from Cire Trudon. They are the oldest candle maker in the world with creations that are still handcrafted in Italy to this day. The candles are made from beeswax, providing an exceptional olfactory and burning quality. All of Cire Trudon’s fragrances developed with the utmost care and patience in partnership with renowned perfumers.

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