One of the strongest triggers of memories is smell. The smell of a fresh fruit pie may bring back a memory of baking with Grandma. Sandalwood might remind someone of their high school boyfriend. Scents can also be used to set a mood. You might use certain scents within your home to complement a room’s décor. Certain scents are associated with certain times of the year—lilacs with spring or pumpkin pie spice with fall. Whether you prefer to scent your home with candles, room sprays, plug-ins, or diffusers, read on for a home style guide for winter scents.
Many families view the kitchen, redolent with the smells of meals cooking, as the heart of their home—where children sit around the table having a snack or hot chocolate while doing their homework, or everyone gathers together for the evening meal. Cookie scents, such as sugar or chocolate chip cookies or cinnamon scents create a homey, welcoming feeling. (There’s a reason why these smells are popular choices for real estate open houses.) Another great kitchen option is apple anything: mulled cider, streusel, and, especially, pie. For many people, apple pie is one of life’s comfort foods—along with such foods as meatloaf and mashed potatoes, chicken with dumplings, or split pea soup—and walking into a home smelling of apple pie can make someone feel welcome, cozy, and nostalgic all at the same time.
The living room is an excellent place to keep a room diffuser. The diffuser reeds will gently distribute your favorite scents without overpowering the room’s occupants. Several different scents are particularly suited for this area of the home; you can choose depending on your mood and easily swap out scents whenever you want a change. Whether you choose to evoke the outdoors or a smoky scent to call up a crackling fire—a great option for homes that don’t have a fireplace—you’re sure to feel extra cozy while you curl up under a throw blanket and read, knit, or listen to music.
If you prefer the stronger smell given off by candles, consider Christmas-scented candles. The scents associated with Christmas, such as evergreen, pinecone, nutmeg, and more, are the same scents that evoke winter in general. Moreover, the cheerfully flickering wicks of these often red or green candles will brighten up any room. Note that for safety reasons, you should never leave a candle burning unattended.
Whereas winter scents in other areas of the home may be relaxing, those in your home office should help keep you energized. One great winter scent for this room is peppermint. Think of how you feel when you chew a piece of peppermint gum or have a peppermint. When you breathe in the scent, you can feel the mint waking you up and breaking up those foggy thoughts. Another scent option is eucalyptus. Like peppermint, eucalyptus has a pungent odor but with a woody undernote. Both scents are great when you have to stay alert so you can get through your work to-do list. Once you haul your laptop and any other necessary devices out of your tech bag, you’ll be ready to focus on that day’s work agenda.
The bedroom is definitely where you want to have a relaxing winter scent. Lavender is traditionally used year-round for just this purpose; some people keep a bowl of dried lavender on their dresser. If you want to give your lavender a wintry feel, look for a diffuser or plug-in that adds vanilla. The combination is sure to help even those who have trouble falling asleep do just that. Note that because you’ll be asleep, it’s probably best to not use a candle for safety reasons; you won’t be able to monitor it if you’re asleep. Studies have shown that we sleep better in cooler temperatures, so instead of cranking the heat up during the winter cold, break out the down comforter.
It’s a good idea to keep both a diffuser and a scented spray in the bathroom. The diffuser will keep the room generally smelling pleasant, while the spray will mask the unpleasant odors that sometimes occur. To avoid overpowering your sense of smell, keep to a single scent for both. Lemon is a popular scent that will keep the room smelling fresh. If that’s not wintry enough for you, try cranberry or balsam fir.
When choosing winter scents for your home, be sure to consider the total square footage, as well as the area of each room. If your living space is too small, too many scents will blend into a hot mess. By carefully curating the scents you choose, you’ll bring winter indoors without also bringing in the snow, ice, and cold.