What is a 'home fragrance ritual' and how can you use one to transform how you feel in your home?

The home scenting routines that make life sweeter and less stressful

eucalyptus and candles in a living room
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You may already have a personal scent ritual – the 'give me confidence' perfume you dab on your wrists before a job interview, the fragrant body lotion you rub into your skin before a date, the spritz of sleep spray on your pillow before bed…

But we can create a fragrance ritual for our homes, too, whether it's with the best reed diffuser in our hallway or the candle in our living room

'We can use fragrance to help us differentiate between work, social and relaxation spaces. So switching your fragrances can help you close the door on work or difficult situations and establish a more relaxing environment,' explains Sheena Moxom from fragrance experts, Melt.

What is a home fragrance ritual?

A home fragrance ritual is any regular way of using scent that elevates it from thoughtless habit to wellbeing essential. It could be a single act, like lighting a scented candle when you have your bath, to a series of scent moments throughout your day that help to ease stress, home scents that make you feel happy, and that boost mood and create a welcoming atmosphere.

Using the same scents for specific fragrance rituals can strengthen their effects even more.

'Building the same fragrance notes into your daily routine means your olfactory senses register the fragrance and your body responds and knows what to do. For example, it will wake up when it encounters citrus, calm down when it encounters Rose, and relax ready for sleep when it senses lavender,' says Melt's Sheena Moxom.

We asked experts to recommend fragrance rituals for you and your home throughout the day, to help make every day seem sweeter and less stressful.

Fragrance ritual for bathing

bathroom with large contemporary bath, terrazzo tiles and rose gold brassware, with a shelf featuring framed pictures and a trailing houseplant

Our bathrooms are made for fragrance rituals. From shower gels and bath bubbles, beauty products to reed diffusers, this small space is generally packed with perfumed products, and you can turn the room into a mini spa with the best bathroom scents.

Take scented potpourri to the next level by getting intentional about the fragrances you use in your bathing rituals.

'Scents can greatly impact the way we feel and can either set us up for the day or help us unwind,' says Lauren Grainger, scent expert at From Today…

'Try surrounding yourself with bright citrus in the morning, maybe by using an energising body wash in the shower. Then switch to soothing fragrances such as bergamot or comforting ginger at the end of the day, with your bath oil or by lighting a scented candle as you soak.'

If you're not a morning person, there are four scents that can help you wake up, which are ideal for adding to your bathing fragrance ritual.

Working from home fragrance ritual

Room in the eaves with wooden desk between two skylights

(Image credit: Future PLC)

You may not be able to scent a shared workspace, but it's a different story if you can do your job from a home office. Mark the transition from home to work mode by beginning your work hours with a fragrance ritual.

'Immediate surroundings such as the workspace will benefit more from a slow and gentle diffusion method, such as a diffuser,' suggests Amanda Morgan, managing director of scent brand, Diptyque, which has just opened a London boutique specialising in home fragrancing.

Amanda recommends the Diptyque hourglass diffuser, which was designed to fragrance cosy spaces, but you could also choose an aromatherapy diffuser that can sit neatly on our desk and power your performance with scent.

'Rose geranium essential oil is good for concentration and grapefruit for stimulation,' says Sheena Moxom from Melt. 'And peppermint is great for headaches or nausea caused by sitting on the computer for too long.'

Amanda Morgan MD Diptyque UK
Amanda Morgan

Amanda joined the renowned perfume brand in 2004 and is now managing director. Her most recent project has been the opening of the Maison Diptyque boutique in London's Mayfair, which specialises in home fragrances. 

Homecoming fragrance ritual

Green hallway with wooden console table

(Image credit: Sanderson)

If you do work, study or spend hours every day away from home, then creating a homecoming fragrance ritual can be a beautiful way to mark the shift back to your domestic space. Finding the perfect fragrances to scent your hallway is key.

'Set a welcoming tone in your home’s entrance with a reed diffuser that gives out comforting aromas like sandalwood, black pepper or neroli. These fragrances can help you transition from the hustle and bustle to a more peaceful home environment, welcoming you home for a cosy night ahead,' suggests Lauren Grainger at From Today…

'You can also turn your reeds as you return home for an extra scent boost.'

Fragrance ritual for mealtimes

The White Company Spring home fragrance collection

(Image credit: The White Company)

Preparing and eating a meal may already feel like a ritual that punctuates your day and helps you feel good. But we can make the experience even more evocative by adding scent.

'In the kitchen, combine scent with your mealtime rituals by using invigorating aromas such as rosemary or lemongrass,' says scent expert Lauren Grainger. 'Whether you light a candle or use an essential oil diffuser, these scents can help to inspire your culinary creativity and stimulate your senses, getting you ready to eat.'

Fragrance ritual for entertaining

room spray on shelf

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Of course want our home to smell good when we're hosting guests, but setting the mood with fragrance can be part of a ritual that helps us to prepare to invite people into our home. Add these tips to your ideas for entertaining.

'Scenting a room or a space completely changes the atmosphere depending on the fragrance chosen. It's similar to how you would choose lighting, music and decorations,' says Amanda Morgan, managing director of Diptyque.

'For instant scenting, choose the room spray, which is ideal for hallways and passages, as it instantly creates the welcoming atmosphere, whereas the fragrance from the candle emerges after 30 minutes of burning. 

'The living room is the most dynamic space in the home and the scent you choose comes down to the mood you want to create for different occasions. Diptyque Baies (berries) is an iconic choice, with the coolness of freshly picked blackcurrant leaves and berries, plus flowery accents of rose. For richer woody notes, both Ambre (amber) and Feu de Bois (wood fire) are great options to add warmth to the home.' 

Fragrance ritual for self-care

incense sticks burning in bedroom

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you are someone who meditates, journals or had another de-stressing, self-care practice, then make fragrance a part of your ritual with scents to calm you down.

'Candle meditation is a very peaceful form of meditation done in silence and low light. Most people want to emerge from meditation feeling calmer, peaceful and with a sense of clarity,' suggests Sheena Moxom from Melt. 

'For this we would look to peppermint and eucalyptus to help clear thoughts, enhance clarity and focus; scents you can find in our Still candle. Another fabulous contender would be the Saddle candle – full of beautiful sandalwood – which is great for stress and anxiety. It also contains cedarwood, which is beneficial for helping nervous tension.'

Bedtime fragrance ritual

Southwold Table Lamp on bedside table next to electric diffuser, essential oils, and vase

(Image credit: The White Company)

For winding down in the evening, scent-filled rituals  can help prepare you for rest. 'Even small tasks like applying a scented hand lotion or spritzing your room before bed can get you in the headspace for a more restful night. Pairing your chosen activity with the right scent can give this effect a boost,' says Lauren Grainger at From today…

Amanda Morgan from Diptyque says certain scents suit a bedtime fragrance ritual.

'The bedroom is a place of rest and tranquillity so you may want to choose a scent that helps you to relax, such as roses, which can help to lift stress. For a more romantic setting, the scent of Jasmine candle is sensual and voluptuous.'

From dawn to dusk, knowing what is a fragrance ritual and adding them into your day in various ways, will add a completely new dimension to your home, life and wellbeing.

'In the dynamic world of interior design, the art of scentscaping adds a multi-dimensional layer of sensory delight, transforming spaces into immersive environments that engage the senses and evoke emotions,' agrees Lauren. 'Utilise scented candles and reed diffusers to baseline the scent throughout your home, then use matching handwashes and lotions to carry it with you throughout the day.'

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Andrea Childs

Andrea began her journalism career at Ideal Home and is currently Editor of our sister title, Country Homes & Interiors, which celebrates modern country style. Andrea is passionate about colour and how it can transform both our homes and our sense of wellbeing, and has completed The Power of Colour course with the prestigious KLC School of Design. Andrea's career spans interiors magazines, women's lifestyle titles and newspapers. After her first job at Ideal Home, she moved on to women's magazines, Options and Frank. From there it was on to the launch of Red magazine, where she stayed for 10 years and became Assistant Editor. She then shifted into freelancing, and spent 14 years writing for everyone from The Telegraph to The Sunday Times, Livingetc, Stylist and Woman & Home. She was then offered the job as Editor of Country Homes & Interiors, and now combines that role with writing for idealhome.co.uk.