5 things people with great-smelling guest rooms always do

Try these tips for fragrant and festive guest bedrooms

bedroom in country cottage at christmas
(Image credit: Future PLC)

The bed is made, the pillows plumped and there's a spare toothbrush on the dressing table, but there's one final touch that will make your Christmas vistiors feel well and truly welcome and that is a signature guest bedroom scent.

 A gorgeous scent is what will take your guest bedroom ideas to next-level luxury. A classic trick used by hotels, scenting a room is one of the easiest ways to make your guest room feel like a hotel

'Filling a guest room with fragrance is a simple but effective way to set the mood for a comfy and unforgettable stay. It’s the ultimate cherry on top of making your guests feel extra welcome,' says Kamila Miller from home fragrance brand, Charles Farris. 'While personal preferences vary, you can’t go too far wrong with a scent that evokes feelings of tranquillity, freshness and even luxury,' Kamila continues. 

Guest room scenting tips and tricks

There's more to scenting a room than lighting a candle or putting out a bowl of pot pourri, as the tips below show. But making that little extra effort is worth it for creating a happy, harmonious space for your guests.

'No matter how you incorporate scent into your guest room, it will transform the space into a place where someone can feel safe and welcome,' says Kamila. 'This atmosphere of warmth and hospitality is something guests will cherish for a long time after they leave.'

1. Spritz a room spray an hour before guests arrive

room spray on shelf

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Experts agree that 60 minutes before is the perfect time to scent the room ahead of your guests' arrival – but even if you're using the best home fragrance, be careful not to overdo it.

'Try not to use strong scents that overwhelm guests as soon as they enter a room. Instead, consider using a reed diffuser, lighting a scented candle, or gently spraying the bed with a fabric spray an hour or two before their arrival,' advises Kamila Miller from Charles Farris. 'This ensures a delicate and pleasant scent that subtly fills the space without overpowering the senses.'

Tilly Wood, founder of natural fragrance company Aja Botanicals, agrees. 'I always advise lighting the candle at least an hour before guests arrive, as the best "scent throw" comes from the melted wax.' An extra tip: always allow the candle to reach a full melt pool, so that it burns evenly next time you light it.

Lit candles shouldn't be left unattended, so why not light it while you make the bed and do the final guest room preparations, then blow it out when you're done, shutting the door so the fragrance is captured in the space?

2. Use ambient scent for long-lasting fragrance

scented candle soap and pot pourri

(Image credit: Future PLC)

There are lots of incidental ways to make your home smell amazing, with little to no effort on your part. Spritzing sheets with laundry spray, leaving out a festive potpourri or basket of guest soaps, cleaning the carpet with baking powder, and cleaning the windows with lemon will all scent the room. And you don't even have to light a candle for it to add its fragrance to the atmosphere – just having one in the room can leave a lovely background aroma.

'Candles and candle refills work perfectly to scent a room even without lighting,' says Ailis Topley, founder of Pott Candles.

3. Place scents in different spots around the room

white wood dressing table at christmas

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Scent layering with the best diffusers and the best scented candles is the ultimate way to create a great-smelling guest bedroom, and it's a technique the experts we spoke to swear by.

'Don’t limit your fragrance choice to a single location in your guest bedroom. Place fragrances in different areas of the room to enhance the overall experience,' suggests Kamila Miller from Charles Farris. 'For example, a subtle diffuser on the dressing table can offer a refreshing scent while guests get ready, and a candle on the bedside table or window sill can offer a comforting aroma while they unwind.'

Tilly Wood from Aja Botanicals seconds the 'diffuser for a dressing table, candle for the bedside' mantra.

'A dressing table works better than a bedside for a diffuser, as the scent may be a bit strong for by the bed,' Tilly says. 'Better to have the candle there, especially so you remember to blow it out before you sleep!'

4. Match scents to the festive mood

burgundy and orange scented candles

(Image credit: Melt)

Christmas is a time for nostalgia and comfort – so why not bring that atmosphere alive in a guest bedroom with the best Christmas scents?

'Now more than ever, Christmas makes us want to indulge in some good old-fashioned nostalgia. It’s scientifically proven that our sense of smell is extremely powerful for evoking memories, and classic Christmas fragrances can create a feeling of warmth and togetherness,' says Kamila Miller.

'Once your home is alive with the energy of friends and family, scent is there to elevate the atmosphere to new heights. Classic notes of pine, orange, and cinnamon work wonders to complete that Christmas scene and invigorate the senses.'

5. Provide a 'wardrobe' of scents

home scents and perfume

(Image credit: Future)

Fragrance zoning is the expert hack for changing the atmosphere in different parts of your home, so you may want to choose a specific 'Christmas bedroom' scent for your guest bedroom – or ask your visitors what their favourite scent is and buy a specific home fragrance for them. 

Another approach is to give them a selection, or wardrobe, of scents to choose from, to suit the mood of the moment.

'In the day, I like to balance out the indulgence of the pre-Christmas festivities, so I use a fragrance with a herbaceous scent with notes of angelica and fir to lift the mood and cleanse the space,' says Tilly from Aja Botanicals.

Whatever scent tricks you use, your guests will know you've added a touch of Christmas sparkle to their stay with you. As Tilly says: 'Fragrances help create the atmosphere that you want, but it’s also your intentions when setting up a lovely guest room that helps to give the room a beautiful energy.'

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.