Set the scene with the best fragrances to scentscape your hallway

Welcome guests or yourself into your home with these inviting and amiable scents

White hallway with bench, staircase, plant and artwork
(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

When it comes to our homes, one of the very first impressions that guests get is as soon as they walk in through your front door. Whether you’ve got quite a small hallway, all the way through to a much grander entrance or foyer, the fragrance that you choose will be the first and last thing that people remember when they visit you.

On the other hand, if your front door opens directly into your living room, don’t forget about the hallways that connect some of the other rooms in your home. We can often forget that these internal hallways will be passed through time and time again. And not utilising a fragrance here can be a missed opportunity.

Not only that, a hallway can be a great place to try out a signature scent. But if you have no idea where to begin, there are some universally beloved fragrances that are a great place to start from.

Ideally, you’ll want to strike a balance between a welcoming fragrance that invites people in, with one which still creates some impact as you first walk in through the front door. 

The best fragrances to scent your hallway

White hallway with bench, staircase, plant and artwork

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘A hallway fragrance sets the tone for your home, it's the welcoming note that greets every visitor,’ says Andrew Gaugler, founder of fragrance brand Aluxury.

‘Candle scents can have a similar effect to colours,' notes according to interior design expert at, Ryan McDonough.

'Lighter scents and colours can help to make your hallway seem larger, whereas heavier scents or dark colours can make the room feel smaller. With this in mind, you want to focus on using lighter scents in the hallway.'

For interior hallways a light, universally enjoyable fragrance can be the best way to go. But which scents did the fragrance experts all resoundingly agree on? Keep reading to find out. 

1. Clean cotton

Flay lay of cotton and wool

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you’re looking for an inoffensive scent that practically everyone will enjoy, embrace the freshness that comes from clean cotton and crisp linen.

‘You want your hallway to smell clean, fresh, and inviting,' Ryan advises. 'Clean cotton is a great scent for the hallway as it smells very clean and welcoming. This is a great generic scent that would appeal to the majority of the people that come in and out of your home.'

2. Light florals

Collection of vases and jars filled with flowers

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

‘Light floral scents, such as jasmine, orange blossom, rose, and peony, are great for smaller rooms and narrow hallways,' notes interior design expert Ryan. 'These scents will not only smell great but will also make the room seem much lighter and more spacious.'

'Floral notes like rose or jasmine can suggest a setting of elegance and tranquillity,’ adds Andreaw from Aluxury.

‘You can’t go wrong with a soft floral to create a welcoming aroma that sets a comforting first impression when guests enter your home,’ outlines Laura Slatkin, founder of fragrance brand NEST New York.

3. More nature based scents

Collection of glass vases filled with foliage

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

If floral fragrances aren’t your thing, there are a few other nature based scents that work just as well in small spaces like hallways.

‘Fragrances with a hint of greenery, such as bamboo, green tea, or freshly cut grass, can add a touch of nature to the hallway,’ says Alex Hall, founder of Born of Botanics. 'Meanwhile ocean-inspired fragrance can bring a sense of tranquillity and freshness.’

If your front door leads into your garden, this continuation of natural scents will create a pleasant journey for you and your guests.

Are there any fragrances that should be avoided in hallways?

‘Avoid choosing anything too overpowering,’ interior design expert Ryan recommends. ‘Also avoid choosing anything too unique as what smells great to you may be a big turn off to your guests. Choose scents that are well-known for being liked such as clean cotton, floral scents.’ 

Should I opt for a reed diffuser or candle in a hallway?

Given that you don’t actually spend a lot of time in a hallway, other than when you pass through it, it can be difficult to keep an eye on the naked flame of a candle.

‘While candles deliver a rich release of scent, reed diffusers should be your go-to in this area – they’re less needy, you can leave them unattended while they work to scent your space,’ suggests Tajinder Banwait, founder of Urban Apothecary London.

‘Just remember to turn the reeds once a week or whenever you want to increase the burst of scent.’

'You can also consider more subtle options like light plug-in air fresheners, or potpourri,’ adds fragrance expert Alex. 'You want to avoid using solid scents or products that may release a lot of fragrance at once, as this could be overwhelming in a narrow space like a hallway.’

Ellis Cochrane

Ellis Cochrane has been a Freelance Contributor for Ideal Home since 2023. She graduated with a Joint Honours degree in Politics and English from the University of Strathclyde and between her exams and graduation, started a lifestyle blog where she would share what she was buying, reading and doing. In doing so, she created opportunities to work with some of her dream brands and discovered the possibility of freelance writing, after always dreaming of writing for magazines when she was growing up.

Since then, she has contributed to a variety of online and print publications, covering everything from celebrity news and beauty reviews to her real passion; homes and interiors. She started writing about all things homes, gardens and interiors after joining Decor & Design Scotland as a Freelance Journalist and Social Media Account Manager in 2021. She then started freelancing at House Beautiful, Country Living and in Stylist’s Home team. Ellis is currently saving to buy her first home in Glasgow with far too many Pinterest boards dedicated to her many design ideas and inspirations.