Things To Consider When Scenting A Home Space
To call a place home suggests it is a sanctuary of sorts. Often, but not always, it is where we go to sleep each night. There may be other places in this world that we call home, like a childhood home, or a holiday home. Sometimes certain people feel like home to us. That feeling is the essence of sanctuary; a place of safety. A place in or around which the heart and soul feel safe, whether it be a place or a person.
A sanctuary is furnished with the familiar - things that have warmed the soul before, even if we can't specifically identify what these are. This coming together of familiar elements has an effect on us. We can usually offer some kind of description for the scent of a place we call home. In our very first home, the womb, we become familiar with the chemical secretions present in the amniotic fluid which likewise seem to present themselves as odors around the nipple, instinctively guiding us to food after birth. If we take this example alone, apart from the survival instinct mechanism, smell can be a way to bring us home to comfort. Home to a place of belonging and home to ourselves, because being drawn to or repelled by certain smells has to do with our personal lived experiences.
When choosing scent for the home, consider the activities that take place in each room and how the scent can help to either elevate or alleviate these activities, rather than overwhelm. Cooking and food preparation is an activity that forms part of the heart of the home, because it's often enjoyed together and prepared by someone who is looking out for our well-being (making a meal for ourselves is also an act of caring for the self). The smell of food cooking is comforting - we want its aroma to waft by and excite the taste buds and digestive juices. If we are scenting the home with an over-powering candle, incense or room spray that clings to the air, the scent experience becomes confused - like inhaling a spray of body fragrance through the mouth by mistake. Be mindful about where heavily scented candles are placed and choose to burn incense outside of meal times.
It's lovely to be able to spray something in the kitchen to dispel a fowl odour coming from a just emptied bin. Ideally we'd like the spray to do its thing and then dissipate. Synthetic sprays will cling to the air a lot longer and more intensely than natural sprays. So while their scent dispels odours, fresh air coming in through the windows will struggle to compete with a synthetic spray, versus the naturally scented kind.
Home cleaning products also add scent to a home. A home can smell too sanitised - but perhaps this cooler scent is comforting to some, and that's okay. The consideration here is the 'clean' layer of synthetic scent that becomes an ingredient for the home's scent scape. Some laundry products and fabric softeners add a layer of scent to the body, which we may become accustomed to, while others sense these scent trails more definitively on us.
There is no right or wrong way to use scented products in the home, but I find that there is an element of empowering myself as the designer for my life, when I choose to curate a way of living that is in integrity with how I visualise well-being and natural beauty as pillars for sustainability and longevity, in my personal journey. I choose to infuse my activities with products that are closer to nature because they are subtle but stimulating, and they do not disrupt the natural growth process of the other gifts from nature I keep close, whether plants, pets or children.
I leave you with these notes from my own scent journeying as an invitation to all of us to bring awareness to the choices we make, especially in the seemingly subtle ways we consume, curate and carry out our chores.