Most homes smell.
Their scents can be delicious, clean, fresh and familiar. Other times you might pick up on pets, gym shoes, fried fish or a blend.
The best approach is to blast unwanted odors rather than mask them.
“We adapt to scents and must be mindful that when others come in, what you no longer smell will seem strong to them,” said fragrance expert Helen Feygin, owner of Intuiscent, a fragrance designer and supplier in Middlesex, N.J.
To get a fresh, honest whiff of your home, you need to go and come back, said Feygin. Try an open window followed by a good cleaning. Next, layer in pleasant fragrance – carefully.
Here’s what Feygin says to consider:
Fragrance options. Add scent to your home with potpourri, spray mists, electric diffusers, reed diffusers, scented candles, warmers, and aromatic salts and crystals. Warmed scents go farther and are best in large spaces. Reeds and salts are the most stable.
Two sides of scent. Fragrance products have two components: the fragrance itself, which varies in strength and quality; and the vehicle that transports it – its base – which could be wax, oil or crystal. Both have to be good quality or could disappoint.
Don’t cheap out. Cloying, cheap fragrance is worse than none.
Know the scents that polarize. Vanilla and musk are examples. Those scents can make some people feel sick, while others can’t get enough, she said.
Be wary of warm. Heat changes scent. In the industry, the scent of an unlit candle is the “cold throw” and lit, the scent is the “hot throw.” They can be very different. When in doubt, buy a small test amount first.
What’s in a name? Don’t go by the label’s name, which can be vague. What does moonlit path smell like?
Imitate nature. The best smells are ones you can’t quite put your finger on, but they smell like nature. “Strident lemon or pine can smell like a cleaning product,” she says. “When you’re having company, that’s not what you want.”
Change smell with place. Try citrusy green scents in the kitchen, a light floral in the powder room, and something a little sexier – in the woodsy or gourmand category – in the bedroom.
What’s in? Lighter florals such as lily of the valley and citrusy combinations such as mandarin bergamot and citrus verbena are selling. Exotic fruit scents such as acai, kiwi and pomegranate are pushing aside apple and pear. Consumers are picking up scents that convey their favorite beverage, she said. “Merlot and champagne are on the rise.”
Watch what your scent projects. Feygin’s husband recently put a car freshener in his car. “He couldn’t smell it any more,” she said, “but every time I got in, I thought he’d been with another woman – the kind you pay for.”
Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through www.marnijameson.com.