Scent Design Is The Newest Interior Design Trend: A Guide To Getting Started

January 31, 2022

perfume bottle

It’s 2022 and this year, sensory design is king.

Unlike traditional interior design, which focuses on visual aesthetics and continuity, sensory design expands the definition of interior design to include nearly all senses—with a special emphasis on smell.

The Significance of Scent on the Mind, Body & Soul

Smell has long been touted as a major memory trigger, and for good reason too.

Due to the way our olfactory system aligns with our brain, smell has the unique benefit of bypassing traditional memory-storing processes and connecting directly to the memory-storing parts of our brain known as the amygdala and hippocampus.

That’s why the smell of a sea breeze, brownies fresh out of the oven, or a log burning in a fire attaches so strongly to memories, and creates a sense of nostalgia less often found in other sensory-based memories.

Learn how to use these scents to your advantage, to create a home that’s cozy, comforting, and completely you.

1. Match Your Aesthetics With Your Scent

When choosing a scent for your home, it’s important to first consider the look and feel of the space. For coastal houses with beach vibes and plenty of natural light, consider pairing scents such as fresh linen, lavender, and citrus. For rustic mountain homes, scents such as pine, sandalwood, and cinnamon add a warm and earthy feel to the space. 

2. Scent Map Your Home By Mood

Scent mapping is the art and science of making an experience based on setting. It’s all about knowing the vibe of each room, and how to utilize scent to enhance the mood and room personality. 

Pair lavender and lemon with the bedroom, to create a space of rest and rejuvenation. For the home office, consider adding peppermint or rosemary, which is linked with memory retention and fighting mental fatigue. Dried eucalyptus can provide a spa-like feel to any bathroom, with its immune-boosting and deodorizing properties.

3. The Product You Use Matters 

From potpourri and candles to diffusers and incense, there’s no right product to scent design your home. That said, each product has its pros and cons which should be considered before purchasing.

For Health Benefits: Essential Oil Diffuser

For the homeowner looking to gain health benefits with their signature scent, essential oil diffusers are the way to go. Offering deeper sleep, relaxation, anxiety reduction and more, essential oils distill the powers of the plants from which the oil is created for natural, therapeutic benefits.

For Variety: Scented Candles

While essential oils are a growing market, candles continue to outperform diffusers in terms of scent variety. As a home decor mainstay for generations, candles offer everything from linen-scented candles to a warm summer breeze, allowing the flexibility to truly hone in on a signature scent in a way that essential oils currently do not allow.

For The Environmentalist: Incense Sticks

Created to burn clean, incense sticks offer an all-but waste-less scent experience. Unlike scented candles – which traditionally come in candle holders that wind up as waste – or essential oil diffusers which require oil packaging and a diffuser, incense sticks require very little packaging and are traditionally made of natural wood. 

4. Experiment With Your Signature Scent 

Marketers and brand managers have long employed the use of smell to generate brand loyalty and familiarity. Known as “olfactory branding,” brands like the Hyatt Place have created signature scents to spark nostalgia the moment you step inside a Hyatt.

Hyatt’s unique scent, known as “Seamless,” utilizes a mixture of fruit, vanilla, and musk to create a feeling of welcome and calm, with other brands like Nelson Plant Food following suit with floral-scented fertilizer. 

Creating a signature scent requires time and creativity, which is why companies such as Air Aroma offer services described as “air couture”—utilizing a mixture of essential oils, aroma diffusers, and more for brands like Virgin Voyages and the Ritz-Carlton.

In every olfactory branding situation, it all comes down to knowing who you are, what scent would best represent you, and how to fit it into a cohesive package with the rest of your marketing plan. 

At the end of the day, whatever scent you personally choose for your home (olfactory branding aside) should transform your personal identity into a scent. Creating a space that rejuvenates and celebrates your uniqueness is what sets apart a nice-smelling home from a scent-designed space. Consider who you are and who you want to be, and make sure the scent you choose matches that. 

It may take time and patience, but finding a signature scent and scent-designing your space can be one of the most subtly rewarding experiences that you can do for yourself in 2022. 

Related: 6 Mood-Lifting, Eco-Friendly Ways To Make Your Home A Haven

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Photo: Dids via Pexel

Dana Drosdick
Dana is a marketer living in Saratoga Springs, NY with a passion for all things related to stewardship, faith, wellness, and personal enrichment. Her work has been featured in various Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, The Odyssey Online, and The Banner Magazine. Follow her at @danadrosdick on Instagram for foodie trends, her latest book recommendations, and far too many photos of clementines.


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