The secret power of using scents and fragrances in your home

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Creating ambience through scents at homeHouse Beautiful / Mark Scott

Scenting your living space can transform your surroundings – so from the awakening fragrance of zesty fruit to the musky cosiness of spicy aromas, we're unveiling the secrets of ambience setters, mood boosters and holistic healers, note by note… and room by room.

• All natural citrus

If there's one scent that can instantly transport you to that aperitivo golden hour in an instant, it’s the awakening tang of citrusy fruits. When infused in water, slices of orange, lemon and grapefruit transform water into a vitamin-rich, detoxifying beverage. On a warm day, a jug-full on hand will help to keep hydration levels in check.

Besides its fresh aroma, lemon is a natural de-greasing agent and can be applied directly to kitchen and bathroom surfaces to make them shine. The citric acid and antiseptic properties are also ideal for banishing smells from wooden chopping boards and descaling kettles. Mix with baking soda to cut through the most stubborn stains and grease. Just make sure you rinse well with water afterwards and this eco-friendly hack will have you looking for excuses to clean.

lemon and limes in green ceramic bowl, blueberries on green plate, patterned platteres wooden salad serving sppons, wooden table, outdoor living, al fresco dining, ceramic, china,
House Beautiful/Dan Duchars

• Spicy notes

There's nothing like filling your home with the warming aromas of ground spices and smoky fragrances, particularly on a dark winter's evening when you're in need of a mood-boost. These spiced statements can be powerful, especially in smaller rooms – choose spice noted candles, incense and diffusers for bathrooms or hallways.

By adding a few drops of essential oils to your bath you can instantly turn an ordinary soak into a divinely fragrance-filled affair. Drift away with exotic, smoky spices such as nutmeg, vetiver and dark amber, which boast muscle-soothing benefits and offer a moment of escapism. The natural warmth of spice-powered formulas might just be the joy-inducing self-care you require after a long day.

top view of a rustic wooden table with nutmeg seeds and ground nutmeg a small grater is beside a container filled with ground and cracked nutmeg seeds predominant color is brown high resolution 42mp studio digital capture taken with sony a7rii and zeiss batis 40mm f20 cf lens
fcafotodigital - Getty Images

• Floral fancy

Floral aromas have been used as mood enhancers for centuries, known for evoking romantic and loving feelings. Rest assured, we've stepped away from old-fashioned, powdery blends and these days it's easy to find good rose fragrances which combine the delicate floral scent with woodier notes to feel more modern. Fresh floral arrangements in a vase at home will boost your mood with their heady fragrance as well as looking lovely.

Lavender is an excellent choice, well-known for calming the mind, body and soul. Use it in the bedroom to aid deep sleep and relaxation. A daily spritz on your pillow will become your body's invitation to switch off. Make your own potpourri with dried lavender buds or roses and a few drops of essential oil, and place in a small bowl or secure in a pouch to pop in your drawers.

house beautiful shot lifestyle image of bunch of flowers detail
Bunches of flowers are well worth investing in for their mood enhancing fragranceMark Scott

• Botanical bounty

Simple yet effective, an assortment of potted fragrant herbs positioned on a windowsill will bring the freshness in. Throw open the windows and allow a gentle breeze to diffuse the natural herby aromas around the house, and counter any unwanted lingering cooking smells. Plus fresh herbs are of course very useful to have on hand to instantly add more interesting flavours to simple meals, or to jazz up a cocktail.

Sprigs of thyme, rosemary and sage can also be dried and suspended in the kitchen for a rustic Provence kitchen vibe – they won't lose their scent even when dried. Mint is a lovely choice to make detoxifying tea, or provide a cleansing freshness in the bathroom when used in cleaners, soaps and diffusers.

dÉcoupage planterswindowsill with assorted recycled household metal food cans turned into stylish indoor herb containers
Pots of herbs in the kitchen are great for enhancing your culinary efforts as well as filling your home with uplifting aromasRachel Whiting

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