Since interior design is generally covered in glossy print magazines, blogs and video TV programs, when we think about interior design most people tend to think about it in a visual way. But to really make a difference and have a positive impact in our lives the places where we live should touch all of our senses.

If you have been following these articles I share with you, we constantly talk about sight when we talk about choosing colors, styles and aesthetics. We have also mentioned about the importance of touch when we explained the role of different textures . We have even covered our sense of hearing through the importance of silence and music in our homes. Today, let’s focus on our sense of smell, and how different aromas can help our spaces feel home.

It is known that among all of our senses, smell is the one that has the strongest link to memories. For instance, the perfume of a dear friend or family member: years can pass by without you experiencing it but as soon as you smell it again that person will come immediately to your mind. In other words, scents and aromas can bring back moments and places from your life and set the mood for new experiences. This is one of the reasons it is so important to think about our sense of smell for our homes.

If our space smells fresh, exciting, invigorating, our overall feeling will be a positive one. If it smells bad, musty or offensive we are immediately uneasy.

So, the very first thing to do is to “tackle the bad” and take care of any source of bad odors even if you don’t feel them. The longer we live close to any certain odor, the less likely we are to realize how bad they actually can be. We get used to those stimuli and experience sensory adaptation. This is normal and happens to all of our senses when overexposed to something. So we better take care while we can.

Fight the moisture: Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting if you live in a very humid place, think about using moisture-absorbing crystals mainly for small areas like bathroom and closets. Be diligent about regularly changing towels and also sponges.

Another good tip: sprinkle some baking soda on rugs. Try to do it especially in high traffic areas like family rooms and hallways, letting it sit for at least 15 minutes. Then vacuum as normal and enjoy the clean, dry, odor-free air.

Garbage under control: This can be obvious, but be proactive about those spaces that usually generate unpleasant odors. Don’t simply get used to them, as your home will repel your loved ones. Cleaning the inside of the garbage can at least once a month and the litter boxes and diaper pails weekly makes a huge difference. Pet beds should also be part of the cleaning routine together with any storage rooms.

Finally, your fridge: don’t forget that condiments do not last forever. Wipe down the interior of the fridge at least twice a month and toss away anything that is past its time.

Beware of  fabrics: all kinds of textiles like pillows, bed covers, linens, upholstery and carpets tend to be magnets for smells. When any textile suffers a spill or stain, the first thing that is always recommended is to “attack” it right away.

For maintenance, a professional steam-clean for your upholstery and carpets once a year would be ideal, otherwise, try at-home upholstery cleaner. For throw pillows, bed linens, and window covers check the fabric care labels to see if they can be machine-washed. If not, there are many “pros” out there that can get the job done.


For some, who get overwhelmed by too much fragrance, keeping unpleasant odors at bay is all that is needed. For others, who love some special scents, this is just the beginning of making their places feel like home.

Here we have some good tips to “bring in the good” for all tastes.

Starting with the basics: Are you a big fan of a perfect “smell like nothing” place? Probably you should look for odor neutralizers that don’t add a scent. Activated charcoal filters that come in small bags are great neutralizers for garbages, diaper pails and litter boxes.

Bring the outside in: Indoor plants, besides cleaning the air, can bring a fresh scent into your home. You can try jasmine, hyacinth, gardenia or even a lemon tree.

Weather permitting, always open the windows, it’s the easiest way to bring freshness in. Even just for an hour or two! You can get rid of cooking smells, and it will make your entire space feel cleaner, lifting the mood in your home.

More than candle:  Candles are one of the most popular and powerful ways to add a nice scent to your home and there is nothing wrong with candles. But essential oil diffusers can be a milder way to scent your home. And you can even combine different oils creating your own unique scent.

Fresh scent with technology: Home fragrance has come a long way. And thanks to bluetooth compatibility and app control functions, today’s scenting can be also systematic—with features like timed spritzes, customizable strengths and aromas to evoke every ambience. There are many different smart scent systems out there that can spark your senses with just a couple of clicks.

Finally, don’t forget that strong scents usually are not the best. Actually the opposite is true. More subtle aromas tend to stick with us for longer and bring better memories. So, instead of wanting people to feel one specific aroma, you should aim for a feeling of “smells nice”.

I hope you will find some of these tips useful when you feel like freshly decorating your home with your rediscovered sense of smell!


PS: If you are interested in a personal story of an expat that knows the importance of smell all too well to make her children feel at home, just go to this article

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