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19 best home scents in 2021, according to designers

Your house will smell so good, you may never want to leave.
Woman with purebred dog relaxing on bed at home
IzaLysonArts / 500px / Getty Images

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Studies have shown that scenting your home can improve your mood, enhance relaxation, increase alertness and boost productivity — let alone get rid of nasty odors!

“With so many of us working, eating, studying and relaxing at home these days, who wouldn’t want to take advantage of the power of scent?” questions interior designer Tiffany Brooks, host of HGTV’s $50K Three Ways. “I make my own air freshener by filling an 8-ounce spray bottle with water, mixing in a couple of drops of rubbing alcohol and then adding 10 to 20 drops of an essential oil. I shake the bottle and then get to work spraying my sofas, pillows, curtains, closets, and bathrooms so that everything smells great.”

Don’t have the time to make your own scent? No worries! We asked top designers to share the one product that has brought calming, luxurious aromas into their homes and enhanced the ways they live.

Designer-recommended products to keep your home smelling fresh

1. diptyque Paris Berries Scented Oval

New York City-based interior designer Emma Beryl adores these scented diptyque discs. “I walked into a client’s house a few years ago and was struck by how delicious her home smelled. She explained she had placed these wax perfume discs in all her rooms and before I knew it, I was buying them for my own place. My favorite is Berries, which is scented with roses and black current leaves and smells feminine and floral but not overly sweet. I hang them in closets and behind curtains from their black rope — just make sure you keep [them] out of direct heat or sunlight to prevent melting.”

2. Lafco New York Duchess Peony

“I love to burn this beautiful candle when I have friends or family over," says owner and principal designer Kerri Pilchik. "[This Lafco candle] smells like what you’d expect a peony to smell like — a soft scented rose — and comes in a colored handblown glass vessel I use for flowers after the candle has been burned. Peony flowers only bloom in the spring, yet with this candle, you can enjoy them all year round. I love lighting it in my living room, bathroom and the kitchen to eliminate cooking odors.”

3. ID Style Lemongrass & Coconut

“I’m drawn to candles that have an aromatic scent to them, particularly ones with wooden wicks that burn more slowly and make a cozy crackling sound when they’re lit," says Brenda Danso, lead designer at DB Interior Design. "This one [from ID Style] will make your house smell like lemongrass and coconut — great for any room, but I like to burn it in my office and bedroom when I need to relax.”

4. P.F. Candle Co. Teakwood & Tobacco Car Fragrance

Ariel Richardson, founder and lead designer of ASR Design Studio in California, prefers a fragrance in a compact package. “I first came across the spray and candle versions of this scent [from P.F. Candle Co.], which both come in cool apothecary-styled amber jars that you’ll want to display. But then I discovered their cool little sister sachets which I hang in closets, my bathroom, even the rear-view mirror of my car. The fragrant teakwood and tobacco scent isn’t overpowering — even my husband is a fan.”

5. Preserved Eucalyptus Branches

Dallas-based interior designer Heather Fujikawa prefers to spruce up her home — literally and aromatically — with some greenery. "I use eucalyptus in every one of my client's homes because it looks so fresh [and] brings greenery indoors, but then dries so beautifully. But, most importantly, eucalyptus has a spa-like scent — it works great in a kitchen, bathroom, wherever you place it."

6. Aera The Aera Diffuser

“I can’t imagine living without this app-activated diffuser — so much so I own three!" says Long Island-based interior designer Marlaina Teich. "I have kids and pets and don’t like some of the odors that come along with real life. With this you simply install the app, plug in the diffuser, connect it to your home network and you’re ready to go."

7. Sandoval Love Interior Aromatic

Gina Gutierrez, founder and lead designer at Gina Rachelle Design in San Francisco, loves this fresh aromatic from Sandoval. “I was gifted this natural spray, which is free of synthetic perfumes and additives, from one of my designers and fell in love with how it fills my space with a blend of scents including white neroli flowers, ylang ylang, jasmine, vetiver, and patchouli. I like to spritz it on my sheets, upholstery or simply into the air, and I’ll even pour a few drops in a diffuser."

8. Pura Smart Device

New York-based interior designer Courtney Sempliner relies on Pura's smart diffuser to make her home smell like a French chateau. "I control this plug-in diffuser via an app to customize how much and how often I want to scent my house — I can adjust the fragrance’s intensity and also set it to off when I’m away. I keep it in my office and fill it with the calming and therapeutic scent of lavender, a fragrance that reminds me of happy days traveling in Provence.”

9. Nest New York Grapefruit

“This spray, bar none, is the best!" proclaims New Jersey-based designer Karen B. Wolf. "I discovered [this Nest fragrance] in one of my client’s bathrooms and now I use it in my own home. It has a clean and citrusy scent that blends pink pomelo grapefruit, lily of the valley and coriander blossom."

10. Zodax Illuminaria Porcelain Diffuser Spanish Dahlia

Louisiana-based interior designer Lance Thomas loves this porcelain diffuser that doubles as decor. “I place this porcelain flower into the smoky glass container and the citrus aroma instantly begins to permeate the room. It has pear and mandarin orange notes and sandalwood undertones, giving it an intensity that makes me feel like I’ve been whisked away to an exotic hotel. Plus, it looks like a beautiful jewel on a stack of books in your living room or on a bathroom vanity.”

11. Antica Farmacista Lemon, Verbena, & Cedar Diffuser

“I received this as a housewarming gift when I moved into a very musty smelling midcentury house and it instantly freshened up the air," interior designer Mary Patton said. "You simply stick these beautiful reeds into the bottle, they absorb the fragrance, and then release lemongrass, mandarin, Italian verbena and lavender scents into the air. You can flip the reeds daily for a stronger scent or rotate them weekly for a more subtle aroma.”

12. Jenni Kayne Medium Cedar Ceramic Diffuser

Toronto-based interior designer Tiffany Leigh Piotrowski adores this ceramic diffuser from Jenni Kayne. “The ceramic beads inside this diffuser are filled with natural essential oils and earthy scents like fir needle and cedarwood. I keep it in my foyer, creating a signature scent for everyone who enters my home to enjoy.”

13. Plant Therapy 7&7 Essential Oil Set

“I burn these sweet essential oils in the diffusers I keep in my home office and bedroom," said Nancy Charbonneau, principal designer and CEO of Charbonneau Interiors. "With this set, you get multiple fragrance combinations, but I love the freesia scent as it reminds me of fresh-cut grass, being outdoors in the sunshine, and working in the garden. I even put a few drops in my vacuum cleaner to make every room in my house smell fresh.”

14. Jenni Kayne Currant Glass Candle

“I discovered this hand-poured candle when I walked into the company’s store in New York City and knew I wanted my home to smell the same way!," said New York City-based interior designer Becky Shea. "It comes in four scents — musk, ash, cedar and currant (my favorite with a mix of bergamot, cassis, white rose, and oakmoss notes). I have them all over in my house — in both my bedrooms, entryway, kitchen, dining room and bathrooms. I [also] love that they’re long-lasting — they can burn up to 80 hours.”

15. Sandoval Wood Interior Aromatic

“I’m a fan of woodsy scents so this mist is right up my alley — it literally smells like a walk in the forest," said New York-based interior designer Michelle Zacks. "I spray it into the air throughout my home and on my bed linens and in my closets. I also love that the bottle is handmade and recyclable.”

16. Miko Quiet Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter

Overstock.com Lead Stylist Amber Dunford likes to keep her interior's air crisp and clean. "I’ve found that I value the fresh smelling and clean air from a purifier being home so much these days, knowing they can remove pollutants, toxins and allergens that not only cause odors but can disrupt your health, mood and sleep. I’ve placed one in my bedroom and another by the entrance to my home to keep the area smelling fresh at the point where guests enter."

17. Capri Blue Volcano Matte Black Jar Candle

“Imagine if oranges, lemons and limes were mixed together with mountain greens — yep, this candle!" said Stephanie Lindsey, interior designer at the Austin-based Etch Design Group. "I have three kids and this candle masks odors and creates a freshly scented house without overpowering the room. As an interior designer, I obviously select items for my home that are pleasing to the eye — the fact that this one comes in a modern container makes it a win-win.”

18. Aromini Nebulizing Scent Diffuser

California-based interior designer Dina Bandman loves this sleek diffuser from Aromini. “I couldn't get over how amazing my best friend's house smelled, and she told me it was thanks to this diffuser. Now I have this stylish and whisper-soft diffuser in my living room. It uses a cold air diffusion technology to break down the fragrance oil — my favorite is the London Aroma Oil which mixes leather, tobacco, cedar, and vanilla notes — into a very fine dry mist, reducing airborne allergens. Plus, you can sync it with your smartphone to control the scent’s intensity levels.”

19. Otherland Garden Party Collection Verdant Verve

Interior designer Kate Ives Marshall loves these chic scents from Otherland. “This candle has a thoroughly modern aroma yet remains unisex with the inclusion of neroli blossom and crisp, herbaceous thyme and oakmoss. The scent will remind you of springtime all year long, while the emerald jar and trendy floral label will dress up any bookshelf or table.”

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