Interior Design

Fragrance layering – how scent-scaping can transform your home and wellness

Fragrance layering – also called fragrance zoning or scent-scaping – is the new at-home wellness trend you need to know about

Fragrance layering
(Image credit: diptyque)

For so many of us, our homes have become multifunctional spaces where we work, rest and play – and it's easy for boundaries to get blurred and for wellness to suffer. Fragrance layering – or scent-scaping or fragrance-zoning – is a simple and pleasant way to to divide your day, zone your home and improve wellness using different scents.

Using the best home fragrances, you can harness scent to 'zone', dividing your day and channeling the mood you need to work, wind-down, exercise or relax.

Michelle Feeney, founder of clean fragrance pioneer Floral Street, says: 'Many homes have become offices or workspaces and rooms are entertainment hubs or family pods. 

'Having to realize so many functions can make it challenging to separate moments in your life and maximize your time. 

'Evaluating the way our homes look and feel, the colors, the textures and the lighting can all be enhanced with the best candles and diffusers.'

What is fragrance layering?

The White Company Electronic Diffuser displayed on side next to a bowl of pinecones

(Image credit: The White Company)

Fragrance layering allows you to separate your day by dividing your home with various scents. This encourages you to associate one room with work and another with rest or play, meaning you are more productive when working from home, and calm when it comes to sleep. 

'Fragrance layering or scent-scaping is one of the biggest trends in interior design where you can define spaces and time with fragrance as a form of creative expression and an effective way to delineate and maximize the efficacy of different activities throughout the day,' says Michelle Feeney.

'You can use scent to reflect the change of seasons, to help you switch between work, family and leisure time or simply to enhance your favorite décor and bring your wallpaper to life. 

Emma South, Fragrance & Lifestyle Expert at Jo Malone London agrees: 'It adds a finishing touch to any room and can create clear distinctions between activities, time and moods. This all comes at a time when we need our homes to be a sanctuary of calm more than ever. Scent has such a close relationship to memory that it influences our mood and perception in a profound yet often unconscious way.

'The art of home scenting is about channeling this to add to the spatial dimensions of a property, creating and delineating new spaces within open-plan kitchen areas, and also helping to structure the day, creating scented signals that direct us from work to leisure, day to night.' 

So, fragrance layering can make you feel good about life by creating the right atmosphere to reflect how you want to feel – whether that's energized for a workout, motivated for work, or calm for relaxing in the evening. But how do you layer fragrances at home?

Fragrance layering: top tips on scent-scaping your home

candles and diffusers by Floral Street

(Image credit: Floral Street)

Want to try fragrance layering but are not sure where to begin? We've rounded up suggestions from the most prominent scent companies around the world to set your fragrance-zone in motion:

1. Plan for the scents you need throughout a typical day

'The key to successfully fragrance-layering depends on finding a scent that accompanies your plan for that time of the day. For example, you may look to an energizing, fresh fragrance to revitalize your senses to work alongside your coffee as you begin work in the morning, while a muskier scent will help you detox and fall asleep when night falls,' says Mark Winstanley, Chief Creative Officer at The White Company.

'I recommend using one scent for working hours, and a totally different one when it’s time to wind down,' says Maxine Brady, Interior Stylist at Floral Street. 'You can even incorporate a different fragrance for workout hour, for energy or for relaxation too. I find changing aromas really helps me to switch between work, family and leisure so I light different candles at different times.'

2. Know your scents – and the mood you want to create

'Scent is so personal and such a strong trigger for mood and memory as well as a tool you can use to relax or to revive. 

Fragrance layering for mornings

'Ginger and citrus notes are invigorating, and the choice of many as a work from home scent,' continues Mark Winstanley.

'If you seek energy and inspiration, I would recommend invigorating scents, such as the effervescent character of our Jo Malone London Grapefruit Home Candle, which will leave your home filled with a distinctively zesty aroma,' says Emma South, Fragrance & Lifestyle Expert at Jo Malone. 'With its abundance of sun-kissed grapefruits, complemented by rosemary and peppermint, finished with a twist of earthy moss, this uplifting and refreshing candle is perfect for a kitchen or living room.'

'Choose a citrus fragrance like grapefruit bloom for an uplifting aroma,' says Maxine Brady. 'This scent is a great motivational booster for an exercise hour. Meanwhile, grapefruit is ideal for your morning meditation. Pure and crisp, calm and soft to get you focused, calm and ready for work.

Fragrance layering for a pick-me-up:

'Long day? Vanilla bloom with it’s warm and joyful ingredients is guaranteed to enliven your mood,' says Maxine Brady.

Fragrance layering for relaxing

'At the same time, soft lavender and juniper are associated with winding down whether this is in your bathroom or bedroom,' Mark Winstanley explains.

'If you want that cozy, intimate feeling, snuggle-on-the-sofa accompaniment, midnight tulip gives a rich, relaxing spiciness elevated with damask rose,' advises Maxine Brady.

Fragrance layering for sleep:

'To help you sleep, a soothing spritz of lavender or eucalyptus on your pillow or your robe as you step out of the bath. Morning likely calls for something zestier and rejuvenating,' says Mark Winstanley.

'For bedtime, a mist of the Jo Malone London Lino Nel Vento Linen Spray on bed sheets aids the perfect night's slumber, evocative of linen blowing in a lavender breeze. Each individual will have different scents that relax them, but lavender has a universal claim in this arena as being one of the few scents proven to have soporific qualities and reduce anxiety.'

3. Use different methods to layer fragrances

'Diffusers, whether traditional or electronic, deliver a constant fragrance level that is perfect for the day. Augment your scent to encourage relaxation – candles are an ideal complement to bath soaks and salt in a bathroom, and the gentle flickering of a flame is quite hypotonic,' continues Mark Winstanley.

'Place the best candles, the best diffusers or even freshly picked flowers in different rooms to "scent zone" your home,' continues Maxine Brady. 'Don’t be afraid to move the fragrances around to reflect the time of day and your activities.'

4. Match fragrance layering to your interior design

'You can complement and bring your favorite designs to life,' says Maxine Brady. 'Tropical interiors? Choose a zesty uplifting scent in a leafy green container. Loving the cottagecore trend with its big blowsy blooms and garden-inspired prints? Then use floral fragrance such as tuberose to make it three-dimensional.'

So, fragrance-zoning allows you to indulge in new candles and diffusers, brightens your home, eases anxiety? We're bringing this wellness trend into our lives right away.  

Ruth Doherty

Ruth Doherty is an interiors writer who has worked for Homes & Gardens and Ideal Home magazines among many others.