Best home fragrance: tested by a master perfumer

By investing in some of the best home fragrances, you can instantly transform your home's mood

a handful of the best home fragrances on display
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Investing in the best home fragrance is my kind of self care. Buying a simple candle or luxury reed diffuser can transform your space with luxurious scents.

As a master perfumer, fragrance is the first thing I notice about a home. Some people seek out aromatic and herbal scents, evocative of spas and relaxation. Others look for light and bright florals to lift the mood of a room and others diffuse rich and woody scents into their homes. Most of us flit between different fragrance families, depending on our mood and interior style.

Of course, when choosing a home fragrance, it all boils down to personal preference. Whilst there are niche, specialist fragrances on the market, there are also plenty of fail-safe scents guaranteed to make your home smell nice.

Whether you're looking for a subtle, striking, or in-between scent, we've rounded up our favorite, tried-and-tested fragrances. They're all versatile, excellent for daily use as well as for special occasions. Here, we've listed reed diffusers, candles, and alternative methods to scent you home, so that you can choose your perfect home fragrance.

Best Diffusers

Reed diffuser on a surface

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If you're caught in a debate between scent types, I've compared candles to reed diffusers before. Whilst I love the atmospheric glow of a candle, reed diffusers are the most consistent, practical, and efficient way to scent your home. 

You can flip the reeds for a stronger scent, but my top fix suggestions won't need it. They're strong without being overpowering and they all smell beautiful. Nic Mastenbroek, expert perfumer, recommends placing diffuser sticks near sinks. 'Whether it's in the kitchen or bathroom, whenever I stop to wash my hands, I'm greeted by a fabulous fragrance'. 

Below, I've listed my favorite fragrances. There's one for every scent family and room type. Now the difficult decision is choosing between them.

A headshot of master perfumer Nic Mastenbroek
Nic Mastenbroek

Nic is part of the Mastenbroek dynasty and has been making candles for five years. He often looks at perfume and candles from a slightly different perspective to Ruth, so they make an excellent and well-informed team.

Best Candles

A table with The White Company Candles on

(Image credit: The White Company)

If you like diffusers, but you're looking for more of an occasion scent or atmosphere setter, candles are the ones for you. When burned, they're stronger than diffusers and their gentle flicker gives a coziness like no other.

Ruth Mastenbroek, master perfumer, recommends candles 'for creating an ambience, especially in the Fall and Winter seasons. They exhude a fantastic aura of scent in a room at the light of a match, and then can be snuffed out again'.

Here are just a few of my favorites. Make sure that you look after them, following general candle care instructions, and you'll enjoy their beautiful scents for a long time.

Master Perfumer
Ruth Mastenbroek
Master Perfumer
Ruth Mastenbroek

Ruth is an incredible perfumer. She's created fragrances for world-renowned brands like Jo Malone and is one of the only independent female perfumers in the world. After studying Chemistry at Oxford University, she took undertook classical perfume training in Grasse. 

Alternative Ways To Scent Your Home

A room spray top with the lid being taken off

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You don't have to use a candle or reed diffuser to scent your room. There are plenty of other options. You can use essential oils in an electronic diffuser, a room spray, incense cones, or wax melts and a candle warmer like this one from QVC

Master perfumer, Ruth Mastenbroek says that these alternative methods 'have grown in popularity over the last couple of years because you can mix and match the scent much more. Usually smaller than a candle, you can use them in any room for a short and sharp burst of fragrance'. 

Rather than place your scent diffuser in the center of the room, try spraying your curtains and linen. When the material moves, you'll experience wafts of fragrance. It's subtle and beautiful.


How can I make my home smell nice all the time?

There are lots of tips for ways to make your home smell nice naturally. However, investing in the best home fragrances can elevate your rooms even further.

What is the best home fragrance to use?

This is a personal choice. If you want your home to smell like a spa, look for herbal and aromatic candles. If you want a sweet, consistent, floral scent, opt for a floral diffuser.

What do hotels use to smell good?

Lots of hotels use a scent diffuser in the air conditioning. They'll choose a scent and consistently release it into the rooms. You can emulate this with an electronic diffuser or with other products such as candles and room sprays.

Where should I put my home fragrance?

It's imperative to consider the location of where you're looking to store your fragrance. For the living area: it's best to consider your aesthetic or decor; minimalists will want to reach for woody scents, whereas traditional settings require a scent floral-based. 

With kitchens: it's best to reach for something lighter and airier; the last thing you want to do is compete with food aromas, so we suggest a spicy scent or subtle aqua. 

Now, in the case you're shopping for your bedroom: opt for an aroma that's lavender or vanilla-based; you'll want to calm your senses and create a peaceful oasis. 

What's the difference between a diffuser and a candle?

I've written an article which compares reed diffusers and candles in great detail. In short, diffusers are much safer, more efficient, straightforward, and sometimes more effective. If you strive to experience aromatherapy with ease, buy yourself an essential oil diffuser. 

It's believed that the benefits are not just more sustainable than oils but much more in-tune with our senses than candles; but in total, it boils down to personal preference. 

Our Verdict

Candle, diffuser, and flowers on a table

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There are lots of ways to scent your home. From candles and diffusers to room sprays and incense. These will suit different rooms and different homes, but all of them are effective. 

Each type has their place in the home. Diffusers are my staple, delivering consistent scents in each room, especially my bedroom and bathroom. I use my candles for special occasions, or when I want to relax. When I want to give my room an extra fragrant spritz, or want to layer some fragrances together, I'll use my room spray.

I have personally tried and tested these fragrances and can recommend them all. None will be too overpowering or weak for any room. The most important part is choosing the fragrance notes which you enjoy the most.

Laura Honey
eCommerce Editor

Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.  

With contributions from