Things people with nice-smelling family rooms do – 4 tips that every host should know

Experts advise their best methods for keeping a family room odor free and smelling consistently fragrant, with customisable choices that suit your whole family

Family rooms
(Image credit: Tim Waltman / Rowland Roques O'Neil / Jared Kuzia)

Family rooms are the social hub of most households, and it's unsurprising that a room that sees so much use may not always smell the freshest. This is why it's important to maintain some cleaning rituals and employ some air freshening and fragrancing methods that will ensure you will have a nice-smelling family room.

Stepping into a room and finding yourself immersed in a fragrant scent is what every homeowner longs for, and when you are regularly hosting guests having a pleasant-smelling living space is very important. Family rooms often have smells from food, pets, dust build-up, and more, so to keep it smelling nice there are some regular practices that you should be engaged in as well as some low-maintenance family room ideas that will introduce fragrant aromas into your family room. 

Follow our expert tips to naturalize odors and make a home smell nice and fresh. 

1. Maintain a regular cleaning schedule

Living room with large coffee table and round white sofa

(Image credit: Brian Wetzel)

The main thing that people with nice-smelling family rooms do is clean them on a regular basis. While this may seem apparent, the importance of frequent cleaning cannot be underestimated. 

Family room furniture will often be one of the first things that will start to smell. With dust and outdoor dirt being transferred onto sofas via clothing, spills, and pet hair all embedding odors into your sofa, this will mean you should regularly clean upholstery. 

Jacky Chou, principal and director at Archute says, 'Prioritize cleanliness to maintain the freshness of furniture and carpets, especially for things like dust and pet hair. Regular vacuuming, spot-cleaning stains, and using baking soda or vinegar for deodorizing ensure a musty-free and hygienic environment. Frequent washing or replacing of slipcovers, pillowcases, and throws further keeps their furnishings fresh and inviting.' You can also steam clean your sofas every 6 months to lift stains and odors.

Baking soda is a powerful odor-absorbing agent that can be sprinkled onto smelly spots and hoovered off. This is an easy task that can be done as regularly as smells being to emerge. You will also want to use mild, natural cleaning products to maintain a fresh aroma, rather than harsh chemicals since these can leave an unpleasant smell of their own.

Principal and Director at Archute
Jacky Chou
Principal and Director at Archute
Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is the Principal and Director at Archute, an editorial magazine about architecture, home and garden. They have been referenced by The New York Times, Bustle, House & Home, Bloomberg, and Angi. Jacky also his own an online interior design company as well called Laurel & Wolf.

living room with chunky, rounded furniture pieces, pale blue sofa and lounge chair, pale pink ottoman, metallic side table, dark wood flooring with rug, gray painted walls with high ceiling and painted beams, artwork, tv and fireplace on walls, golden wall lights and large pendant light

(Image credit: Rowland Roques O'Neil)

If you have any pets in your house, cleaning their areas is important to preventing pet-related odors. Jacky Chou advises: 'Use pet-friendly cleaning products to eliminate odors and keep the space hygienic. Additionally, wash your pet's bedding, toys, and accessories frequently to prevent any lingering smells and create a harmonious and pleasant environment for both their family and furry companions.' You should not let wet pets onto sofas, since this is one of the main ways pet smells can become embedded in your upholstery.

Nathaly Vieira, founder of Inspire Clean suggests, 'You can also add an extra layer of pleasant freshness to your family room by rotating and airing out the throw rugs that are found in the area. I recommend flipping and rotating the rugs every month or two, as well as airing them out in a sunny spot outside for a few hours. This will help the rug maintain its freshness and smell while also preventing any dirt or dust from settling into the fibers.'

Nathaly Vieira continues: 'I also suggest wiping down any electronics that are found in the room. Electronics can be a breeding ground for dust and bacteria, which can cause unpleasant odors in the family room. Wiping them down with an anti-static, microfiber cloth will help eliminate any dirt or dust that may have built up on the electronics.'

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Downy Rinse & Refresh is a breakthrough laundry odor remover that helps rinse away the smelly residue trapped within fabric fibers.

2. Improve the air quality

family room with white sofas

(Image credit: Jared Kuzia)

Keeping a family room, or any room for that matter aired out and well-ventilated will substantially improve the scent of the place. Whether this means opening windows regularly or investing in a fan or air purifier, this is an essential way to make sure you achieve a nice-smelling living room.

An air purifier such as this Dyson Smart Air Purifier and Fan can remove air impurities to filter out odors.

Plants are another great way to improve a room's air condition and infuse the air with nice, natural scents. Plants such as ferns can reduce indoor pollutants, and fragrant plants such as lavender, jasmine, or eucalyptus, can release refreshing fragrances into the air. 

'Snake plants, spider plants, peace lilies, aloe vera, and English ivy are fantastic go-to choices, adding both aesthetic appeal and improved air quality. These plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, creating a more breathable and comfortable space', advises Jacky Chou.

You can consider plant placement when deciding on your family room layout in order to make sure they are placed in areas that may be the mustiest and will benefit from the plant's presence.

3. Employ natural air fresheners

living room with ivory sofas and bold artwork

(Image credit: Lisa Romerin)

Nick Haden, a certified aromatherapist and cleaning expert from Shoes Cleaning says: 'Instead of relying on artificial air fresheners, consider using natural alternatives. Place bowls of potpourri, dried herbs, or citrus peels strategically around the room to emit subtle and pleasant fragrances.' Not only is this an aesthetically pleasing option that can be fun to create (or find some online), but is also a customizable and low-maintenance way to sustain a nice scent in your family room.

4. Add fragrances

Black and white coffee table, black lamp

(Image credit: Tim Waltman)

Candles and essential oils are the ultimate go-tos for introducing great scents to your family room. You can choose which essential oils you prefer and use them in diffusers. Diffusers are a long-lasting way to bring a customizable aroma into a space and are a great alternative to incense sticks since they are not overly sweet and don't pose a fire hazard.

'Diffuse or spray helpful essential oils, think tea tree, hinoki, lemon, etc. There are certain essential oils that have antiviral, antibacterial, and mold/fungus-killing properties. The only caution on this is animals can be highly sensitive to essential oils so make sure to check with your vet!', says Meagan Hopper, Owner of MH Alternative Healing & Wellness company.

We recommend getting a range of smells such as this Essential Oils Set from Amazon.

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This accent candle comes in a wonderfully sculptural jar, making it perfect for finishing off a cluster of home decor while also <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">making your home smell nice, and appealing to all of the senses. 


What is a more permanent way to make your family room smell nice?

Another more permanent way to keep your family room smelling nice is by investing in scented wallpaper. These can infuse your family room with a subtle scent 24/7.

With a combination of regular cleaning, ventilation and fragrances, you should have a family room that smells heavenly, creating a relaxing and inviting environment for all the family. If you want to make your own fabric spray, use one tablespoon of baking soda mixed with 500 ml of water and 10-20 drops of essential oils. Put this mixture in a spray bottle for a quick and easy way to freshen up your family room.

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.