Room fragrance

On one of my recent Instagram ramblings I asked if interior designers could share their thoughts on room fragrances. There has been a great response, with interesting insights into what scents you like to use and why.

Helen Westlake, creative director at Millier, “In our developments we often use scents and room fragrance to enhance a feeling of calm and wellbeing, and adapt the fragrance so that it’s relevant to the setting and ambience of each scheme – olfactory experience is just as important as the décor in our opinion.

At our project in Marylebone, Regent’s Crescent we used different scents in different rooms – citrus in a home office environment works well as a stimulant, whereas calming jasmine and lavender work well in bedrooms and bathrooms.

In another of our projects, which again has a strong connection to the outdoors as it overlooks Hyde Park, we used hand selected room scents from Dr Vranjes which really helped to bring in that fresh grassy park smell through notes of galbanum, wild mint and clover.”

Fragrance is ‘an essential part of our styling’ says Laura Hammett

Laura Hammett at Laura Hammett , “Room fragrance is such a significant part of creating an ambience in an interior so an essential part of our styling on each project. We often choose a signature scent for the living areas and then something lighter in the bedrooms.

We work with people’s multiple homes but we like to create something new for them with each home. We’ve recently worked with Culti Milano on a new system where their scents can be integrated into the air-conditioning for a continuous distribution throughout the property.”

Charu Gandhi head of interior design studio Elicyon, “We actually don’t like to use unlit or unused candles when working on a residential scheme as it can give a sense of a stage set. So we like to use diffusers instead. At Chelsea Barracks we used a brand called Urban Apothecary in the common parts and in the Artist’s Residence apartment we used a mixture of oud geranium and green lavender which together provide a rich but calming scent. In another apartment, we used Culti Mareminerale aroma diffusers which give off a lovely fresh scent, perfect for living spaces.”

Russell Whitehead, one half of 2LG Studio, “Jordan has a candle obsession and we always have one on the go in our studio to get the creative mind in gear. We love anything by Boy Smells as their open approach to gender and sexuality is so freeing and we love their use of colour to enhance the sensory experience of the smells they create. We also LOVE the candles by Overose, again, such beautiful synergy between colour, minimal presentation and scent. 

Our approach to design is all about the experience of the spaces we create, the journey through spaces, the way our senses take in colour and of course smells. Scent is another layer to that experience, adding to the sensual elements of a room. Scent can be as personal as colour and perhaps even more evocative, so it’s an important factor in creating atmosphere in a space.”

Elena Maresca, director of interiors at Maresca Interiors, “In an interior design project room fragrance helps create the perfect atmosphere and can be the final touch to determine the essence of the space. Every room has its perfect fragrance as each scent enhances different feelings in people. For example, lavender essential oil has calming properties that help control emotional stress, and the scent of lemon promotes concentration.

There have been studies in the past showing that fragrances have the ability to evoke emotions and memories. This is because scents send signals to our limbic system, the part of the brain that houses our memory and emotions. This relationship between scents, memories and emotions helps explain why smells can positively influence our mood in an environment. Hence the importance for us to include fragrances, such as candles and diffusers, in our projects; we don’t use a signature smell as we tend to select scents depending on the project and the location, it is all about personalisation!

We haven’t yet collaborated with a perfume brand to create bespoke scents, but this is definitely something we would love to work on in the future!”

Raven & Lack favour the humble packaging of Le Labo

Adriel Lack, creative director, Raven & Lack, “When dressing and styling a home we like to introduce room fragrances and scents that really compliment the design aesthetic and bring another dimension to the interior experience. One of our signature tricks is to layer up complimentary scents to create complex and experimental fragrances that are completely unique to the project.

For our recently completed Chelsea Creek apartment we used a blend of fragranced candles from New York based perfumer Le Labo (available in Harrods and Selfridges).  We love the quality and the uniqueness of their scents as well as the simplicity of their elegant and humble packaging.  We used a combination of Cedre 11 which has notes of cedar and Birchwood and has a slightly smoky undertone.  We then paired this with their Santal 26 scent which has gentle leathery notes and shares the same sexy smoky aroma.

Le Labo works with a talented collective of artisans who make their beautiful glass and metal vessels and packaging for their fragrances and candles.  Their fragrances are hand blended by technicians in-house when you purchase their perfumes and this brings a real human touch and personalisation to the process of selecting your favourite scent.”

Echlin’s window for Floris on Jermyn Street

Samuel Pye, creative manager at architectural design and development studio Echlin, “Like many, we find the link between architecture, interiors and rom fragrance incredibly powerful. We spend a great deal of time thinking about how our projects should be scented so that the experience of the spaces is heightened. This is usually formed through a scentscape which is mapped out and changes across zones in the home, as treating scent room by room can be too intense and everyone’s noses and reactions to scent are different.

It could be as simple as richer, more intense scents in the darker areas and more easy going scents in the lighter spaces of the home, or we could draw specific inspiration for the ingredients of the scents from the local area, as we did with our Kenure House project close-by to Holland Park.

For our Rathbone Square Penthouse project (image at top of page), we created a bespoke scent with Rachel Vosper inspired by the Bloomsbury Group that was unique to that home. We’ve built up a library of scents we love from other British brands such as Floris, Miller Harris, True Grace and Tom Daxon. In 2019, we partnered with Floris to explore the connection between the perfect scent and the perfect interior, taking over their nearly 300-year-old store on Jermyn Street for the spring and installing an interior moodboard in their window.”

Shalini Misra at Shalini Misra, “No space is complete without a candle. Candles help to make us feel relaxed and comfortable in our homes. If you’re looking for a bit of luxury, consider purchasing a handmade natural wax scented candle. The candles from Lauren Dickinson Clarke, for example, are the perfect choice as they’re full of personality and are crafted using the best possible ingredients.”

If you enjoyed this feature on room fragrance, you may like to explore beautiful interior design projects. Click here

  1. Liz

    Great feature, thank you. Some interesting thoughts on how important fragrance is in the home, especially as we are all spending so much time here!

  2. Chloe Bullock

    Smell – it’s the sense that we interior designers often forget!
    We do need to be careful about the quality of diffusers or candles for maintaining good indoor air quality.

    Soya (vegan) candles get my vote. But I don’t use them too often.

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