I must admit I am a bit obsessed with smells. I can spend so long sniffing around fragrance counters in department stores that I end up with brain fug.
Our sense of smell is the sense most associated with memory and we can be recalled to a situation experienced many, many years before just by a familiar smell. It can make us experience certain emotions too. A smell of lavender for example, may make us feel relaxed, and in my case reminds me of my kind and beautiful late Grandma. So it is a comforting smell to me and makes me feel connected to someone I miss dearly.
It is a very personal experience and we all favour different smells for different reasons, but there are a few smells that bring comfort to most of us. Who doesn’t love the smell of baking bread? Supermarkets use this emotional link and pump the smell through their stores in an effort to make us feel hungry and go on to buy more during our visit.
Similarly, every time you pass a Lush store, it smells divine, and the aroma attracts your attention and draws you into the store.
Who hasn’t been tempted to seduce potential buyers with the smell of coffee and home cooking when trying to sell their home? Coffee aromas also have quite a powerful effect on us, making us feel alert and switched on. Researchers are looking into the possibility that coffee aromas have an effect on proteins in our brain and even our genes. Powerful stuff, eh?
On the other hand, smell can be a sharp reminder of danger, such as the smell of smoke or rotten food. These cues tell us to take care and watch out for something that may harm us.
So using fragrance in our home can give us an extra sense of wellbeing and add extra personality to the space we live in. A trip around any home styling store will present us with countless choices of reed diffusers, candles, and room sprays to use in our home. But can these seemingly superficial products have a real effect on our brain and our wellbeing?
Fragrances can be synthetic, where chemicals are used to mimic a particular aroma, or can be made from essential oils which are natural oils produced from plants. This explains the very broad price points of these products as natural products cost more to collect and distill than the lab based alternatives.
Natural essential oils
Physical and emotional benefits Expensive
Greater depth of smell Can burn skin if undiluted
Stronger scent Toxic
Longer shelf life No health benefits
So a round up of a few products out there for enhancing our home environment.
New York duo diffuser set £15.00
Jasmine and orange blossom
Happiness Reed Diffuser
White neroli, Mimosa and Lemon £38.00
Experiment a little, try sniffing out a few brands in your local department store and create a home which reflects your personality and forges a warm, lasting memory for visitors to your home.