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The latest fragrance trends and how to use them in your home

Because home scents can be the pièce de résistance .

Because home scents can be the pièce de résistance

(Credit: Arnold Leung/unsplash.com)

You personalize your home with artwork, plants, pillows and handpicked decorative objects, but fragrance may be one area of home accentuation that's slipped your notice. "Scent is such an important part of a home," says Nick Rabuchin, founder and creative director of Vancouver Candle Co. "It helps to personalize your space and triggers emotions and nostalgia." 

And like clothing and decor, fragrance follows trends, which means it's easy to find new and exciting scents to suit your mood. "Much like the fashion industry, the perfume industry gets its inspiration from destinations, travel, colours," notes Montreal-based perfumer Ruby Brown. "It can also be inspired by current events." As a result, it's possible to rotate home fragrances the same way you would summer dresses or throw pillows.

How to pick a home fragrance

Go for a single signature fragrance or develop an entire wardrobe. "The beauty of scent is that you can mix multiple fragrances to create your own scent story," says Rabuchin. "There's no right or wrong answer, just personal preference." You can also layer scents to create a unique combination. Newbies to layering should choose fragrances with individual note names, like a lemon diffuser with vanilla candle, sandalwood with neroli or rose with tobacco. Just make sure you like each scent on its own before you start mix-and-matching. 

Candles vs. diffusers vs. sprays

Choose a candle if you love the effect of candlelight in your home and are committed to staying in the room for several hours. Since candles should never be burned unattended, Rabuchin advises us "typically commit to a four-hour interval to ensure maximum performance," adding  "The scent emits from the melt pool and it takes time for the wax to fully melt to the edges of the jar, which then allows the fragrance to disperse in the room." If you have children or pets or don't want to commit to staying in one space for an extended time, try a diffuser instead. It's also a great option in entryways where you want a long-lasting fragrance to welcome people to your home or in the bathroom to disguise other odours. Finally, use a spray if you need a quick fix. 

A note on eco-friendly options

Avoid paraffin wax (which is a by-product of petroleum) and palm wax and go for natural alternatives like beeswax, soy, coconut or vegetable wax. Choose cotton or paper wicks and look for products that have been made in Canada, which means a smaller carbon footprint.

Here are five fragrance profiles that are trending right now.

Scents for relaxation 

"Right now we're excited about purposeful scent combinations that are rich and luxurious, but also combine the benefits of aromatherapy," says Rabuchin about Vancouver Candle Co. Any scent that's designed to promote relaxation or introspection is ideal for the bedroom, a meditation spot or a workspace.

Bergamot, lavender, musk

Silentium (Silence) 200mL Scent Diffuser, $60, Vancouver Candle Co.

Grapefruit, sandalwood, vetiver

Present Moment Grounding 10mL Diffuser Blend, $26.95, Saje

Floriental finds

"We've seen a lot from the floriental family lately," says Brown, which is a hybrid between the floral fragrances with spices and woods. "A floriental has a floral heart with classic flowers like jasmine, honeysuckle or gardenia and it's blended with notes like amber, musk or sandalwood." They're warm and heavy, which makes floriental home scents perfect for cozy nights curled up in blankets and listening to music.

Mimosa, musk

Flower Power Scented Candle, $64, Ruby Brown

Damask rose, oud, clove, praline

Velvet Rose & Oud 7oz Home Candle, $108, Jo Malone

Easy breezy

Light as air and crisp as linen, transparent scents are trending — especially during these summer months. Brown suggests looking for notes like "musk, white musk or hedione—a synthetic molecule that creates a crisp effect" for a fragrance that recreates the smell of fresh air. Since these blends are soft and delicate, use them in the bedroom or at a cottage for a bit of a lift. 

Linen, apple blossom, white orchid

Nest Linen 175mL Reed Diffuser, $64, Sephora

Cucumber, mint, salt air accord, beach apple, musk, sandalwood

Tocca Montauk 10oz Candle, $58, Sephora

Green party

"I'm thrilled about green notes as a trend because we are a niche perfumery," says Brown. "All of our products are gender neutral. Green notes like fresh cut grass, galbanum and oak moss are suitable for every body and every occasion." Use them in the kitchen or dining room to create a light, herbal air that won't clash with your food.

Petrichor, sea salt, fresh cut grass, jungle soil, oak moss, seaweed

Arquiste Nocturnal Green Candle, $95, Etiket

Damp mosses, blackcurrant leaves, fig leaves

Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain 100mL Room Spray, $89, Holt Renfrew

Cannabis culture

Since legalization, cannabis has been having a major moment in Canada. The trend appears in scents with candles that mix hemp or cannabis notes with standard scents like musk and amber. "It translates into a cocooning effect and brings a lot of texture to a fragrance," says Brown.

Cannabis, suede, white musk, tulip, amber

Boy Smells Kush 8.8oz Scented Candle, $44, Indigo

Citrus peel, hemp, lavender, golden amber

Cannabis Lavender 11oz Candle, $16, Urban Outfitters


Andrea Karr is a freelance lifestyle writer and bookworm who lives in Toronto with her two pups. Follow her at @andreakarr.

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