Home fragrances offer seasonal scents

By Lisa A. Flam, The Associated PressAugust 31, 2012 

These days, there are endless ways to add a special scent to your home.

Home fragrance products have exploded into a $5 billion industry, with candles, diffusers, room sprays and oils offered everyplace from drug stores to high-end retailers. There are many use-what-you-have, do-it-yourself options as well.

The idea is to create an inviting, comforting and calming environment, whether you're having 20 people for a sit-down dinner or simply hanging out on the couch for the evening.

"This is a time when people are spending more time at home, and they want that cozy, holiday, warm feeling, and maybe you want that even when you're not entertaining -- you want it on a Tuesday night when you're watching TV," said Jessica Romm, lifestyles editor at Martha Stewart Living. "Fragrance is a really nice way to do that."

Enough to choose from

Today's offerings include candles, room sprays, reed and plug-in diffusers, wax melts, essential oils, and old standards like drawer liners and sachets. Many products now offer a more sophisticated scent and they're more decorative as well, Doskow said.

Just as there are scores of scents to choose from (Yankee Candle has about 200 candle fragrances), the prices vary greatly. "It can range from a Renuzit adjustable (air freshener) for 99 cents up to a Jo Malone scented candle that's in excess of $100," according to Karen Doskow, industry manager for consumer products at Kline and Co., a market research company in Parsippany, N.J. said.

In fact, Jo Malone's luxury candle offers 230 hours of burn time and sells for $425, while a large Yankee Candle that offers up to 150 hours of scent costs $27.99. Crabtree & Evelyn has scented sprays for $19, while French perfumer Frederic Malle's "perfume gun" spray sells for $145.

Capture smells of season

Whatever your budget, try to capture the natural smells of the season in a simple and minimal way, Romm says. She mentions masculine scents like wood and leather, and the smells of seasonal fruits and vegetables, such as pumpkin, apple, pear and squash.

"You'd think about meals that you're cooking or things you would have around -- fruits of the season or spices you might use," Romm said. "Our philosophy in terms of home fragrance is to not battle or compete with what you would naturally have in your home during the fall."

As winter arrives, a fresh Christmas tree is great, Romm says, but without one, you can introduce the smell of pine, or eucalyptus, and spices like clove and cinnamon.

A good way to carry fragrance through your home is to use multiple products at once, says Hope Margala Klein, executive vice president for brand, design and innovation at Yankee Candle.

Options abound for use of scents

"We recommend a layered approach, with the candle being the focus," she said.

One scent can be used throughout the home for an intense smell, or you can combine scents. "People will create their own recipes for what they think is great," Klein said.

Romm is partial to DIY home fragrance, like setting a pot of apple cider with cinnamon or cloves to simmer on the stove, displaying a pretty bowl of cinnamon sticks, or drying sliced apples on parchment paper in the oven on low heat.

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