The way you scent your environment says as much about you as the perfume you spritz on your wrists. Here, the chicest new interior fragrance solutions.
Written by APRIL LONG
The appeal of creating a luxuriously scented environment is timeless. Diana Vreeland injected perfume into her pillows with hypodermic needles; Estée Lauder, it is said, would spritz her favorite eau onto light bulbs, so that their heat would diffuse scent throughout her home. Since the 1980s, a boundless variety of aromatic candles have flickered in our dwellings: There’s now a wick to light for every olfactory fantasy—whether you wish your kitchen smelled of figs, your bathroom to be redolent of lilac, or your living room to emote just the right amount of erudite, old-book must (without the sneeze factor).
Fragrance can shift the atmosphere of a space like nothing else. It can create a mood—a waft of rose casts a seductive spell; warm, spicy incense creates a cocoon of comfort—and over time, a familiarity that says welcome home. But, like fragrance worn on skin, it has a power that must be wielded carefully—one should always seek quality over quantity, and never forget that there’s a real difference between Diptyque and Glade.
“The right proportion and style is very important when it comes to perfuming one’s home,” says French perfume developer Frédéric Malle. “I use a scented candle in our lobby or in our living room to generate a luxurious, refined, and comfortable tone. I am always mindful of the size and function of each room, as I don’t want to invade life with too much scent, or at the wrong time.” The ultimate faux pas? Using scented candles on the dining room table, he says. “I never use a scent where we eat.”
Now, clever companies have moved beyond traditional reed diffusers and wax, dreaming up ever more inventive ways to discreetly perfume our worlds. And while candles will forever have their place—after all, there’s nothing like the glow of flame on a cold night—these next-gen ambience enhancers will leave every inch of your space smelling glorious.
Malle was inspired to create this futuristic riff on old-school scented sachets after coming across a prototype of perfumed plastic in a lab. The thin, recyclable rubber pads, he says, are perfect “to scent small rooms or cupboards,” and they last up to six months. Jurassic Flower is a heady magnolia with hints of peach and apricot—ideal to impart luscious floral notes to folded clothes in a drawer or in a suitcase.
“I use Dans Mon Lit to perfume our sheets,” says Malle. “It makes you feel as if you were sleeping on a bed of 1,000 roses.” Comprised of 98 percent rose water, with just a dash of Turkish rose absolute and musk, there’s no need to limit Dans Mon Lit solely to sheets—it’s also divine when spritzed on upholstered chairs, couches, and curtains.
A far cry from those pine trees that dangle from New York City cabbies’ rearview mirrors, this is automotive aromatherapy at its most sophisticated. Attach it to your car’s ventilation, and adjust the intensity of fragrance by sliding the metal grid. Baies will fill your ride with the scent of blooming roses, sweetened with blackcurrant leaves. It will make you want to sit in traffic.