You may have sensed, pardon the pun, that there are hundreds of new home fragrance products in stores. The industry has sniffed out a trend: We're spending more time at home, and we want our rooms to smell good.
"Good" might mean clean, or exotic, or even yummy. Always wanted to visit a Moroccan bazaar? Craving a spa day? Comforted by the waft of a fresh-baked cookie? Whatever your preference, chances are there's a spray for that. Or a plug-in or diffuser.
Among the newest products are scent "stories" that cycle through a timed series of fragrances; wooden wicks that evoke crackling fires; flameless candles; and no-spill diffusers.
According to Barbara Miller, spokeswoman for the National Candle Association, "The most notable trend is toward fragrances that transport you; that have a dreamlike or escapist quality."
Holly Bohn, founder of online retailer See Jane Work, agrees.
"I want my house to smell like the great outdoors even if all the windows are shut and the AC is on," she says.
Her go-to product is Good Home Co.'s Beach Days. It's part of a category known as the "ozones" — scents that are considered refreshing and evocative of fresh air and water. There are half a dozen versions of crisp, clean linen alone. Citrus-based scents are similar; many find them a finishing touch to a newly cleaned house. And they'll provide a temporary freshening-up for closets or bathrooms without laying on heavy fragrance.
"Over the past couple of years, in a colder economic climate, gourmand fragrances — like vanilla and pumpkin — have become very popular," says Mei Xe, founder of Chesapeake Bay Candles. "Generally speaking, these scents help bring back happy memories. They make you feel safe and warm, and in these times people are longing for a sense of security."
Pier 1 has also focused on "cozy," with scents such as Spiced Cake and Fall Fireside.
Glade and Febreze, mass market leaders in home fragrances, recently launched an array of products to accent home decor; scents for fall include Cranberry Pear, Pumpkin Pie and Cashmere Woods.
To avoid fragrance overload, Xe recommends "staying within the same category, whether it's florals, fruity notes, woodsy fragrances, whatever. Don't mix fragrances that are too different from each other."
Not sure what you like? Take the fragrance profile quiz on the Chesapeake Bay Candle website at chesapeakebaycandle.com.
For those who prefer to go completely natural, essential oils such as citrus, rose and lavender can work well as air fresheners. Mix 4 ounces of distilled water, 2 ounces of rubbing alcohol and 30 drops of essential oil (or blend fragrances such as 15 drops of orange and 15 drops of clove for a winter holiday air freshener) and put in a carefully labeled spray bottle.