Your Home Is About to Smell Rich

Scratch-and-sniff wallpaper? We're listening.

Your Home Is About to Smell Rich
Photo: Getty Images

Before essential oil diffusers, we had candles. Before then, we had reed diffusers and incense, not to mention our favorite bouquets. The act of making our homes smell pleasant has been around for eons, but recently, home fragrance has elevated its game.

Enter, the world of the luxurious, creative home scent.

Laundry detergent, multi-surface spray, wallpaper — it's all gotten a big upgrade. Consider Frédéric Malle, whose perfume brand released fragrance guns that spritz its scent into the home, in a similar way to how we spritz our plants with water. Even celebrities are hoping in on the trend, such as Courtney Cox with the launch of Homecourt, a brand that focuses on fine fragrance-infused, skincare-inspired, and sustainable beauty products for the home.

The emphasis on all things home was only accentuated more in the last few years amid the COVID-19. Before the pandemic, we were all distracted with our day-to-day lives outside our households, but as we all know, that changed drastically with stay-at-home restrictions. As such, our attention honed in our living spaces as we tried to transform them into oases. (It's why plant ownership soared drastically — 71 % of North American greenhouses saw an increase in plant sales in 2020 alone.)

Without the ability to go to a spa or on vacation, many homes were rethought and transformed into the ultimate oases. In fact, Pinterest reported that searches for "home massage room" increased 109% while "crystal room" searches soared 8x in the last year. And of course they did — in times of stress, it's natural to want to come home and feel at peace, and aromatherapy has been proven to soothe anxiety.

Being at home for extended periods put everything about it under a microscope, including scent. As such, the art of home perfumery has only been elevated, its importance being promoted to first-tier priority alongside blackout shades and the Cloud Couch.

VIDEO: An Expert's Guide to Finding Your Signature Scent

Laundry isn't just a brightly-colored pod you toss in the machine — it's an opportunity for a celebrity endorsement and branding moment. Just consider the Laundress's collaboration with Le Labo — the pair joined forces to launch detergent in the fragrance house's signature Santal 33 and Rose 31 scents. While liquid laundry detergent typically retails for under $15 and lasts for roughly 64 washes, this launch costs $20 for 32 washes— and while one may ask themselves why they'd spend extra money on something as trivial and mundane as laundry detergent, one could also argue that the upscale scent and gentle formula is worth splurging on.

The same goes for cleaning supplies. Diptyque just launched La Droguerie, a collection of household cleaning products that it calls "an invitation to care for the interior of your home, blending beauty with utility and sensual enjoyment with respect for the environment." High-end, fragrant cleaning products aren't necessarily a novelty, but when one of the most famous candle brands on the market dips into the cleaning market, it signals a new area of opportunity for the home space — both on a business side and how people approach their chores.

And beyond refillable products, more permanent fixtures in the home have gotten the olfactory upgrade, too. Take wallpapers, for example. In lieu of the scratch-and-smell stickers of our childhoods, elevated wallpapers deliver similar, yet more subtle, experiences. Flavor Paper is at the forefront of this niche, using micro-encapsulated fragrance oils that pop when you scratch them, and celebrities such as Tommy Hilfiger have decorated their houses with them.

Candles and diffusers will likely remain leaders of home fragrance for the foreseeable future, but it's interesting to see how brands are evolving their offerings to deliver more upscale, fragrant products for home — and we love it.

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