Your home’s signature scent is an extension of your interiors style, so create a calming atmosphere while boosting your mood with natural fragrances by Irish artisan makers
Every home has a distinctive smell. Often, we don’t realise it’s there until we return from a long trip and open the front door. I can still remember my granny’s — a familiar waft of flowers and Christmas cake that hit you every time you walked in the door and seemed to linger all year round.
Some homes smell better than others; no matter how clean we keep them, some rooms are just a hotbed for smelly shoes, pets or stinky bins. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to freshen up your space beyond just opening a window.
Actually, introducing a pleasant fragrance is thought to be one of the best ways to enhance your mood and wellbeing. According to studies, scented candles and sprays stimulate our limbic system, the part of our brain that’s home to our memories and emotions, and hormones such as serotonin and dopamine can be produced to help regulate our mood. Put plainly, our emotional state is influenced by the relationship between scents, memories and emotions. It may explain why you feel energised by a whiff of peppermint or calmer at the smell of lavender, or downright queasy as you wander past your cat’s litter tray.
Like a familiar song, smells evoke specific memories, and surrounding yourself with the ‘good’ smells is sometimes all it takes to boost your mood while creating a cosy atmosphere. Nothing says ‘comfort’ like a fragrant candle, especially in the winter months, when dark nights draw in early.
Similar to the colours and textures we choose, fragrance is an extension of our interiors style and, much like trends in interiors, there has been a tilt towards natural scents and seasonal botanicals that connect us to the natural world.
Years ago, some might have laughed at the idea that a light source as old as time would become a major interiors trend. When you consider that the Irish candle industry is worth €30m, it’s a market not to be, ahem, sniffed at. Perhaps we have lockdown to thank for the abundance of new fragrant candles, room sprays and mists on the market, as people bed down at home looking for comfort in a time of uncertainty. Ireland alone not only saw a boom in the market in general but a rise in the number of new candlemakers doing it from the comfort of their own homes.
Friends Rachel Faulkner and Summer Killingsworth started Woodtown in 2020 in the thick of the pandemic. Having worked in retail management for Ikea for several years, Rachel used her know-how and love of craft to start making simple, elegant beeswax candles at her kitchen table.
Ruchi Vipasa recently started up Vipasa, a one-woman band, juggling her full-time job with her passion for pouring wax to create soy-wax, coconut and rapeseed candles that hint at the Irish woodland.
Family-run Irish company Max Benjamin has a slew of scented products for the home that include room and pillow sprays, the popular Happy Pod oil diffuser, linen sprays, hand creams and hand-poured candles made from 100pc soy wax. The brand is hell-bent on ethics too, with a 15-strong collection in refill form.
If you’re chasing that nostalgic memory of home, Dalkey Aromatics’ Irish Turf Fire, Malt Whiskey, Soda Bread or Gorse Bush candles are like your childhood in a tin.
The Handmade Soap Company recently launched the Anam range — a smart, sustainable collection of soap, hand lotion and a ceramic diffuser with essential oils.
Dublin company Rathbornes has been ‘keeping it lit’ since 1488, as it proudly displays on its candles, and is still going strong with its unmistakable dusky scents such as Bitter Orange, Birch Tar & Balsam.
Founder of Clean Slate candles Nicole Connolly mixes her love of simple Nordic aesthetics with fragrances inspired by experiences like her morning ritual of strong black coffee with a spoon of coconut oil.
More than just creating an inviting atmosphere, scents have the power to transport you to a place, time or memory — something we all could do with right now.