Having a nose for homeliness
A STRIKING interior style will always catch our eye but what makes a house feel like a home goes well beyond the visual.
The role that all five of our senses play in creating a homely feeling was recently explored in a global survey of 12,000 people.
Ikea’s annual Life at Home report found that many consider aspects such as the sound of their favourite music, the touch of rough textures, the distinct smell of a house and the taste of a home-cooked meal to be contributing factors to their home’s appeal.
Ikea’s head of research Mikael Ydholm says smell had the most connection, with 40 per cent of people saying their homes have a distinctive smell.
It is also the sense most strongly tied to our memory.
“If you think about coming together with friends and family, it is very much connected to food,” Ydholm says.
“There’s also the smell when you have cleaned your house that gives you that nice, fresh feeling.”
The powerful effect of a good smelling home is something that scent designer and fragrance journalist Ainslie Walker knows much about.
She says getting the right balance of smells is a much better approach to adding lots of good ones.
“It’s like having bright lights versus dim lights — you don’t want it screaming at you,” Walker says.
Whether you prefer candles, diffusers or room sprays, Walker says it is best to choose a scent that matches the feel you want.
“For the loungeroom it’s nice to use cosy scents like wood and cinnamon,” she says. “Open airy spaces go well with fresh, light scents.
“If it’s a federation-style house with wooden floors I would make a nice wood, slightly spiced scent to enhance that atmosphere.”
For people who prefer subtle scents, smoke-based products like incense are the way to go.
If you have cooked fish, Walker says to use a lemon scent to match, or rosemary to go with a lamb roast.
“Scent and flavour is very much the same,” she says. For more scent tips, go to ainsliewalker.com
Scent designer and fragrance journalist Ainslie Walker. Picture: Tony Gough