‘Scent-scaping’ and the art of layering home scents

Plus, the best way to layer scents according to the experts.

Burning a candle may seem like a simple task but there are a few tricks that will help your favourite candles last longer. A candle in a gold vessel complements the classic features in this bathroom at an interior designer's Wahroonga home.

Photo: Pablo Viega / Styling: Stephanie Powell

We all know and love the joy of lighting a scented candle in the evenings as you wind down, but did you know there’s more than meets the eye (literally) when it comes to igniting scents within the home? Scent-scaping is our latest obsession, so much so that we’ve decided to dive deeper into the art of layering home scents the only way we know how—by lighting our favourite scented candle (of course) and chatting to the scent experts to ensure we’re scent-scaping correctly within our home.

What is ‘scent-scaping’?

To put it simply, scent-scaping – also known as fragrance-zoning – is the art of aligning a specific fragrance to a certain space. “The interior of your home is one the most personal ways to express your personality and good taste,” notes Ethan Archer, National Training Manager at Agence de Parfum. “Dividing it into olfactory sections helps you and your guests settle into the intended feel for each space.”

When scent-scaping your home, Vianney Hunter, founder of Hunter Candles, finds it helpful to bring it back to two simple questions: 1) How does it make you feel? and 2) How would you like to feel in the space?

Whether you’re scent-scaping an open-plan area (such as a studio apartment) or a split-level terrace house, one fact will always ring true; there will be specific areas within the home designated for set tasks and, therefore, should exude certain moods.

Maison Balzac candle on coffee table
(Photographer: Kristina Soljo / Styling: Anna Delprat)

Why should I scent-scape my home?

Scent-scaping or layering scents will create a sense of harmony within your home, says Ethan. “Each space should have a scent consistent with its purpose and visual aesthetic.” Scent-scaping is just as important as choosing lighting fixtures or big furniture pieces within your home – so it’s not a task that should be taken lightly or ignored. And we’re here to tell you exactly why scent-scaping your home is vital.

And as scents and fragrances are known to alter our moods with a strong link to memory, why not use this to our advantage? “Your home is your sanctuary, it’s where we recharge our energy, where we share memories with families and friends, and where we can express ourselves. Being conscious and knowing what scents to place where will enhance your living experience,” advises Vianney.

“We get so caught up in life, something as simple as choosing a peaceful blend for your bedroom will subconsciously assist in helping you unwind.”

Vianney Hunter, Hunter Candles

How to select scents for different areas of the home

Now that we know that scent-scaping is an absolute must, let’s figure out which particular notes work well for different areas of your home.

The first question to ask yourself when you begin your scent-scaping journey is, “How do I want to feel in this space?” says Ethan. The second question is, “How often will I be in this space?” This will depict the notes to look for when fragrance-zoning your home.

Image (supplied): Trudon / Agence de Parfum

The best home scent for entryways

Generally, we want to feel grounded in entryways, so opting for scents that make you feel, well, just that, is a great starting point. Look for notes inspired by nature – if you love floral scents, this is a great place to embrace it. Maison Balzac’s Sainte T candle will have you revelling in the scent of a thousand cut flowers, or if floral scents aren’t for you, the Aesop Callippus aromatic candle that exudes woody, earthy and green notes is an excellent choice.


Maison Balzac Sainte T scented candle

$79, Adore Beauty


Aesop Callippus aromatic candle

$135, Adore Beauty

The best home scent for living rooms

We want to feel relaxed in living/lounge areas, explains Ethan. “For something calming, you could explore woody, ambery, and gourmand scents such as Atria (iris and amber) and Solis Rex (antique floorboards).”

A lot of us enjoy a more earthy, yet light blend, usually warm woods, leafy greens, a little herbaceous, sometimes a touch smokey, and a drop of citrus in living rooms. Living room go-to’s for Vianney are Mountain Ash (crushed basil, peppered ivy, green ash), or Australia (blue gum, lemon myrtle, wattle).


Trudon The Alabasters Atria scented candle

$299, Farfetch


Trudon Solis Rex

$139, Myer


Hunter Candles Moutain Ash candle



Hunter Candles Australia candle


The best home scent for bathrooms

You may want to feel refreshed in bathrooms as you get ready for the day, or relaxed if you’re having a bath and winding down for the day. With these two moods in mind, opt for a refreshing or uplifting scent such as Trudon’s Reggio (mandarin) and Abd El Kader (mint tea) or a calming lavender scent like Jo Malone’s Lilac Lavender and Lovage Townhouse candle.

Notes that are less complex, clean, and blue also work well in bathrooms. “I always recommend blends that hero peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon myrtle, petrichor, or moss. Anything that hasn’t got heavy woods, or a gourmand profile,” explains Vianney. Muddy Earth (petrichor, moss and dew, orris root), or Cave (peppermint, eucalyptus) are great options to consider.


Trudon Reggio

$149, Myer


Trudon Abd El Kader candle

$139, Myer


Jo Malone London Lilac Lavender & Lovage Townhouse candle

$208, David Jones


Hunter Candles No. 5 Muddy Earth

$59, Hunter Candles


Hunter Candles Cave candle

$49, Hunter Candles

The best home scent for kitchens

Kitchens are the hub of the home and if you’re about to cook up a feast, you want a light and energising scent. Avoid heavy and overpowering scents in favour of something like the fool-proof cult-favourite Carrière Frères Tomato candle. If you’ve finished cooking, lighting a candle with a clean citrus-inspired scent is also a good way to feel energised – this Yuzu scented candle is perfect.


Carrière Frères Tomato candle

$85, Adore Beauty


Carrière Frères Yuzu candle

$79, David Jones

The best home scent for bedrooms

We want to feel calm and relaxed in bedrooms – it’s a place for serenity. “We recommend a blend that compliments the room, peacefully,” suggests Vianney.

Lavender is a popular scent for the bedroom for its relaxing and calming properties. However, with notes of grapefruit rind, olive leaf and eucalyptus bark, something like Tasmanian Creek from Hunter Candles is soothing and comforting – also a great choice for bedrooms. “We often spray the [Tasmanian Creek] atmosphere spray at the base of the bed a few hours before bed, so when you enter the room, your mind switches to relaxation.”

“Nothing that is going to alert the brain, or make you think too hard. Something elegant, yet clean.”

Vianney Hunter, Hunter Candles


Hunter Candles Tasmanian Creek candle


The best home scent for home offices

A designated home office is more the norm in homes now, so finding the perfect scent that will help you focus is vital. As home spaces are typically smaller, it’s a good idea to avoid overpowering the space by opting for reed diffusers over scented candles.

“You may want to feel empowered, safe and invigorated, so we would recommend a complex woody-based blend with some comforting warm middle notes, perhaps ambers or light creamy white florals with a bright citrus top. The space will feel strong and energising,” says Vianney.


Jo Loves White Rose & Lemon Leaves scented candle

$110, Myer


Hunter Candles Morgan candle


The best home scent for home cinemas, libraries or art studios

Consider niche scents for hobby rooms. “Art studios should smell of revolution (Ernesto), home cinemas should smell of incense (Spiritus Sancti) to lend a pseudo-religiosity to your films, and libraries should smell mysterious, like Mary, a candle inspired by Mary Shelley,” says Ethan.


Trudon Ernesto

$139, Myer


Trudon Mary

$149, Myer


Trudon Spiritus Sancti

$139, Myer

How to layer home scents

When layering home scents together, Ethan’s tip is to choose one scent that leans minimal – like rose or sandalwood – so scents don’t clash.

Layering scents and scent building is a great way for people to get creative with their living spaces. The possibilities are endless, though if you’re serious, using a perfumer’s wheel as a guide when choosing scents to layer together is a great tool for understanding the complex compositions of perfumes and other scented products.

“Start with one or two scents when scent-scaping, otherwise your nose will quickly become overwhelmed with too many unfamiliar combinations.”

Ethan Archer, Agence de Parfum.

You can also mix and match when it comes to scented products – besides the crowd-favourite scented candle, you can play with reed diffusers, atmospheric sprays, and more.

“Unlike candles and room sprays, diffusers don’t have an ‘off’ switch. Because of this, you should see them as the backdrop for the other scents, which also means you should choose them before moving on to other fragrance formats,” says Ethan.

“It’s like a pyramid – diffusers at the base because they’re always ‘on’, then candles in the middle because they can burn for hours and then be extinguished, then room sprays at the top because they produce an instant but ephemeral fragrance.”

Our favourite home fragrance combinations


Circa Amber & Sandalwood fragrance diffuser + Ode Studio Plume scented candle

$49.95, Circa
$49.95, Ode Studio

This light and minimal ‘always on’ reed diffuser from Circa is the perfect backdrop for pairing with this sensual smokey candle from Ode Studio. Together, they will create a warm yet bright fragrance combination that isn’t too overwhelming for beginners.

Circa Amber & Sandalwood fragrance diffuser notes:

  • Top: Orange, magnolia
  • Middle: Amber, iris, tonka bean
  • Base: Vanilla, sandalwood, musk

Ode Studio Plume candle notes:

  • Top: Bergamot, lemon zest
  • Middle: Tobacco leaves, plum
  • Base: Black sandalwood and smoke


Black Blaze Bush Walk interior fragrance spray + Peppermint Grove Burnt Fig & Pear candle

$35.96 (usually $44.95), Myer

An interior fragrance spray is an easy-to-use fragrance format for those who are just dipping their toes into home fragrance layering. It gives a nice boost of fragrance whenever you feel like it. Bush Walk from Black Blaze is a cult favourite for its fresh, nature-inspired notes, making it perfect to pair with the sweet yet sultry scents of Burnt Fig & Pear from Peppermint Grove.

Black Blaze Bush Walk fragrance notes:

  • Pine, citrus herbal, green grass and eucalyptus

Peppermint Grove Burnt Fig & Pear notes:

  • Top: Pear, plum, fig and mandarin orange
  • Middle: Violet, ylang-ylang and clove
  • Base: Warm amber, cedarwood and vanilla


Miller Harris Tea candle + Glasshouse Kyoto In Bloom reed diffuser

$95, David Jones
$55, Sephora

Looking for the perfect scent combo to start your mornings with? The Tea candle by Miller Harris paired with Kyoto In Bloom by Glasshouse is our combination of choice. With a calming blend of black tea leaves with maté in Tea and the fresh notes of lime, bergamot, and citrus in Kyoto In Bloom, you’ll feel rejuvenated and fresh every morning.

Miller Harris Tea notes:

  • Pine, citrus herbal, green grass and eucalyptus

Glasshouse Kyoto In Bloom notes:

  • Top: Pear, plum, fig and mandarin orange
  • Middle: Violet, ylang-ylang and clove
  • Base: Warm amber, cedarwood and vanilla

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