Make Sense Out of Scents: Incorporating Fragrance Into Your Home Design

Here at Nell Hill’s, we are known for our attention to even the most delicate of details, or as we like to call them, the finishing touches.  We take care in styling our spaces with perfect textiles, precious trinkets and striking artwork.  There is another element that you will find in our styled spaces that cannot be underestimated in importance.  Every morning as we open the shop, straightening our tabletops and lighting up our beautiful rooms for all to enjoy, we light the perfect candle scent to set the tone and mood for the day.  I will be the first to admit, I have a sharp nose and have a slight obsession with smells.  A scent has a great impact on the ambiance of a space, and those with sensitivity to smells need not worry! A well selected fragrance doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly strong to serve its purpose of completing your home.

We have been fortunate to collaborate on signature scents with Kansas City’s own candle makers Pickwick & Co on many occasions throughout the years.  Pickwick, besides being an absolute joy to collaborate with, has a true magic that they bring to their hand-poured, small batch candles.  From clean, one-note scents to complex, layered fragrances you must smell to believe, they put incredible passion behind their products.  I could spend all day in their “scent lab” smelling the essential oils and listening to the creativity flow.  I thought it would be fun to work with them to pair some of their versatile candles with a few of our different designs to show how aroma can act as a catalyst to enhancing your decor. 

Walking into the store right now, our entryway is a vision of black and white with green botanical accents.  With bold striped textiles, rich dark wood, and natural wicker elements, it portrays an earthy yet elegantly masculine atmosphere.  A balance of light and dark, choosing an aroma that matches that delicate balance is a must.  We decided to play up the rich and deep tones but keep a nod to nature and the botanical elements. An area like this needs a dark and earthy masculine scent that blends with Old World charm. We chose the Leather Tobacco & Woods scent with smoky leather, fragrant tobacco leaf, mahogany and agarwood to enhance the area and add depth.

For our next pairing, we venture out of the shop into a home that our designer, Anne, has worked on for many years.  This particular area is a light and bright sunroom that we have filled with cheery hues of pink and blue.  From the blue zebra-inspired textile on the ottoman to the beautiful Dana Gibson (link to Dana blog) hot pink leopard artwork peeking out from the back wall, everything in the room POPS against the white walls and neutral cream upholstery.  Preppy and crisp semi-outdoor spaces like this benefit from bright and fresh scents, such as Sea Salt & Water.  The heady sea salt fragrance naturally derived from sea water is inspired by pure ocean air and salty waves.  While a soothing scent of a relaxing beach vacation (minus the coconut sunscreen) might seem at odds with the energy brought by the colors, it adds balance to the space and plays into the calming blue hues.  Just think about it as the equivalent of a Lilly Pulitzer sailboat soiree.

Back in the shop we have a luxurious yet comfortable living room design that brings together European elegance, earthy color schemes, and traditional elements. With ornate accents like the leopard print pillows paired with geometric coral textiles and lavishly designed bamboo inspired coffee table that almost looks auburn next to the red floral print decorating the wall, this complex space is one of my favorite looks.  An intricate look like this needs a versatile and multi-faceted fragrance that doesn’t overwhelm an already busy and “loud” space!  We chose to pair this room with a candle I love in many of our different shop areas – Mediterranean Garden.  This scent starts with fresh green notes like island gardenia, rose, lily of the valley and jasmine, then transitions into warm scents of musk, sandalwood and vanilla.  This soft and slightly warm scent is trans-seasonal and perfect for rooms that are already packed full of personality.

Lastly, we head upstairs to our second-floor bedroom designs to find the perfect bedtime scent. My favorite spot of the moment is a serene and plush bedroom look full of deep blue patterns and clean white accents.  Mixing a monochromatic patterned bed with stark décor items provides a balance that is beautiful in its simplicity.  White and blue has been a staple at Nell Hill’s for quite some time and I love seeing the new ways it can be incorporated into a relaxing and rejuvenating space.  I mentioned complex and multi-layered scents earlier, and the one in this room delivers! Portofino is a fresh and modern blend of watermelon, mandarin, passion fruit, marigold, crushed leaves, water hyacinth, crème brulee, precious woods and patchouli (wow, need to take a breath after that list!).  The result of these notes is the scent equivalent of a burst of patterned fabric, which is the perfect addition to this room. 

I had so much fun matching scents with spaces that I decided I wanted to take it to the next level by creating a brand-new signature scent for the shop.  I am so excited to introduce our newest Nell Hill’s scent, Adorn, to you!  Inspired by the way scent enhances the spaces in which we live, I wanted to bring an aroma that warms your home in every season with a delicate and elegant floral balance.  Adorn opens with subtle traces of bergamot and mandarin, leading to middle notes of sambac jasmine, freesia, centifolia rose, and osmanthus. Finally, deep amber, wood and patchouli notes combine with warm vanilla and praline to add a feeling of home to your space that I find intoxicating.  To celebrate this new fragrance, we are offering the four scents mentioned in this post and our spring and summer signature scents that will include Lake House, Screened Porch, Home, and of course, Adorn, in our online shop. I can’t wait to hear what you all think!

For information on candle care and safe practices visit ­here