The Complete Guide to the Best Home Fragrances for Your Bedroom, According to Experts

published Oct 27, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Here at Apartment Therapy, we’re all about making our homes (and yours) beautiful. As a result, we frequently share our favorite furniture and decor pieces, organizers for decluttering, and cleaning tools that’ll leave every surface spick and span. But why stop at the visual elements? The truth is, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t also consider how your home smells. It’s no secret that scent has a huge effect on mood, with research showing that it can impact stress levels, social behavior, physical well-being, and more. Aromatherapy, or “the use of essential oils from plants for healing,” has been around for centuries, dating back to ancient civilizations. This further goes to show how effective the use of fragrances can be when it comes to altering the way you feel.

If you’re anything like us, you want to be greeted with a pleasant smell as soon as you walk through your front door. This should carry through the apartment. Maybe you’ve already chosen a signature scent that envelopes every room — but maybe you haven’t, in which case, we’re here to help. Allow us to introduce Perfect Scents, the new series in which we detail the very best home scents for every room. The idea for the series came from the concept of “scentscaping,” or the concept of having a different scent in each area of the home, as explained by Courteney Cox in an interview with AT.

We’re starting with the bedroom, as your most personal space should feel like an oasis, and scent is one of the best ways to achieve that. We consulted two fragrance experts on the subject: Sara Panton Rogier, the co-founder & CEO of Vitruvi, and Sandra Barvaux, the VP of Fragrance at Prolitec, the parent company of Aera. I own and love diffusers from both brands, which is why they instantly came to mind when preparing for the series. Stay tuned to discover our experts’ own favorite scenting products, as well as their advice on how to dive into the fun world of home fragrance.

Scenting as a Ritual

Much like your favorite perfume can complete an outfit and get you in the right mental space to take on the day, the right home fragrance — and the process you follow when using it — can similarly set the tone for your space. Both Barvaux and Panton Rogier think of scenting as a ritual and their respective brands as the antidote to a somewhat lost practice that dates back millennia. “Using aroma is a really easy and beautiful way to create different moments in your day, tied to a different scent,” Panton Rogier said. “There’s something ritualistic about turning your diffuser on and something very easy about it continuing to diffuse and not needing to blow it out like a candle.” 

In her own home, Panton Rogier likes to “pre-scent” her room for bed. At the same time every evening, she deposits either a lavender essential oil or Vitruvi’s Dusk blend into the Stone diffuser next to her bed. She then allows it to diffuse with the door closed for an hour while she gets ready for bed. “When you come back into your room, it’s scented, and your brain is met with this reminder that it’s time for bed,” she said.

Barvaux agrees that most people view the bedroom as a place to unwind, which dictates the fragrances they choose to use there. Aera resultantly carries a number of its own oil blends that help create a calming atmosphere, including those which is part of the brand’s Wellness collection. A partnership with Aromatherapy Associates helped to further expand their restful offerings.

Of course, you don’t have to stick to herbal and earthy scents in the bedroom. Barvaux, herself, leans toward warm and comforting scents. “You might want to create something that’s sensual or romantic, and we have Moondance, which is also a really good fragrance for that space,” she said. “But obviously, fragrance is such a personal decision that you might have someone who wants something completely different, and that’s fine.”

Why a Diffuser Might Be Right for You

Barvaux acknowledges that much of the appeal of candles has to do with the fact that there is a ritual to lighting them. Still, there are upsides to using a diffuser instead; namely, it’s safer, and you get to experience the fragrance the way in which the perfumer intended. “Most formats release fragrance in order of the volatility, so you get your top notes first, then your middle notes, and your bottom notes,” she said. “Once the top notes are burned, you’re not going to get that really fresh element of the fragrance anymore; you’re going to be staying with the warmer elements. With our diffuser, you’re getting that rich experience from day one until it’s empty.”

Panton Rogier said she used to light candles until she decided to create a safer alternative in the form of pure essential oil blends that are third-party tested. She also feels that her products are much better suited to the lifestyles of her busy customers. “You can pre-scent your entryway before going grocery shopping and come back, and it’s almost like your home is taking care of you in a way with the diffuser,” she said. “Because there’s a safety off-switch, it can run for up to eight hours, and you can just turn it on and forget it, so that really played into the customer that we are serving. They have lots going on, and they don’t have time to blow out four different candles before they go about their day.” She recommends Vitruvi’s Move cordless diffuser for those who want one diffuser that they can move to different areas of the home.

How to Get Into the World of Home Scents

Not only are there so many different home-scenting products to choose from, but there are also numerous scents in themselves. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to decide which one is right for your space, especially a room as personal and intimate as the bedroom. Above all, Panton Rogier wants people to know that the fragrance-finding process is impossible to mess up. Really, it’s all about playing with different scents, trying them on, and having fun in the process. Still, there are certain products at Vitruvi that she thinks are especially helpful for that.

“I would start with our Essentials Bundle,” she said. “It has one aroma from each scent family, that being a citrus, a floral, a woodsy aroma, and a more herbal aroma. So it’s really about finding those specific ingredients that you like and then finding blends that we’ve created for them.”

Additionally, many fragrance-related brands, including Aera, allow you to try samples before fully committing to a scent, and there are also quizzes you can take to receive recommendations based on your desired mood, favorite notes, and other factors.

The great news is, that both Aera and Vitruvi are expanding their product offerings for the winter months, so shoppers can enjoy even more ways to scent their homes. “For the holidays this year, we’ll have a really nice collection of easy-to-gift products,” Panton Rogier said of her brand. “We’re taking some of our best-sellers and making them really easy to give to someone that you love. Going into next year, you can also expect an expansion of our hardware collection.”

Over at Aera, customers can also shop new holiday scents, including the limited-edition Winter Fir blend in collaboration with the brand L’Avant Collective. Any of the new releases would also make great gifts.

In short, when it comes to discovering your perfect home scent, it never hurts to try before you buy! (And, of course, you can always consult customer support for further assistance.) “There are some fragrances that might smell nice, but when you have to live with them day in and day out, they become not so pleasant, so it takes time,” Barvaux noted. But once you get into it, she added, “it’s like discovering another dimension of life.”

Scents to Make Your Bedroom Smell Dreamy

1 / 7

Aera's lavender- and sage-scented Pillow Plans blend is part of their Wellness collection. Lavender is a wonderful calming scent, as studies have suggested that it helps reduce anxiety, restlessness, and disturbed sleep. The other main ingredient in this product is clary sage, which is similarly known to reduce anxiety and help regulate emotions.

2 / 7

Pillow mists can also be effective when it comes to relaxing the mind at bedtime. This tri-blend of lavender, chamomile, and vetiver is a fan favorite (and a personal favorite). Simply spray it onto your pillow before laying your head down, and breathe in the clean, fresh fragrance as you feel your thoughts slow. The mist also just serves as a good refresh for your sheets.

3 / 7

Dusk, Panton Rogier's go-to pre-scent pick, is part of Vitruvi's Rest kit. It's a set of four blends specifically formulated to help you relax. Panton Rogier describes the included Sleep blend as a dynamic, “not your grandmother's sleep lavender oil” that also contains chamomile and frankincense. The Grove blend is a grounding mixture of spruce and cedarwood. “Lastly, our Retreat blend is like an escape,” she said. “It smells like a spa, and who doesn't want to go to sleep in a spa?”

4 / 7
was $55.00

Scent diffusers are already pretty easy to operate, but for an even more low-maintenance option, you can't go wrong with a classic reed diffuser. Brooklinen's come in three scents, including the Restore scent, which is a soothing mix of violent and cedarwood, whose insomnia-relieving effects and natural sedative quality help alleviate restlessness. This diffuser is also non-toxic and cruelty-free.

5 / 7

Aromatherapy Associates' collaboration with Aera includes the Deep Relax blend, which contains chamomile, vetiver, and sandalwood essential oils. All three of these ingredients will help your space smell and feel grounded, as the blend is specifically designed to help those dealing with an overactive mind or night-time anxiety. Barvaux also recommends the Bliss blend from this collaboration.

6 / 7

Again, you don't have to stick to fresh or herbal scents for the bedroom. If you prefer warmer notes, you'll love DedCool's bestselling Taunt fragrance. It's available as a linen spray, so you can spritz it directly onto your bedding and other soft fabrics to create a cozy, sensual vibe. The spray has notes of bergamot, vanilla, and amber. Vanilla is, of course, a classic warm scent that's a universally loved crowd-pleaser.

7 / 7
P.F. Candle Co.

If you're still an unwavering candle-lover, P.F. Candle Co. has plenty of great non-toxic options. Their Alchemy line consists of soy candles and incense cones formulated to "mimic the healing qualities of nature and boost your mood." The Myrtle Mint scent, in particular, will serve as an effective pick-me-up in the mornings, as it has notes of lemon and eucalyptus. The latter can help the mind refocus and open the sinuses, as eucalyptus has been shown to relieve symptoms of the common cold.