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Does your home have a signature smell?

I remember going to people’s homes when I was young and noticing that they each had a very specific smell. It wasn’t always good, and it wasn’t always bad. However, it was always unique to the people who lived there. Interestingly enough, none of these people were ever aware of the smell of their home – it was invisible to them.

So, how do you make sure you have a house that has a signature smell, but not one that turns people off?


First, you have to reflect on what you are working with. Do you have pets? Teenagers who play hockey and sometimes leave their hockey bag to “air out” in your living room? Do you love to cook with pungent spices? Do you have mostly carpet and soft upholstery? Does someone in your house smoke, even if it’s not inside? All of these smells will permeate your space and, given time, your nose will get so used to them, you won’t be able to smell them. But, other people will. Step one is neutralizing. The only thing worse than the smell of a hockey bag is the smell of roses over top of the smell of a hockey bag. Regular cleaning, steam cleaning, and vent cleaning are important to how your house smells, as well as the air quality. Using hood fans in the kitchen will also help, but make sure to clean your filters often. Febreeze can help, but overall cleanliness and awareness is key. As is a standing “no hockey bags in the house” rule.


Second, you want to pick a signature scent. Consider the personality of the people who live in your home – are you a cheerful, easy going group, or a more somber and serious lot? Notice the colours you use to decorate – are they warm or cool toned? Are the furnishings soft and plush, or hard with clean lines? Something citrusy and fruity in a brightly lit and modern home might be lovely; a space with natural woods and warm colours might lend itself more to vanilla or vetiver – warmer, denser scents. Experiment with what you like, but consider the overall tone of your home, so the scent feels like a feature of the space.


Lastly, you’ll have to decide how you want to dispense this wonderful new aroma. If you hate everything chemical, then you might want to work with fresh flowers, essential oils in a reed diffuser, or even a pot of aromatics on the stove. If you love the look of candles, then go in that direction. Whatever you choose, pick something you can easily maintain. If you balk at the cost of candles on the first buy, you probably won’t keep that up. But, if you already bake bread every Sunday, lean into that and fill your home with cinnamon, vanilla, and other warm scents.

Picking a signature scent for your home might seem frivolous, but don’t ignore how provocative smell is. Having a scent that you associate with home can help you love your space and even help you relax. It’s definitely worth considering what your house smells like.

The information we have put together here is not intended to replace personalized advice from a REALTOR®. While we would love to be your REALTORS®, please ensure that at the very least you have a REALTOR® and ask them for advice specific to your situation and circumstances.