You have decorated your home beautifully, complete with those visually pleasing finishing touches such as pictures and cushions. What about adding another sensory accessory? Scents can subtly enhance mood, creating another layer of experience. Scented candles come in several shapes and sizes. Pillar candles are taller and standalone, whereas the smaller votive candles and tiny tea lights usually rest inside a holder.
A glass holder decorated in several colours can throw a kaleidoscope of colour onto a wall. Gel candles, as their name suggests, are not solid, and come already in a glass container. Because of the transparency of the material, decorative items, such as flowers or shells, are often placed in them before they become semi solid.
When the candle is lit, the scent in the wax is released into the room as it melts. The range of scents available in candles is huge. Choose a few to match your differing moods. These days, most commercially bought candles are made from paraffin wax. This is a by-product of the process of refining crude oil. Some people, concerned about using wax that emits chemical particles, prefer to use wax from more natural sources.
The use of beeswax for candles is centuries old. Bees excrete wax into ‘combs’, where their larvae incubate. Because it is infused with honey, the wax obtained has a naturally occurring, subtly sweet fragrance. In the 1990s, the use of soy, a 100% natural product, was developed for producing wax. This is seen as a good compromise alternative to beeswax, which is more expensive.
Use of aromatherapy oil burners is another popular way to fragrance your home.
An oil burner is usually metal or ceramic, with a concave dish at the top. Into this is put a small amount of water, and some drops of essential oils (usually 5 – 10 drops). The lower part of the burner houses a tea light. When it is lit, the rising heat warms the water and oils, dispersing the fragrance.
In the last decade, the use of reed diffusers has soared. A small bottle is filled with scented oil in a carrier base. Thin sticks of bamboo or reed are placed in the bottle. The oil slowly seeps up the sticks, allowing the fragrance to escape.
An advantage of reed diffusers over candles is that they do not need a flame. The product will last longer than a candle, but the scent given off is lighter and does not spread as far.
A multitude of fragrances are available from retail outlets, often as a set including the bottle and reeds. As they are a relatively simple device, many people like to make their own reed diffusers, allowing them select pure ingredients and personalise the essential oils.
A more recent addition to fragrance producing options is the ultrasonic electric oil diffuser, often combined with subtle, relaxing lighting, and sometimes with pleasing sound effects, such as trickling water. Ultrasonic frequencies are used to vibrate the water surface. This vaporises the oils which are gently released into the room. As with oil burners and reed diffusers, the oils can be changed as required – making them more versatile than scented candles.