Lighting and Scent

You’ve cleaned, scrubbed and polished, decluttered your rooms and closets, and made all necessary repairs. Now you’ll need to make your home inviting.

‘Eeeek!’ you say. ‘How am I going to do that since I was advised to depersonalize my house?’

Don’t worry. It’s simple.

Light plays a huge factor in regulating human mood, so unless you have a view of a brick wall, open your curtains and shades. Even if there is daylight outside, turn on some soft lamps in your home. I recall coming home from a trip many years ago. My sister and her best friend had been cat sitting while I was away. They had cleaned my condominium until it was spotless, but what made my home coming so amazing was that they had turned on a few select lamps. There was something incredibly warm and welcoming about the way the rooms were presented, and seeing all my favorite things enveloped in a golden glow made me  happy to be back.

The next thing of importance is to create pleasant scents. We are all wise to the bread in the oven trick, but it just shows how vulnerable we are to the mood evoked by certain smells. Who doesn’t love the scent of freshly cut grass on a summer’s day or of fires burning in winter? We automatically associate the aroma of fragrant logs or baked goods with home and hearth, warmth, and family.

When her kids were small, one of my closest friends bought a house in a nice suburb with a great school district. I was repelled when I visited and thought it a poor choice. Why? It had been previously owned by smokers and the stench was awful. The next time I came over, I was pleasantly surprised. The house smelled clean; of beeswax polish and fresh air. My friend had lightened the rooms with paint and removed the heavy curtains. I immediately liked the house much better than I had the first time.

Which leads me to the next order of things, crack open those windows and let the wind freshen things up! You are going to have to cook while your house is on the market, but it doesn’t have to smell as if you do.

Scientific studies indicate that a vast majority of people love vanilla, coffee, lavender, fresh pine, and citrus. I prefer the scent of ozone before a storm, Bulgarian roses, pipe tobacco, and horses-but those types of scents are too personal, and others may find them offensive. Some people are nauseated by the odor lilies give off or get headaches from perfumes and non-eco candles. Whichever scents you choose, use them sparingly. The most important thing to remember is to not  mask bad smells from pets or cooking with heavy sprays or candles.

Dried flowers are a  wonderful way to impart a subtle aroma -one that works really well in conjunction with that beeswax I mentioned previously. I have two Chinese vases full of Ralph Lauren’s pot pourri from the late 1980’s, which still smells as if it’s brand new.  Strangely, I experience a little burst of joy whenever I am nearby, since I associate that scent with happy times.

To help keep your home fresh, wipe down and disinfect kitchens and baths, keep clean towels in the bathrooms, and change your bed linens frequently, not forgetting to launder the duvets and blankets. You can’t smell yourself, but others can. This is even more important in teenagers’ rooms, which tend to serve as their private living quarters and get more use than other rooms in the house.

Next week we’ll consider the power of plants in room décor.


Guest post by Lily Temmer

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