Fill Your Home With Nurturing Scents & Sounds Using These Tips

mbg Contributor By Ariel Kaye
mbg Contributor
Ariel Kaye is the founder and CEO of Parachute—a home lifestyle brand with numerous brick-and-mortar locations across the country—and the author of How to Make a House a Home.
Illustration of a Bath Time Ritual

Illustration by How To Make A House a Home

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Scents and sounds evoke mood and memory and can create a sense of calm or stimulate energy. Think of these less-than-tangible sensations as the final topping of icing on your nurturing home.

Choosing your preferred scents.

Scents are about as personal as you can get; you probably know what you like immediately. You may enjoy exploring the variety of natural scents, and the diverse ways they can spice up your space. In my home, you will find soy-based candles and an aromatherapy diffuser with essential oils alongside my Palo Santo and sage sticks. Incense, herbs (both fresh and dried), and potpourri and sachets—purchased or homemade—are other great sources as well. I have a few recommendations as you delve into this enchanting world:

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1. Go natural.

Scents found in nature are more subtle and universally pleasing than heavier, manufactured perfumes.

2. Use what you have around you.

A fragrant posy of rosemary or a small vase of lilies from your garden can have as much impact as anything you buy.

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3. Remember: Less is more.

Like with seasoning in a recipe, it's better to go light on a scent and add more as needed. It's harder to dial back a fragrance if you go too far.

4. Consider private versus public spaces.

While you might love a combo of rich amber and tobacco, your guests may not. Keep your more specific or robust scents where you'll enjoy them.

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5. Consider how large your space is.

A larger candle or intense incense is better in an open space than in a small bath or bedroom where it could overwhelm.

6. Go for a specific scent vibe.

These scents nourish, replenish, and bring in good energy:

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Music makes the mood.

Music fills your home in more ways than one. It's not just sound; it also sets a mood or tells a story. It can relax or energize, get a party started, or help you wind a night down. It's deeply personal but also a shared experience. So how do you choose the music for the moment? Most of us have our defaults—jazzy tunes for getting dinner ready, a mix of soul and funk for cocktails with friends, or Top 40 to sing along to while straightening up.

I add songs that I hear when I'm out and about or in the car to playlists and ask friends for recommendations to find something new. Beyond the music you select and play, the way you listen to it can run the gamut from shuffling your playlist to playing an old-school record collection. Each might be right for a different time and place in your home:

  • Turntable and records: Find a vintage or new turntable, hook up speakers, and shop for some vinyl. A record collection can be interactive: Guests will flip through and engage in conversation while they select their favorites to play.
  • Preloaded playlists: Apps allow you to build your own playlists or stream music curated by friends, DJs, radio stations, and musicians. This approach eliminates stress, so you can be in the moment and enjoy.
  • Hands Off DJing: Let a designated friend or two take control of the music for the night. You get to be the audience and purely enjoy.

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