Ambient Aromas

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A lingering smell, whether pleasant or foul is usually the first things we notice when we enter a room, and it can strongly affect the way we feel. Fragrancing the home the home to cover unpleasant smells and delight the senses is an old tradition. For centuries the Chinese have suspended balls of jasmine flowers over the bed to clear the air and promote pleasant dreams, while posies of jasmine were handed to guests to refresh them on leaving banquets or dances. Lavender sachets placed in drawers and bowls of pot pourri to scent a room were particular favorites of the Victorians.

Studies and Offices

Work places are often stuffy and full of unpleasant smells, but if you work in an open plan space fragrancing the whole area may not be a viable option. Inhaling a few drops of oil from a handkerchief is the most personal way of using a fragrance, or you can spray your immediate environment with a room spray, or add a couple of drops of oil to a cup of hot water on your desk.

Useful oils for the work place are basil, rosemary, bergamot, lemon and Melissa. Bergamot and lemon are particularly antiseptic, and lemon has the added advantage of helping efficiency. Basil stimulates a tired brain and rosemary is a great aid to concentration. Rosemary is also helpful in relieving headaches. If you are feeling overwrought try clary sage or juniper, but watch the dosage as too much will cause sleepiness.

Living Rooms

The methods for fragrancing a room are many and diverse. Those that involve evaporating the oils, such as diffusers, water bowls, light bulb rings and room sprays, are best for preventing ill-health, balancing the emotions and disguising unpleasant smells such as cigarette smoke or cooking odors. All these methods disperse the fragrance through a large space extremely quickly and effectively. For more lingering and subtle scents, blend your own pot pourri or, alternatively, use pomanders.

Rose, geranium, orange and lavender are pleasing and uplifting scents for a room, use individually or blended together.

For an exotic, intimate atmosphere use sandalwood or patchouli, or to unwind in the evening try geranium, lavender, sandalwood or ylang-ylang.


Whether to ensure a restful night’s sleep or to turn your bedroom into a place of passion, fragrancing the bedroom just before retiring will create an appropriate atmosphere. Rose, neroli and lavender are delightful all purpose oils for the bedroom. Use lavender to freshen a musty spare room to make it welcoming for guests.

Insect Repellant

Use tea tree, eucalyptus, Melissa, lemon grass or the closely related citronella in a diffuser to keep insects at bay.


Vaporized molecules of any essential oil will neutralize airborne bacteria, but some – such as tea, tree, bergamot, lemon, pine and lavender – are particularly antiseptic. Use these in a fragrancer or room spray. Pine, lemon and tea tree can be used on a damp cloth to disinfect surfaces in the kitchen or bathroom. Clear the atmosphere of a sickroom with bergamot, eucalyptus and juniper.

Pot Pourri

To make your own pot pourri assemble fully dried flowers, petals, herbs, leaves and other plant materials. There are no hard and fast rules about quantities and proportions, but an allowance of two or three tablespoons ground spices, two tablespoons orris-root powder, two teaspoons dried lemon, orange or lime peel, and six drops of essential oil to every four cups of dried plant material makes a pleasant balanced mixture.

If your pot pourri loses a little of its aroma over a period of time, it can be revived. Simply stir in another two or three drops of essential oil. And if the mixture loses its color sharpness just stir in a few dried flowers such as miniature rosebuds, santolina flowers or tansy clusters.



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