Home Fragrance: The 10 Best Products of 2018

home fragrance

There’s always that one friend with the best home fragrance that you walk into their place and all you want to do is snoop around their home until you find whatever is making it smell so amazing, shove it in your coat, and run out cackling like a cartoon villain. No? That might just be me.

But we also all know that one friend whose house has an overhanging smell of cat litter or yesterday’s fish dinner, even though you’d never say anything about it. Don’t be that friend.

If you want that enviable, perfect home scent you can either keep your home impeccable and filled with fresh cut flowers, or you can cheat with a home fragrance. I’m not talking about grocery store aerosol sprays that smell like cloyingly fake vanilla or headache-inducing florals. I’m talking about high quality home fragrance products that allow you to give your space the atmosphere you’re looking for.

What’s the difference between a good and a bad home fragrance? Ignoring the fact that cheap home fragrances smell artificial, when you smell a cheap home fragrance, whether it’s a spray or diffuser, you can name the scent. If it’s apple cinnamon, your guests can walk in and identify apple and cinnamon.

That doesn’t sound bad and yes, you want your fragrances to smell like what they say they are, but when they are so one or two note like cheap fragrances are, your guests know exactly what it is. They can tell you’re covering up something with a spray.

Think of it this way, when you get into a friend’s car and it reeks of vanilla, you don’t assume that space naturally smells like vanilla, but that someone has doused it in spray to cover up some funky odors. That’s what we’re trying to avoid.

High quality home fragrances are complex, layered, and balanced by trusted perfume houses. When someone walks into a home and the scent is clean and warm, and they can pick out hints of citrus, something green, and something woodsy, they don’t assume its a spray–they assume your house smells like that. That’s the goal and that’s something that cheap home fragrances can’t do.

Another way to add scents to your space is through scented candles. The same rules of scent complexity apply to candles, though they create a whole different kind of atmosphere. Read my guide to the Best Luxury Candles for designer candle options and information about how smells can affect our emotions. But for those with young children or rambunctious pets, having an open flame around might not be best and diffusers and room sprays are the way to go.

Reed Diffuser Tips.
If you think there’s no right or wrong way to use a reed diffuser, you’re probably not getting the most out of your money.

Place your reed diffuser where it’s in no danger of being knocked over, but preferable in an area with a draft, such as near a window, ceiling fan, or heating vent. This will move the scent around the room more efficiently.

Fill your diffuser vessel only about half full. That’s all the reeds need to start releasing the scent. Save the rest for when you need to change your reeds.

The more reeds in your diffuser, the stronger the fragrance will be. Start with two or three reeds and slowly increase until you have the desired level of fragrance.

Flip your reeds. Every week or so, flip your reeds so that the dry side is inserted in the oil. This will help jumpstart the fragrance. Be sure to do this over a sink in case of drips since fragrance oils can damage fabrics and finished surfaces.

Use fresh reeds. After a while, your reeds will be dusty, worn out, and unable to absorb and diffuse your oil properly. You can buy fresh reeds pretty cheaply and the difference is very noticable. You can get them in the traditional tan color, in black, and even in natural looking wavy rattan sticks.

Now let’s get into these best home fragrance products that will have your guests jealous. Just be sure to check their coats for your diffusers before they leave.


1. Antica Farmacista Room Spray in Prosecco

Image of glass bottle with silver cap with prosecco fragrance

Antica Farmacista

Anitca Farmacista is a Seattle-based company founded by two best friends with a passion for creating designer scents. Their fragrances are potent but never overwhelming. Antica Farmacista provides the sort of depth of scent and welcoming atmosphere that you’d expect from a luxury hotel suite.

This high end room spray comes in a thick glass bottle and the scent Manhattan has a matte black label and whiskey-colored liquid giving the whole bottle a look of expensive liquor. And that’s appropriate with a fragrance inspired by the bubbly prosecco.

Prosecco begins with satsuma orange and sugared currant with a heart of fruity passion fruit and apricot. The base of the scent has the bright pop of champange without coming across as boozy.

I have this scent in a body butter and it’s lively and inviting fragrance that makes me think of late night gatherings and soft murmur of party guests. The Antica Farmacista sprays are great as room sprays or as a spritz for linens. Prosecco is also available as a reed diffuser and candle.

If Prosecco doesn’t appeal to you, Antica Farmacista offers over 15 scents including Ala Moana (tuberose and gardenia) and Green Fig (violet, fruity fig, and green grass.)

Price: $28

Buy the Antica Farmacista Room Spray in Prosecco here.



Pros:

  • Complex, layered fragrances
  • Choice of scent
  • Elegant glass bottle
  • Can be used on linens and fabrics
  • Comes in gift-ready box

Cons:

  • Sprays don’t last as long as diffusers

Find more Antica Farmacista Room Spray in Prosecco information and reviews here.


2. Lafco House & Home Diffuser in Beach House

Image of blue glass reed diffuser with bottle of scented oil

LAFCO

This reed diffuser in the scent Beach House is part of Lafco’s House & Home Collection which is a set of fragrances that where designed with a room of the house in mind. LAFCO built each scent around how you want to feel when you’re in those room with scents like Guest Room (bright and uplifting) and Meditation Room (calm and spa-like).

I’m featuring Beach House which has top notes of salt air and dune grass, like the sea breeze the whips the coast on a bright day. This is balanced by a foundation of sun-warmed amber and gingery blue lotus.

The hand blown glass vessel comes with reeds and enough of the fragrance to last you a year. After that, scent refills are available so you don’t have to repurchase the diffuser. It comes in a gift-ready box, making it a great housewarming gift.

Lafco has diffuser scents for basically any room you can think of from Bathroom (water lily, rhubarb, and sea spray) to Library (sage and walnut.)

Price: $115

Buy the Lafco House & Home Diffuser in Meditation Room here.



Pros:

  • Each scent tailored to a room
  • Hand blown glass
  • Choice of many fragrances
  • Each bottle lasts one year
  • Gift-ready box

Cons:

  • Reeds need to be rotated and flipped periodically

Find more Lafco House & Home Diffuser in Meditation Room information and reviews here.


3. Aera Smart Home Fragrance Diffuser

Image of white electronic smart home fragrance diffuser

Aera

This is the only electronic fragrance diffuser that I’m including on the list. I’ve had lots of mist diffusers in my life and while I’ve enjoyed them, they always left the air feeling a little stale and they easily overwhelm a space which can give some folks headaches.

The Aera is in a completely different league. This smart diffuser doesn’t require water refills, and instead comes with fragrance capsules that you slot into the top of your diffuser. At intervals, the device releases a burst of scent.

You can control how often and how strong the scent will be by choosing a setting between one and 10, which is a huge range. Each capsule is good for at least 60 days of continuous use on a middle setting, but I can tell you that for a small apartment, I rarely keep mine at over the second setting and after several months my capsule is still at over 90% full.

How do I know that? The Aera has an app because this is a smart diffuser. I have an app on my phone that lets me name my device and senses what fragrance I have inserted and lets me know how full the capsule is.

It also lets me turn my device on and off, set and change the fragrance strength, and create schedules so I can have the device turn on and off at certain times of the day, certain days of the week. I love being able to turn my Aera on from my phone on my way back home after being away on a trip and knowing that when I get there it will smell fresh and clean even after being shut up for a week–without having to waste fragrance on a place I’m not in like if I had a reed diffuser going.

There are a wide range of fragrance pods that you can buy with a device or separately including Indigo (citrus and sandalwood) which I’m using now and Moondance (bergamot and amber).

It’s good for up to 2000 square feet, but the strength levels means you can dial it back to whatever size you’re in. It’s a small, unobtrusive device and the packaging is high end looking, making it a really great gift. I was sent a sample Aera device along with some fragrance samples to try out, but made it very clear that was not a guarantee of a positive review or even that I would review the product at all.

Price: From $149

Buy the Aera Smart Home Fragrance Diffuser here.



Pros:

  • Precise control of scent strength
  • Wide range of scents to choose from
  • Long lasting
  • Can create fragrance schedules
  • Device controllable by app
  • Gift ready box

Cons:

  • Needs to be plugged in

Find more Aera Smart Home Fragrance Diffuser information and reviews here.


4. Amika Signature Room Fragrance

Image of amber room spray bottle with Amika label

amika

Amika is most well known for their professional hair products, all with the unique Amika fragrance. I have their dry shampoo and I absolutely the smell of it. I’ll spray it on my hair half for dry the shampoo and half for the fragrance.

Now we can enjoy this fragrance as a room and linen spray which I’m very excited about. You may think it’s weird to be that into a hairspray smell, but probably you haven’t smelled their hairspray. The Amika scent is hard to pin down. There’s a soft vanilla that reminds me of warm bread pudding and brighter notes of citrus and clover. It’s addictive.

Price: $28

Buy the Amika Signature Room Fragrance here.



Pros:

  • Have the amika scent anytime
  • Cruelty free
  • Bottle is easy to tuck away

Cons:

  • Not designed to double as decor

Find more Amika Signature Room Fragrance information and reviews here.


5. Alora Ambiance Reed Diffuser in Verde

Image of glass bottle with wooden cap and reeds for home fragrance

Alora

Alora is the brand that introduced America to the reed diffuser back in 2000, when two sisters brought the concept of wicking scented oil back from Italy. The Italian heritage is evident in both their scent names and the fragrances themselves.

Many fragrance designers are coming from a background of studying under master French perfumers who have a certain aesthetic. The Alora scents have a more Mediterranean feel to them. They are fresh, and breezy, and more casual.

This diffuser is in the fragrance Verde which is Italian for “citrus.” It starts with melon and tonka bean, with jasmine and green notes. It’s great for any room of the house and the eight ounce glass bottle provides fragrance for around three months.

Alora diffusers come packaged in these tall brown boxes which I’m really keen on. Alora has 16 scents to choose from including Agrume (grapefruit and eucalyptus) and Cedro (cedar and lime.)

Price: $45.18

Buy the Alora Ambiance Reed Diffuser in Verde here.



Pros:

  • Original diffuser brand in America
  • Italian inspired scents
  • 16 scents to choose from
  • Playful bottle designs
  • Gift-ready box

Cons:

  • More casual than some

Find more Alora Ambiance Reed Diffuser in Verde information and reviews here.


6. Lafco Home Fragrance Mist in Ski House

Image of frosted bottle of Lafco room spray

LAFCO

If the concept of fragrances inspired by rooms of your house interests you, but you’re not into reed diffusers, Lafco offers a room spray in all their signature scents.

This four ounce glass bottle produces a fine mist of concentrated fragrance to fill your home with the smell of Lafco’s House & Home Collection. This one isn’t for your linens though, so try not to spray it directly on fabrics.

Ski House is a woodsy, fireplace-warmed lodge scent with Virginia cedar, leather, and sandalwood at its heart and the brightness of winter pine. If that’s not your thing, try Office (sage, eucalyptus, and juniper berry) or Sun Room (pink grapefruit, apricot nectar, and musk.)

Price: $40

Buy the Lafco Home Fragrance Mist in Beach House here.


Pros:

  • Attractive colored-glass bottle
  • Choice of scents

Cons:

  • Not for use on fabrics

Find more Lafco Home Fragrance Mist in Beach House information and reviews here.


7. L’Occitane Home Perfume Diffuser Kit

Image of reed diffuser kit with colorful gift box

I want to say right off the bat, this diffuser kit doesn’t include fragrance oils, so I’m not sure kit is the best word to describe it. However, it is a beautiful hexagonal glass diffuser vessel with the L’Occitane name set on the bottom edge of the glass.

Together with the sold separately L’Occitane diffuser oils, this diffuser and oil still comes to less than most of the other diffusers on this list in price. L’Occitane’s two most famous scents, Lavender and Verbena, are available as 3.3 ounce bottles of diffuser oil.

These are the two L’Occitane fragrances are bright, airy, and complexly floral. If you’re thinking of dipping a toe into luxury home fragrances, this may be a good starting point.

Price: $19

Buy the L’Occitane Home Perfume Diffuser Kit here.


Pros:

  • Lower price
  • Classic L’Occitane scents
  • Heavy, elegant glass vessel

Cons:

  • Fragrance sold separately
  • Limited scent choices

Find more L’Occitane Home Perfume Diffuser Kit information and reviews here.


8. Archipelago Diffuser in Luna

Image of frosted bottle in whiskey shape with cork

Archipelago Botanicals

Archipelago’s scents are bright and straightforward. They’re layered but not quite as complex as some of the other fragrance brands. It’s all a matter of tastes–some people like four layers and other like 14.

Luna has an energizing start of lemon verbena that deepens to thyme and lavender. The vessel is a chic frosted glass bottle that can fit into any decor.

This size bottle should give you around four to six months of scent. If lemony scents aren’t for you, this style bottle also comes in Charleston (jasmine and tuberose) and Lanai (ginger and pineapple.)

Price: $45

Buy the Archipelago Diffuser in Luna here.


Pros:

  • Bright, less complicated fragrances
  • Elegant frosted bottle
  • Gift-ready box

Cons:

  • Scents aren’t as multidimensional as others

Find more Archipelago Diffuser in Luna information and reviews here.


9. Antica Farmacista Home Ambiance Diffuser in Pompelmo

Image of glass reed diffuser with yellow label

Antica Farmacista

In addition to the room spray at the top of the list, the very diverse library of Antica Farmacista fragrances are also available as a more constant flow of scent in these glass diffusers, inspired by turn of the century apothecary bottles. The included white birch reeds disperse the scent and work best if carefully flipped every week or so.

Their Pompelmo is a pure, true grapefruit scent. I have a sample of this spray from Antica Farmacista and it smells exactly like cutting through a ripe grapefruit. It’s bright, refreshing and would be perfect for an entryway or kitchen.

All Antica Farmacista diffusers come in a tall, cream colored boxed that make them an elegant gift, especially for a housewarming. Antica Farmacista sent me a White Cedar diffuser (limited scent) last year and it’s still going strong. I will say that it’s more subtle in its fragrance than other diffusers. If you’re looking for something softer, this may be a good choice.

This 100 milliliter bottle is perfect for small spaces that need a boost of fragrance like bathrooms and dorm rooms. For larger spaces, Antica Farmacista offers a 250 milliliter bottle and a 500 milliliter bottle. Many of Antica Farmacista’s more complex scents are available in these sizes including Fig Leaf (Meyer lemon, fig sap, and amber) and Manhattan (vetiver, cognac, satsuma, and bergamot).

Price: $26



Buy the Antica Farmacista Home Ambiance Diffuser in Pompelmo here.


Pros:

  • Choice of fragrance and size
  • Reeds made of white birch
  • Clean bottle design
  • Gift-ready box
  • No animal testing

Cons:

  • More subtle than others

Find more Antica Farmacista Home Ambiance Diffuser in Pompelmo information and reviews here.


10. Alora Ambiance Room and Body Spray in Tre

Image of glass bottle with wooden stop, home fragrance, alora, tre

Alora

This room spray from Alora doubles has a body spray though they don’t recommend direct skin contact. Alora’s Mediterranean flavor of scent building pairs well with this juicy fig fragrance.

Tre is a warm fragrance like a lazy summer afternoon. It combines amber, deep vanilla, and mandarin. The elegant wooden top lifts up to reveal a metal spritzer head. If floral is a little too traditional room spray for you, Alora has over a dozen other scents including Toscana (earthy and green).

Price: $24

Buy the Alora Ambiance Room and Body Spray in Tre here.


Pros:

  • Spray head is hidden by wooden cap
  • Lots of scents to choose from
  • Doubles as body spray

Cons:

  • May be too one note for some

Find more Alora Ambiance Room and Body Spray in Tre information and reviews here.


See also:

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1 Comment

1 Comment

Anna Kardashian

Our experience with Aera so far has been pretty underwhelming, to say the least.
– We purchased a “Glow” set which was supposed to come with a Diffuser and a Glow fragrance. When the order was shipped to us, there was only the diffuser and no “glow” fragrance. We had additionally purchased “Poetry” – which was included. 
- Upon following up with customer support, Glow was shipped out
- Poetry was very unimpressive and at around 6-7 intensity, was hardly noticeable in our medium-sized bedroom. No one even noticed the fragrance, we tried placing it at various places with no success. 
- Glow, on the other hand, was better, we liked it. But this did not last long. 
- It’s been about a week of using our diffuser and it seems to have stopped working. The LED lights on top of the unit are cycling from 1-10 rapidly. 
- We switched off and switched it back on; we pulled the power cord and plugged it back. We reset the device by simultaneously pressing + and – buttons – nothing helps.
The unit is no longer diffusing! Upon pressing the eject button, nothing happens. I pulled out the capsule in any case and plugged it back in. Whether the capsule is plugged in or pulled out, the LED lights keep toggling. My App indicates that the device is reachable, functioning ok – but that is not the case.
With a week’s run, this device has already tanked.

None of the troubleshooting tips worked. They sent us a Fedex return label. And I am told they will replace the faulty unity once their QA gets the returned equipment. We shipped it back 2 days ago, it won’t reach them till next Friday, so I am guessing, if at all we do get a replacement, it will not be till mid January. This was a Christmas present, and we ended up relying on good old Yankee candles. This left a sour taste in the mouth, the quality of the equipment as well as their unsympathetic Customer Support. Anyway, we are kind of stuck with this as I was over enthusiastic and also bought two additional fragrances – now I have no choice but to wait and hope they send me back a replacement, whenever they do.

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