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How To Choose A Luxe Fall Fragrance For Your Home, According To Experts

Think more chic and cozy, as opposed to sickly sweet.

By Bianca Lambert
Anastasiia Krivenok/Moment/Getty Images
Organic soya wax candles with wooden candlewick in white ceramic bowls on linen bedding set with boo...

As fall rolls in and you indulge in seasonal sips and comfort food favorites, you may also find yourself reaching for a fall-fragranced candle to bring the scents of the season into your home. But to really ignite those olfactory senses, any old PSL candle may not cut it.

To take the guesswork out of choosing a scent for the season and help you bring those autumnal vibes inside, fragrance experts Eduardo Valadez, Director of Marketing at Diptyque, and Dawn Marie West, perfumer and founder of luxury candle studio La Boticá Studios, are here to light the way.

“I often see fragrances essentially like a color wheel, where there are differences in hue and tone,'' says West. “Autumn fragrances tend to be deeper in tone, more personal, profound, and complex, and able to tell the story of your sanctuary.”

Here’s how to select a fall-inspired scent that’ll have your space smelling cozy yet elevated — and not like a pumpkin dessert.

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1. Swap Your Floral Scents For Woodsy Notes

We all have our tried-and-true candles we burn to the last drop. However, Valadez believes our home fragrances should shift as the seasons change. “[This will] help create an atmosphere appropriate for the season,” he says.

Because spring and summer scents tend to have floral or herbal notes that remind us of long days at the beach or fresh spring blooms, swapping those out for candles that boost prominent woodsy notes can help create a comforting, cozy mood with the light of a match.

Shop Woodsy Fragrances

A few favorites to consider: La Boticá’s Ceremony candle, which features notes of palo santo and smoky cedar wood, Lumira’s No. 352 blend which combines cedarwood and labdanum tree with French leather, and the beloved Diptyque Amber candle with warm notes of woods vetiver and patchouli.

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Burn Tradition

The fall season is typically known for traditional notes of vanilla, pine, clove, and cedar. Alternatively, West recommends a brighter option for those who’s rather keep the vanilla limited to their fall desserts and not their candles.

“Fragrance can be so personal and develop from our recollections and experiences, so it differs from person to person,” explains West. “However, a citrus scent can be energetically uplifting, especially in aromatherapy. Universally, its bright notes offer a pleasant experience.”

Valadez also suggests adding notes of spice to the mix: “[This will] still be reminiscent of the holidays, although slightly untraditional and surprising.”

Shop Non-Traditional Fall Fragrances

With notes of citrus fruits, eucalyptus, and basil, Reisfields No. 1 is equal parts invigorating and comforting. And the combination of ginger zest, clove buds, and birch tree in the Byredo Chai candle is warm and complex. Another scented select from Byredo? The brand’s Treehouse candle that blends spice (pepper and myrrh) with woodsy base notes (cedar wood and sandalwood).

3. Curate A Scent For Each Room

Placing a different candle in each room of your home can help tell a signature scent story and set the mood of each separate space. “The beauty of fragrance is its storytelling abilities,” West muses. “So translating that into your spaces is as important as the art showcased in each room.”

“I recommend comforting gourmand fragrances for the kitchen, such as spicy accords of nutmeg, clove bud, bay, or chai,” says West. “For the living space and entertaining, warm blends, like velvety cashmere, vanilla, oud, firewood, or tonka bean set the tone.”

Also on the docket: Calming scents for stress-relief in the office, and, for the bathroom, playful papaya, petitgrain, or cardamom “for a contemporary twist on the typical spa scents,” instructs West.

Shop Fall Scents For Each Room

For the living room, try the cashmere wood, vetiver, and white amber scent of Boy Smells Cashmere Kush, or the vanilla-and-firewood-fragranced Campfire candle from Detroit Rose. Alternatively, for a full scent story, score the Escapist Smoke and Woods Candle Set from Brooklyn Candle Studio: It features a trio of woodsy scents that all complement one another.

4. Burn More Than One Scent

Let scent spark your creativity: You can compose an entirely new olfactory landscape by simultaneously burning two differently scented candles, according to Valadez. “Diptyque Feu de Bois and Ambre scented candles can be paired together to create a warm and smoky scent. While Noisetier and Vanille create a rich, nutty aroma that is reminiscent of holiday baking,” he explains.

Diptyque even offers a digital tool to help you create your own dynamic duo.

Shop Coordinating Fall Scents

Individually, Feu de Bois exudes warmth with the scent of firewood; Noisetier is a spicy, woody fragrance with notes of cloves and hazelnut; and Vanille is a smoky and complex vanilla scent.

5. Select Notes Proven To Boost Your Mood

While the shift to cooler weather can be wonderful with all of the holidays and events to look forward to, the change can also trigger seasonal bouts of depression and anxiety. Research suggests that certain scents, such as bergamot and sweet orange, can actually help ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Valadez recommends incorporating these fragrances, plus lavender and cinnamon, into your home’s fall scent story to lift your mood and evoke a feeling of calm and comfort throughout the space. Fall is the perfect time for getting cozy, after all.

Shop Mood-Boosting Fall Scents

Citrus and floral notes blend beautifully with autumnal amber and vanilla in Harlem Candle Co.’s Josephine candle. Agraria bought together lavender plus rosemary and sage for a seasonal spin on the scent. And, with notes of orange and spice, the aptly named Fall candle from Antik Lakay is perfect for sweater weather.