The best home fragrance: 12 powerful scents from candles to diffusers

The coveted home fragrance buys everyone is loving right now, from reed diffusers to candles

Included in this guide:

The best home fragrance graphic – Rituals reed diffuser, Noble Isle candle, Dr Vranjes room spray and Skandinavisk candle
(Image credit: Future)

Invest in some of the best home fragrance buys around to help conjure up the perfect atmosphere in your home. Whether you are aiming for a warm and welcoming vibe or a sharp and sophisticated feel, you can peruse our favourite fragranced buys just below. Some of which have been tried, tested and obviously loved by the Livingetc team.

Because in our eyes, even the most beautiful homes can quickly turn unattractive if they are matched with an unpleasant scent. This way, your home will both look incredible and smell irresistible, all day long. We're talking all things from lovely reed diffusers to the best candles, and in a range of scents from woody for winter to floral for spring and fresh for year-round scenting. Discover the Livingetc edit of home fragrance buys, with picks from everyone including The White Company, Rituals, ESPA, Skandinavisk — plus more.

The best home fragrance buys

The White Company Fireside DiffuserLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: The White Company)

1. The White Company's Fireside Diffuser

A woody reed diffuser that's perfect for autumn

Specifications
Type: Reed diffuser
Size: 150ml
Notes: Smoked woods, birch & amber

Thee White Company's Fireside Diffuser will see you through autumn and through the cold weather. This fragrance will conjure up a welcoming atmosphere in your home, to take your interior from feeling happy and warm from summer to cosy and welcoming – ready for autumn and winter 2021. 

The scent
Emanating an immediate scent as soon as the reeds touch the fragrance liquid, this diffuser is irresistibly impressive. Essentially, it smells just like a lit fireplace in the depths of autumn. With woody and warm notes of birch and amber, place this alluring scent inside your cosiest room – a bedroom or living room – and wait for it to waft under your nose.

The packaging
Sitting inside a classic The White Company glass vessel, Fireside comes in a 150ml size – to last approximately 3 months. Rattan reeds come included and it arrives in a gorgeous box making it gift-worthy.

Good to know
We obviously recommend flipping your reeds regularly for a welcoming boost of this delightful fragrance every now and then. We recommend moving this reed diffuser around a room during the day, to ensure it permeates its scent in each and every corner of your room. Otherwise, the centre of the room is always the best place to place a reed diffuser.

Rituals The Ritual of Sakura Mini Fragrance SticksLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Rituals)

2. Rituals' The Ritual of Sakura Mini Fragrance Sticks

This oriental reed diffuser will add a wow-factor to your home

Specifications
Type : Reed diffuser
Size: 50ml, 70ml, 250ml
Notes: Rice milk, cherry blossom

Choose Rituals' Sakura reed diffuser as it will be a powerful yet sweet and creamy addition to your home. It might be small in size, but rest assured it makes up for it in fragrance power.

Scent
Rituals' Sakura reed diffuser is understated and eccentric, with sweet and creamy notes. This scent is made using a blend of rice milk and cherry blossom – it's creamy at first whiff, but with a sweet aftermath.

Packaging
This fragrance lives inside the new-look Rituals reed diffuser vessel, which is white, ribbed and constructed of recyclable glass. With it comes a number of reeds so that you can tailor this fragrance's vibrancy to suit your room size. That being said, it can easily scent a large room.

Good to know
We say to place this diffuser in the middle of a living room, or in a hallway to flood your rooms subtly with scent. Alternatively, it works well in a toilet. They say that Rituals' reed diffusers are made so that you needn't spin the reeds, and although it's fragranced, we do recommend flipping them before guests are coming over – or whenever want a boost. Once this reed diffuser becomes empty, you can buy a large refill bottle to top it up whenever is needed.

Skandinavisk Lempi CandleLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Skandinavisk)

3. Skandinavisk Lempi Candle

A candle for the floral lovers out there

Specifications
Type: Candle
Size: 65g, 200g
Notes: Peony and rose, strawberries and mosses

When we claim that this might be the best floral candle we have ever smelt, we mean every word of it. 

The scent
It's simply ideal for lighting in spring or summer seasons, with notes of popular flowers such as peonies and roses – as well as strawberries to add the sweetness, and mosses to bring an earthy mix to this blend. We suggest lighting this candle in a living room, home office, or bedroom to bring the outdoors in and add a sweet aroma to your home.

The packaging
This candle is made of rapeseed wax with a cotton wick and poured into a recycled glass vessel, complete with a beechwood lid. It offers a very even burn, while it's even suitable for vegans and it goes without saying it will look gorgeous on display in your home. 

Good to know
It comes in two sizes including a mini and a large. We obviously recommend the larger size, but the mini is great if you're not 100% sure if you'll love the scent.

ESPA Restorative CandleLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: ESPA)

4. ESPA Restorative Candle

A relaxing aromatherapy candle to help you unwind

Specifications
Type: Candle
Size: 200g
Notes: Rose Geranium, Orange, Lavender, Palmarosa

ESPA's Restorative Candle is one of the best aromatherapy candles you can buy—in other words, it's super relaxing and it will help you unwind after a long day. With calming scent notes, it's even hand poured and it's made using essential oils.

The scent
This candle gives off a comforting yet relaxing aroma, thanks to its notes of lavender, of which are blended nicely with sweet oranges to make it slightly herbal. On top of that there's rose geranium and palmarosa for good balance. It's undeniably sweet, so it's definitely a candle you'll want to burn early spring to late summer.

The packaging
Housed inside an elegant white glass vessel and adorned with a metal lid to keep dust at bay, this ESPA candle both looks and plays the part. We say to use its lid as a protective plate when lighting, to protect your surfaces, while these candles come inside a lovely box, ready to gift if 

Good to know
This candle can be a tad overpowering if placed inside a smaller room. That being said, it does fit in perfectly, scent-wise, inside a bathroom. It definitely has an odour-repelling power, and it's nice and fragrant to mask the smells of cleaning products.It's also made of 100% natural wax and it's suitable for vegetarians, as well a FSC-approved.

Scentered Sleep Well Candle RefillsLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Scentered)

5. Scentered Sleep Well Candle Refills

The best eco-friendly candle out there

Specifications
Type: Candle
Size: 220g
Notes: Lavender, chamomile, palmarose, ho wood, bois de rose, geranium

Scentered's 100% natural candle refills are a great find for those who hoping to be more eco-friendly. They come housed inside a compostable coffee cup, and the idea is that you remove them from their packaging and burn these candles in your own 220g glass vessel, that in turn, you reuse again and again.

The scent
This eco candle is packed with fragrance, while it gives off an undenyably therapeutic scent that would make a lovely addition to a bedroom. Everything from lavender to chamomile, palmarosa, ho wood, bois de rose and geranium is used to fragrance this candle. These candles are sweet, although this is balanced well with patchouli, clove and ylang ylang. 

The packaging
As previously mentioned, the packaging of these candles is what makes them great—and unique. They are poured inside plant-made compostable cups and when they arrive to you, you'll need to remove your candle from this cup before lighting it. Place your candle inside another 220g glass vessel you have, and burn it in there. This makes for essentially zero waste, while you can reuse the same glass over and over again. Wave goodbye to single-use candle packaging.

Good to know
These Scentered candle refills come in a pack of two, while they are made with 100% natural wax, mixed with essential oils, and they are vegan-friendly. Awake well-rested with SLEEP WELL to give yourself the best chance for a wonderful day by embracing this nightly bedtime ritual to help you drift off into restful sleep. Delivers an alluring blend to relax your body and quiet your mind. It also has a 35-hour burn time, while these candles are not recommended for use in pregnancy.

Nomad Noé Hero in Niani CandleLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Nomad Noé)

6. Nomad Noé Hero in Niani Candle

A creamy yet fresh candle for hallways

Specifications
Type : Candle
Size: 220g
Notes: Vanilla and tonka bean

This creamy candle from Nomad Noé smells as good as it looks—it's fresh yet warm and also inviting, and it has a long burn time of 55 hours.

The scent
The reason we suggest lighting this candle in a hallway or entryway is due to its fresh yet warm properties. It's inviting and awakening, thanks to its creamy vanilla and toasted tonka bean notes. It's also nice and sweet, without being too overpowering—which can be hard to find.

The packaging
Housed inside a beautiful porcelain vessel, with a mint green lid, this candle will make a statement no matter where you choose to place it. It also arrives in a decorative mint green box, making a lovely gift for a birthday, baby shower, or even for Christmas, 

Good to know
This candle is hand-poured in the US, surrounding a 100% cotton wick. Its fragrance, however, was crafted in Grasse, in France. It's both vegan and cruelty-free, while it has a very impressive burning time of 55 hours. Oh, and it's made using a blend of vegetable waxes.

Noble Isle Whisky & Water CandleLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Noble Isle)

7. Noble Isle Whisky & Water Candle

A powerful scent for lighting in serious situations

Specifications
Type: Candle
Size: 200g
Scent: Whisky and water

Noble Isle's Whisky & Water candle is impressively powerful and ideal for lighting in autumn and winter, ideally in a home office or in a hallway to flood each and every room in your home.

The scent
A strong scent that's bound to turn some heads (and a few noses) this unique blend from Noble Isle is warm, masculine, and earthy with notes of whisky and water. There are also notes of rose, Davana blossom, jasmine, orange blossom, tonka bean, and amber – for good balance.

The packaging
This UK-made candle comes poured in a black glass vessel that's lovely and plain to be nestled in some shelving or on a side without sticking out like a sore thumb. It comes beautifully wrapped in a box with a ribbon, making it a lovely gift idea.

Good to know
It can be quite overpowering so be sure to light it in a large room and crack a window. Avoid this candle if you don't like strong smells as it can scent a room without even being lit.

Slab Lab Scented Candle FogLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Slab Lab)

8. Slab Lab Scented Candle Fog

A warm yet delicate smelling eco-friendly candle

Specifications
Type: Candle
Notes: Chamomile, clover honey, bergamot
Size: 240g

This Slab Lab scented candle is a delightful burn for a cold evening – no matter the season. It also offers an even burn, with a 40 to 45 hour burn time, while they are made using coconut and rapeseed wax.

The scent
With a warm base of vanilla and tonka bean, blended with delicate notes of chamomile, clover honey, and bergamot. English pear and freesia also subtly come through once lit. It's without a doubt a unique aroma.

The packaging
Housed in a grey glass jar with a decorative white label, this Slab Lab candle arrives in biodegradable and compostable packaging, as the boxes are made from paper pulp and printed with soy or vegetable oil. They arrive surrounded by void fill which is biodegradable, too – just run it under your tap.

Good to know
This candle is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. It's made using a GMO-free wax and is also paraben, phthalate, and paraffin-free.

The best home fragrance: Ortigia Zagara Reed Diffuser

(Image credit: Ortigia)

9. Ortigia Zagara Reed Diffuser

This reed diffuser is like summer in a smell

Specifications
Type: Reed diffuser
Size: 200ml
Notes: Orange blossom, neroli, pettigrain, woods

Ortigia hail from Sicily, and this most Italian of scents will remind you of summer year-round. It gives off a realistic orange smell, and it's made of natural ingredients. 

The scent
This is the most perfect rendition of orange blossom in home fragrance we’ve ever tried; it has just the right balance of headiness and creaminess to be noticeable without ever becoming overpowering. Guaranteed to mentally transport you to Italy in spring.

The packaging
Gorgeous: clear glass engraved with exotic flora and fauna and filled with the sunny-yellow liquid. It also makes an impactful gift since it comes in gorgeous packaging.

Good to know
This reed diffuser has a natural oil base, which makes it a little less long-lasting that some other reed diffusers we’ve tried. 

The best home fragrance for Christmas: Scandinavisk Skog Candle

(Image credit: Scandinavisk)

10. Scandinavisk Skog Candle

The best home fragrance for Christmas

Specifications
Type: Candle
Size: 1.94oz, 6.7oz
Notes: Pine, lily-of-the-valley, leather

Scandinavisk have mastered the art of minimalist home fragrances: everyone should try at least once. It's surprisingly subtle for a Christmas candle, which we actually prefer as some holiday scents can be undeniably powerful.

The scent
Like a hologram of a Christmas tree. We’ve never experienced a pine scent that captured the sweet/woody essence of pine quite as successfully as this one. Put it on in the same room as your Christmas tree and you’ll be amazed by the hyper-natural effect. Scandinavisk had a stroke of genius with this one, adding the fresh lily-of-the-valley to the dark leather and pine accord. The result is resinous and sweet. We love it. 

Packaging
Cute and colourful jars that come with handy wooden lids, even in smaller sizes. Looks great on a coffee table.

Good to know
This candle is eco-friendly and cruelty-free, similar to other Skandinavisk candles. We find that this candle burns really fast, so stock up if you want it on throughout the Christmas period. 

The best room spray: Dr Vranjes Rosso Nobile Room Spray

(Image credit: Dr Vranjes)

11. Dr Vranjes Rosso Nobile Room Spray

A unqiue room spray to instantly refresh a room

Specifications
Type: Room spray
Size: 3.4oz
Notes: Strawberry, Red berries, birch

Dr Vranjes Firenze make some seriously classy home fragrances – Rosso Nobile is our all-time favorite.

The scent
We think it’s impossible not to like this fragrance: its ripe, red berry and grape notes will instantly lift your spirits and make you smile. We don’t find it at all boozy or reminiscent of Italian wines (the brand’s description), but that doesn’t take away from the instant pleasure of this affable, fruity fragrance. 

The packaging
A cut-crystal bottle that looks stunning with the dark-red juice in it. Will look great on a bathroom vanity.

Good to know
This is not cheap for a room spray, but the scent lingers – worth every cent, in our opinion. 

The best vanilla home fragrance: Voluspa Champagne Classic Maison Candle

(Image credit: Voluspa)

12. Voluspa Champagne Classic Maison Candle

A candle for vanilla lovers – with added depth

Specifications
Type: Candle
Size: 12oz
Notes: Champagne, vanilla, oak

A rich and festive scent that will give any room in the house plenty of oomph. It's rather subtle while having a bit of depth, and there's no denying its design is fancy.

The scent
Forget about champagne, as lovely as the booze-themed marketing for this fragrance is – it’s actually a very well-executed vanilla home scent. Rich, deep, and grounded by the oak, this is warm, creamy vanilla as it should be.  

The packaging
A sleek black glass jar with a gold sticker. Very opulent. 

Good to know
This isn’t a very strong fragrance, so is better suited to smaller rooms.


Reed diffuser, candle, or room spray? 

Quite a few of the scents on our list come in a range of forms, and we've listed reed diffusers, candles, and room sprays in our guide. If you can't decide which one is best for you and your home, then let us help.

Candles are less intrusive because you can easily put them out, but you will need to supervise them when they’re lit. Reed diffusers are low-maintenance, but you’ll need to make sure you like the scent, as you’ll be smelling it all of the time. Room sprays are perfect for bathrooms and kitchens where you may wish to mask unpleasant odors fast—and on-demand.

How to choose a home fragrance?

Choosing a home fragrance scent is the hard part, and it's a highly individual process: what smells great to one person may smell too strong/too sweet/too subtle to another. As a general rule, though, it’s a good idea to work out your preferences, and consider how the fragrance will be used before you buy.

It would also be smart to think about where this home fragrance will live in your home. Large lounges do better with stronger, more opulent fragrances, whether sweet, floral, or smokey. On the other hand, strong room fragrances should be avoided in bedrooms: instead, look for lavender-based scents that will help you sleep. Kitchens are your perfect setting for gourmands (think vanilla or fruits) and herbal scents with notes of citrus and basil. Bathrooms and hallways can take just about anything because they’re often aired. 

Don't forget about what you dislike! If you love rose, look for a rose-based fragrance, it's that simple. If you hate citrus, make sure your home fragrance doesn’t contain any, because whatever fragrance note you dislike will be the one you’ll end up noticing the most.