One of our favorite ways to prep our homes for fall is through the use of scent — not only does it help us make the transition to cooler, cozier months ahead, but it can also be a powerful way to channel some serenity. This year, we're trading the expected stuff — like pumpkin spice, maple, and cinnamon — for some more unexpected counterparts.
We asked trend experts, industry insiders, and other in-the-know scent obsessed individuals about their predictions for the season ahead and their personal picks ... and we got some pretty non-traditional responses. These are the fragrance notes we'll be diffusing throughout our homes for fall and beyond — read on to discover your new favorites.
Think of the bitter but luxe notes of a traditional cacao ceremony, rather than the sugary smells of your Halloween candy haul. Bethany McDaniel, Founder and CEO of Primally Pure, lists cacao, manuka, and ocotea (a rare, cinnamon-like leafy distillate) as her favorites scents of the season, describing cacao as an essential oil that's "high in antioxidant properties and evokes a sense of coziness, depth and warmth." What more could you want for your fall digs?
Get the trend: Primally Pure Autumn Oil Diffuser Blend, $42
"I'm loving fragrances that are woodsy at the moment. Anything with wood, smoke, or leather notes creates such a cozy atmosphere, almost like a cocoon of sophisticated warmth," says L'or de Seraphine CEO and Founder Dara Weiss. Weiss connects Sandalwood's appeal to our desire to get outside, especially in a year when the outdoors have been the only respite for many of us.
"While fragrances like apple-cinnamon and pumpkin spice are ubiquitous in the fall, I anticipate this season's fragrance trends to skew more outdoorsy, with more woodsy notes and elements of nature that are known to soothe. We may not be able to visit our favorite campgrounds, have a picnic, or play football in the park with friends during this unusual fall season, but fragrances like cedarwood, pine, sandalwood, and leather bring us back to these warm and comforting autumn moments and can help to create a wonderful fall atmosphere at home."
Get the trend: L'or de Seraphine Medium Varansi Candle, $30
Sage is a two-fer for fall, as far as we're concerned. Not only does this scent appear in lots of fall cooking in seasoning form, evoking memories of cozy family meals, but sage's cleansing properties make it perfect for seasonal transitions. "I've been lighting our Ares candle over the past few weeks as the weather begins to change and it becomes more clearly fall," Weiss says. "I love the way the Ares fragrance fills my home with sage, cedarwood, and eucalyptus; it is not only cozy, but also incredibly soothing."
Get the trend: L'or de Seraphine Medium Ares Candle, $30
Diptyque is a forever-favorite for home fragrance, and this season is no exception. "As the weather turns cooler, I transition my home fragrance to a warmer fall scent," says Eduardo Valadez, diptyque's Director of Marketing. "I especially like the enveloping notes of fire wood, amber or vanilla. I'm most excited to light my Feu De Bois and Ambre — maybe even both at the same time to create a really cozy fall ambiance."
Get the trend: Diptyque Ambre diffuser insert, $45
If you feel like the spring and summer zoomed by and you're not quite ready for fall, you're actually not alone — Etsy Trend Director Dayna Isom Johnson notes that this seems to be a common feeling at the moment. "As fall approaches, shoppers are looking to prolong the warmer months by incorporating scents like citrus and rose into their homes and everyday life," she explains, citing spikes in these search terms on Etsy. "Although typically affiliated with the spring and summer time, these fruity and floral aromas blend nicely with cozy fall staples like sandalwood, clove, and ginger." We love the idea of transitioning from late summer to fall with orange or clementine notes, peppering in clove or ginger for a more winter-y atmosphere as the seasons progress.
Emily Bihl is a freelance writer and sometimes-songwriter who can invariably be found rearranging furniture in a domicile somewhere along the Mississippi River. She lives with her black labrador Selkie and a small army of homemade ceramics, and has not willingly closed a browser tab since 2011.