Why Scent Is Often Inextricably Linked To Interior Design

Interior design and scent are enmeshed in a subtle but intricate pattern of sensory elements that translates the vision of any space into its true potential. 

The more senses that are incorporated into an interior design, the more alluring and fascinating it will be. 

Scent is linked to the limbic system of the human brain, which controls emotions and feelings, and more than any other sense, powerfully affects the ambiance and mood of any given space.

As scientific research uncovers more and more data concerning the unique connection between emotion, memory, and our sense of smell, interior designers are embracing the powerful effects that fragrance has on the mood and ambiance of interior space.

Scent Triggers Consumers

Scent has become integral to design, relegated to as much consideration as paint color, lighting, and the strategic placement of furniture.

According to Dawn C. Bush, PHD, clinical psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center:

“The fist time we experience a particular scent, we associate it with events, people and emotions of the time. This means that when entering a scented room, if the smell is familiar, old memories will come to the surface. If it is an unknown scent, memories will form around it..” To quote Yogi Bera: “Its like deja vu all over again.”

This phenomenon does, however, have a real and dignified moniker; namely, “odor-evoked autobiographical memory.” 

This concept marks the intersection of brain anatomy and fragrances.

The Benefits Of Sensory Design

Sensory experiences are explosive, and they have spurred major alterations in both the thinking and presentations of modern interior designers. 

Up until fairly recently, their focus was geared mostly toward the creation of fancy logos, monograms or physical artifacts such as: bowls, bottles, glasses etc.

Today, it is the interaction of a product or place with consumers that drives the ultimate interior experience.

Sensory design enhances health and well-being, as demonstrated by a study that examined how the aromas of grapefruit, curry, or chocolate cake at mealtimes stimulated the appetites of Alzheimer patients. 

Sensory design fuses time and space, which is presented as an almost living thing that affects human behavior, emotions and personal truth.

Different Scents For Different Spaces

According to Gemma Hopkins, fragrance expert and founder of Design In Scent, an exclusive house of design catering to couture scent encounters: “When you choose which fragrances to use, consider how it will harmonize with its surroundings and ensure it complements the mood that you have curated through visual design.”

Fragrances can be added to different rooms in a home to evoke specific emotional landscapes. 

Lavender is soothing and relaxing in a bedroom while the scent of orange in a kitchen is refreshing and invigorating.

Calming Lavender Scent Hospitals

Intoxicating florals are perfect for smaller places, such as powder rooms, and scents such as thyme, sweet marjoram and pine are very popular for living rooms because it is believed their presence encourages conversation.

Selecting The Perfect Scent For A Commercial Interior Style

Before getting specific as to the myriad of fragrance choices available at Air-Scent, business managers must first establish the style of the commercial space in question. Some options include:


This design is simple, clean and sleek. These interiors tend to focus on the space itself rather than the objects that may lie within it. 

Aspects of metal, glass, and a natural color scheme are commonly shared. 

Fragrances can both underline and complement such as space and can include among many other selections: tangy and fresh lemon and energizing wild orange.


Rustic interiors have rugged lines and are comprised of natural elements from the great outdoors such as: raw wood, stones, leaves and other organic elements. 

Such a style allows for the character of each piece of furniture to stand out and shine on its own and is based on interiors established by the early American settlers who brought little or no furniture with them on their arduous journey to the New World. 

Fragrances with woody notes can perfectly complement a rustic interior. 

Masculine selections of creamy sandalwood tinged with musk and feminine aromas, which are also woody, when combined with aspects of cedar and lush vanilla accords, transform any commercial interior into a warm and cozy rustic space.


A Bohemian or Boho style by definition is an aesthetic that defies tradition and refers to an iconoclastic and unconventional style of decorating a particular space. 

Bohemian design is eclectic, and features natural elements combined with bold colors and fragrances that are sensual and inviting. 

This free-spirited, diverse style often incorporates different cultures and natural aspects like greenery and florals. 

A floral scent captures the casual nature of Bohemian interior design, and herbs like sage offer a green, earthy aroma. 

Our many exotic fragrances, such as those featuring intense and intoxicating jasmine among others, whisper of far away, mysterious places.

Vintage Interior Design

Luxurious and feminine, this style of interior design is marked by opulent aspects reminiscent of Old Hollywood or the decorative, heavy flourishes of the Victorian Age. 

Several fragrance families can enhance this design, some of which include: oriental touches that are warm and full-bodied and comprised of a classic accord that combines rich, bold and honey-like tonka bean, noble vanilla, woody, warm and pungent myrrh, aromatic frankincense, sugary, vanilla-like styrax, rich, syrupy and smooth benzoin, earthy patchouli and warm, balsamic and sweet opoponax. 

Floral facets, such as intense and intoxicating jasmine combined with lush vanilla, harmoniously stabilize exotic and traditional notes and greatly enhance a vintage interior design that is perfect for retail, boutiques etc.

Introducing Scent To A Commercial Interior Space

A customized scent may be invisible to the naked eye, but it is a vital aspect of commercial interior design. 

A signature fragrance encompasses a wide range of industries including but not limited to: retail; real estate; health and hospitals; hospitality; recreation; gyms and spas, museums and tourist attractions, just to name a handful. 

5 Senses Retail Scent Marketing

Scents are important for each and every industry mentioned, but all must be selected on the basis of how well they complement the desired atmosphere. 

In the retail sector, for example, fragrances play a powerful role in affecting both purchasing behavior and repeat patronage. 

Big brands rely on a signature scent to both differentiate their name from others of their ilk and to appeal directly to their target base.

When introducing a scent to a commercial interior design, industry leaders must always be cognizant of the fact that any fragrance will have the power to build new experiences within that singular space, and that there are two different categories of scent marketing to choose from; namely, ambient and brand. 

Ambient scent marketing is used to directly influence a type of atmosphere that enhances consumer experiences.

Scent Marketing Bottom Line Benefits To Businesses

It is not linked to a single brand or product. Two examples concern lavender and lemon; the former creates a soothing ambiance, the latter an increase in alertness and productivity. 

Brand scenting, on the other hand, is focused on a consumer connection between a chosen fragrance and a certain product or brand.

Such a scent must evoke consumer emotions, which in turn increases brand loyalty, consumer spending and return traffic to a commercial space. 

In the same manner as a retailer selects scents to keep shoppers in their store and purchasing more goods, offices can choose fragrances that help relieve stress and evoke energy. 

Executed properly, an effective marketing strategy can entice new tenants to a condo or coop, retain existing tenants, and help to create long-term relationships with them.

Relevant Research On The Power Of Scent And Sales

Psychologist and scholar, Eric Spangenberg, has conducted significant research on the connection between scents, retail sales and traffic. 

His research concluded that feminine scents, such as vanilla, doubled retail purchases by women when placed in strategic areas such as lingerie, make-up etc. 

Similar effects occurred in men when masculine fragrances, such as deep, rich Rose Maroc, were introduced. 

In his own words: “Men don’t like to stick around when it smells feminine, and women don’t linger in a store if it smells masculine.”

Another Spangenberg study concluded that in the presence of a simple scent, one group of about 100 people on average spent 20 percent more money, buying more items. 

In his own words: “Just because pine boughs or baked cookies smell good doesn’t mean they will lead to sales… Most people are processing scent on an unconscious level, but it is still impacting their behavior. The important thing from the retailer’s perspective and the marketer’s perspective is to remember that a pleasant scent isn’t necessarily an effective scent.”

Air Scent History and Scent Marketing

Our ambient air-care experts are the fragrance magicians behind the phenomenon known as scent marketing for commercial interiors, which represents the last frontier in modern advertising. 

Many decades ago, a book called The Hidden Persuaders revealed the secrets of the advertising world and tackled odd questions like what makes someone buy a red car and why women are drawn to certain perfumes.

Today, these questions are passé on their own, but they are integral to the enduring fabric of scent marketing evolution, in which we has played a leading role for more than seventy years.

Air-Scent International Headquarters Logo

There are dozens of companies that specialize in creating unique scents for commercial interiors, but there is only one Air-Scent.

We are a leading American manufacturer of air-care systems and environmental odor and hygiene products servicing an enormous range of clients all over the world and is involved with every modern industry under the sun.

Family owned and operated, we have been in continuous operation since the 1940s, and continue to be the vanguard of evolutionary progress of ambient air-care.

If you’re a scent marketing, air care or janitorial supply company, own or run a condo or business environment, or work within the interior design industry, give our teams a call today!

Final thought on interior design: Quality design must have a sense of authenticity… Sometimes, the middle of the road is the most dangerous place to walk. ~David Collins

Photo Credits: Pixabay

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