Insiders' Guide: How to Scent Your Home

An Interview With Willliu

Willliu, a perfumer and aromatherapist, owns a boutique in Los Angeles, where she sells fragrances and handcrafted burners and diffusers.

Fragrance is a powerful way to set a mood. The secret is to concentrate just the right amount of scent in the right area so the effect is harmonious rather than overwhelming.

•  Experiment with oils. As an aromatherapist, I lean toward natural essential oils. One of the simplest ways to diffuse them is to add several drops to a small glass or ceramic bowl of heated—not boiling—water and let the steam fill the room. Or place a few cotton balls sprinkled with oils inside an unlit burner (you can use any pretty vessel with an opening at the top or holes in the lid).
•  Know your place. In the bedroom, florals are romantic, spices can be very seductive, and lavender and chamomile are calming—as good as counting sheep, in my opinion. Citruses and clary sage freshen the bathroom nicely; dab a few drops of essential oil inside the toilet paper roll. When you're giving a dinner party, go with a fresh scent that won't clash with your cuisine. Rose geranium has a hint of green that is almost like a palette cleanser after a meal.

•  When in doubt, choose citrus. Lemon, grapefruit, orange, bergamot, and lime complement nearly any setting or occasion because they refresh, soothe, and smell clean all at once. It's really rare that someone won't like the smell of citrus in the air.