Candles and incense burning in ceramic containers

All the Smell Things: Making Your Apartment Smell Nice

Your home is much more than the place you lay your head at night. It’s the place where you feel most comfortable. The place where, when you open the door at the end of a long day, you feel happy, refreshed and ready to take on the challenges that come the next time you step foot outside your safe haven.

One great way to ensure that you always feel at home when you enter your abode is by using candles, incense and/or diffusers to help create a consistent and cohesive atmosphere that promotes relaxation and ensures your comfort for every second you spend inside. Here are a few things you should know before you go about making your apartment smell nice.

Lighting candles

woman burning a candle in her apartment to make it smell nice

There’s something inherently comforting about a controlled fire, no matter how small. That’s the core of the appeal of a candle. Beyond the pleasant aromas and pretty designs, candles provide that primal feeling of home and safety from the moment you light them to the time you blow them out.


  • There are a wide variety of smells, colors and display methods
  • A number of clean-burning alternative wick materials are available, including wood, hemp and cotton
  • A number of clean-burning alternative wax materials are available, including soy wax, beeswax, palm wax, coconut wax and vegetable wax


  • Most candles release particulate matter into the air that can, over time with excess exposure, negatively affect heart and lung function. While the amount is small, if you’re burning multiple candles all day, it can add up.
  • It can sometimes be difficult to determine the types of chemicals used in wicks and waxes

The takeaway

To be clear, you would have to burn an absurd amount of candles all day every day to experience any major health risks, especially if you’re using a cleaner-burning alternative to make your apartment smell nice.

If you’re worried about any particulate matter in the air, simply set up your candles a safe distance from where you spend a majority of your time and crack open a window for a little while once the candle is lit or after blowing it out.

Burning incense

incense sticks burning to make your apartment smell nice

Whether you’re an experienced yogi, a home chef trying to clear your apartment of the pungent aromas of your latest meal or just looking to leave the stresses of a long day behind, burning incense is a great way to quickly make your apartment smell nice.


  • Some report that the aromas from incense sticks increase calm and focus while decreasing stress and anxiety
  • Many incense sticks come with a pretty accurate and consistent burn time and can be used as a relaxing timer. Instead of an alarming buzzer, you’ll simply notice the smoke go out.


  • It’s no secret, breathing in any amount of smoke is not the healthiest thing in the world
  • It’s difficult to get a clear answer on how incense smoke affects the body. Many of the most prominent studies conducted thus far have been funded by historically untrustworthy institutions like Big Tobacco.

The takeaway

Given the stronger scent they put off, incense sticks don’t have to burn as long as candles to have the same effect. Be mindful though, these stronger scents are polarizing and can potentially cause guests to feel uncomfortable. Everything in moderation!

Using diffusers

black diffuser on a green table being used to make an apartment smell better

Diffusers have continued to gain popularity at home over the past decade. What started out as a staple at the local yoga studio or meditation center is now as common in the kitchen as a blender and as likely to be seen in the living room as a loveseat. Sleek and effective, these little machines are a great method to make your apartment smell nice.


  • It’s easy to change scents with a number of different essential oil compounds
  • They’ve been known to help keep common household bugs like mosquitos and fruit flies at bay
  • Studies have shown that many of the essential oils used to create scents can reduce nausea, anxiety, headaches, fatigue and more
  • They come in many different designs that go with any interior aesthetic


  • Keeping a healthy rotation of different essential oil scents is pricier than candles and incense sticks
  • Some essential oil compounds contain common allergens
  • It’s difficult to search out pure essential oil compounds as regulation is not very tight within the industry

The takeaway

If you aren’t prone to airborne allergens and prefer a milder method to make your apartment smell nice, a diffuser is exactly what you’re looking for. Just be sure to read the labels of the essential oils you choose carefully.

It’s your apartment, make it smell nice

It’s important to remember that not a whole lot of scientific research or resources are allocated to study these products. While much is still unknown about them, the above is a solid summation of the pros and cons documented thus far.

Smell ya later!


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