Home Fragrances to Set the Scene

TOAST's pick of the best home fragrance to create the perfect ambience

Stimulating scents are a powerful tool when it comes to setting the mood at any event. Whether it’s a specific smell for a certain occasion or just an all-round fresh and stylish scent you’re after, there are plenty of ways to add a wonderfully welcoming aroma to your next do. From reed diffusers to candles, scented leaves to room sprays - here at TOAST we’ve selected our top picks of the very best home fragrance to set the mood.

Fabulous food? Check.
Soft lighting? Check.
A perfect playlist? Check.

Yes, fragrance. Entertaining is already a multisensory experience; a tasty menu to tickle taste buds, beautiful flowers and candles to create a feast for the eyes, a perfectly matched playlist to delight your guests’ ears, so what about their noses? Often thought about last, or forgotten completely, home fragrance is a really effective way of creating a lovely, inviting atmosphere when hosting any kind of occasion. 

Olfaction, also known as the sense of smell, is one of our most powerful tools - in fact recent research from the US (that tested peoples’ sense of smell by using different mixtures of odour molecules) showed that the nose can smell at least a whopping one trillion distinct scents!

Freshly cut grass can remind us of summer, whereas peppery notes of cloves and zesty orange are always reminiscent of Christmas. Fresh floral scents and spicy ginger are said to help us feel energized and optimistic, whereas lavender can send us to sleep. Smells are so powerful and can create a feeling or add to the ambience almost instantly, so next time you’re setting the scene at home harness the power of scent to really set the scene and enhance the mood!

From comforting woody, earthy aromas to uplifting sweet floral and berry notes, get sniffing and find a fragrance that you feel matches your event. Reed diffusers are great for a constant aroma around the home (they are particularly good for bathrooms), whereas ultrasonic diffusers can be turned on and off with ease, and scents changed frequently depending on what you want to achieve throughout your night. Scented candles, of course, not only fill a room with fragrance but they look picturesque too – not just the flickering flame but the candle itself can often be an object of style and beauty, which will only add to your atmosphere.

Choose just one, or a selection of them all - here are TOAST’s top pick of the very best home fragrance.

Super Stylish Scents

We are big fans of London-based designer Tom Dixon at TOAST – and his brand new ‘Scent Materialism’ collection is another example of his incredibly cool work. Stand out pieces include the large Quartz candles; each made from a gob of glass, pulled, pressed and stretched into a strikingly complex and unique object, with a sophisticated scent of musky ambrette and pink pepper. His contrasting Oil items are a refreshing blast of wintery, woody essential oils and are visually very dark and moody; reminiscent of the lustrous swirling effect of petrol on water. The reed diffuser is particularly impressive and completely individual; no two containers are the same. For the ultimate gift this Christmas opt for the Materialism Giftset which includes a candle of each scent; Quartz, Oil, Alloy and Stone. Home fragrance does not get cooler than this.

Large Quartz candles £125, Oil reed diffuser £75. Materialism Gift set £130. 

Tom Dixon Complete Colletion

Tom Dixon Collection

Truly Graceful

Husband and wife team Phillippa and Roger have been making candles since 1991, initially creating bespoke candles for luxury fashion labels and other brands. In 2003 they launched True Grace; with an emphasis on quality and tradition, and all of their products are still handmade in their factory in Wiltshire. Each candle produces a wonderful fragrance due to their 10% scent content– one of the highest in any candle on the market – and has an impressive burning time of 40 hours. Plus, each candle is 100% natural wax so it’s as environmentally friendly as it gets, as well as being sophisticated and stylish. They have a staggering range of scents from fig to freesia, sandalwood to seashore, cucumber to camomile! Their ginger scent is a deliciously cosy smell for Autumn and their scented leaves are also brilliant – hang one in your wardrobe, in a drawer, or even in your car – why not pop one in the bathroom before your guests arrive?

Candles from £16, Scented leaves £15. 

True Grace 


Established back in 1981, Neal’s Yard Remedies are passionate that beauty and home fragrance should be natural, not synthetic, and their incredible essential oil blends are just that. Ideal for vaporising in a diffuser, ‘Focus’, ‘Night Time’, ‘Optimism’ and ‘De Stress’  (amongst others) can set a beautifully scented mood instantly. 

Use a traditional tea light diffuser or try one of their stylish ultrasonic diffusers, which create a fine aromatherapy-infused mist that not only smells great, but also helps to counteract the drying effect of central heating by acting as a mini-humidifier.

Sophisticated and stylish, their elegant (sustainably sourced) bamboo diffusers will bring a touch of aromatic eco-lux living to any room and you can choose your oil blend depending on your mood, making it wonderfully versatile. Try burning their ‘Vitality’ blend before guests arrive - filled with stimulating ginger and clove it’s guaranteed to energise the evening!

Bamboo diffusers from £50, Oil blends from £9.70. 

NYR Diffusers 

Candles Are A Girl’s Best Friend

Looking for a talking point at your next do? Well look no further. Not only do these colourful candles From Pop-up Diamond smell good (choose from Jasmine Pearl, Orange Blossom, Red Amber, Sweet Marshmallow and Violet Strawberry) but one in 50 contains a 0.10 carat diamond with 57 facets. Yes, you read that correctly. Hidden inside a handful of these chic candles is an actual diamond – so burn away and keep your eyes peeled (and fingers crossed) for the gem that might be hiding in the wax. They are 100% natural and guaranteed to get tongues wagging this winter – especially if the diamond appears! 

From £24.99, available on Firebox 

Popup Candles

Relaxing Reeds

Traditionally known for their luxury spa and skin care products, ESPA also offer a sumptuous range of home fragrance too and their reed diffusers are particularly effective. The convenience of reed diffusers of course is that you don’t have to remember to blow them out! Choose from ‘Energising’ - a mix of revitalising peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon and lime to help lift the senses, ‘Restorative’ – a comforting blend of palmarosa, sweet orange and lavender or ‘Soothing’ – a relaxing combination of sandalwood, ylang ylang, lavender and patchouli. The use of essential oils means that the scents are strong, but not artificial or overpowering. It’s a simple and stylish object  – an understated glass bottle with a ceramic cap and black reeds, and the quality packaging makes it a luxurious gift for any host. 

From £37,  ESPA 

Espa Difuser

Continental Classics

Legendary Parisian perfume house Diptyque are considered the crème de la crème of the candle world and have a list of celebrity fans too long to mention.  Established in 1961, their Ambre (Amber) scented candle is a cult classic and instantly creates an elegant ambiance in your home. They’ve recently released a collection of coloured glass candles but the signature monochrome is still the most stylish, with the exception of their beautiful Christmas collection.

Another continental classic is Fornasetti, named after Piero Fornasetti who was an illustrious sculptor, interior designer, graphic artist and painter. Continuing the tradition, his son Barnaba and perfumer Olivier Polge have created a collection of evocative home fragrances, beautifully housed in handcrafted ceramic vessels. Fornasetti’s muse was opera singer Lina Cavalieri and her portrait is featured on many of the beautiful candles; we love the signature 'Otto' fragrance - blended with Thyme and Lavender top notes. The price tag may be considerable but these are not just candles, they are works of art for your guests to admire!

Diptyque, from £42, Fornasetti from £115.

Diptique Fornasetti

Feeling Festive

Christmas smells are some of the most nostalgic and atmospheric and will really help to create a festive atmosphere at your Christmas do this year. Think wintery spices, woody notes and zingy citrus. We love Neal’s Yard’s organic festive room spray, packed with the warming, welcoming aroma of golden frankincense, spicy clove and fresh evergreen cypress, this wonderfully inviting home fragrance is perfect for evoking a festive ambiance at parties or gatherings, or simply for relaxing at home on long winter evenings. NEOM’s limited edition organic ‘Christmas Wish’ candle is a blend of 13 of the purest possible essential oils including mandarin, cinnamon & tonka bean and has been expertly blended to help reduce stress levels, whilst evoking the comforting feeling of a traditional Christmas. Also Jo Malone’s new company – Jo Loves – has a divine wintery range featuring ‘Christmas Trees’ and ‘Log Fires’ guaranteed to make even Uncle Scrooge feel festive!

NYR room spray £10, NEOM 1 wick £30, Jo Loves, £50. 

JO Loves NEOM And Neals Yard