What is the fragrance wheel and how to use it?

The world of aromas is fascinating – if you think about the fact that smells can make people feel good or bad, it is easy to understand that the importance of scents cannot be underestimated. Learning how to classify scents and how to pair them is essential in order to create a harmonized smell experience in your home and this is where the fragrance wheel comes to the picture that can point you in the right direction. 

What is the fragrance wheel

The aroma wheel is similar to the color wheel we all know from school and indicates fragrances relationship to each other. The scents’ place on the wheel shows what aromas blend well and what clash.

The scent wheel has been around since 1949 when an Austrian perfume-maker, Paul Jellinek published the first aroma diagram. The modern fragrance wheel was created by Michael Edwards in 1992. It is used mainly in the perfume world, but its principles are valid for all types of fragrances, and like this can be used very well if it comes to home scents too.

So, no matter you are looking for a new perfume or wish to find the perfect scents for your house, the scent wheel will certainly help you to decide which aromas work well together and which don’t.

Scent families

The fragrance wheel is divided into four main scent families, floral, oriental, woody, and fresh. A scent family is a fragrance group including aromas that are similar to each other, share the same characteristics or have complementary differences.

Moreover, there are subfamilies under each group, altogether 14, that indicate what additional notes an aroma has and like this, help to describe a scent in closer detail.


Floral fragrances are among the most popular ones. Aromas that belong to this family are often considered feminine scents with flowery notes like jasmine, lily, and roses.

The impression of a fragrance that belongs to the floral scent family can be complex and delicate too depending on how intense the aroma is and what other notes are added.

fresh flowers

Floral fragrance subfamilies

The floral scent family includes these subfamilies: floral, soft floral, and floral oriental.

Floral: core floral fragrances with straight flowery smells such as roses or lily
Soft floral: light and powdery floral scents with musky note
Floral oriental: floral fragrance with a hint of spicy note (often orange blossom)

My favorite scented candle with floral scent:

Lavender Scented Jar Candle

French Lavender Scented Jar Candle

  • large 19-Ounce 2-wick soy candle
  • clear glass design with minimalist metal lid
  • designed and poured in the USA, 100% recyclable


The most luxurious fragrance family that features rich scents with sweet, spicy notes such as orchid, vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom. Oriental aromas are often described as sensual and exotic.

cinnamon and anise

Oriental fragrance subfamilies

The oriental family includes the following subfamilies: oriental, soft oriental, and woody oriental.

Soft oriental: light oriental fragrances blended with floral and anise notes
Oriental: core oriental aromas with musky notes like vanilla or cinnamon
Woody oriental: earthy sweet oriental scents mixed with spicy sandalwood or patchouli

Make your home smell amazing with this oriental reed diffuser:

NEST Fragrances Moroccan Amber Reed Diffuser

NEST Fragrances Moroccan Amber Reed Diffuser

  • reed diffuser in beautiful glass vessel with classic shape
  • oriental fragrance with notes of moroccan amber, sweet patchouli, heliotrope, bergamot and eucalyptus
  • alcohol-free formula that lasts up to 90 days


The woody scent family is identified by warm aromas and earthy tones with smells like sandalwood, amber, or cedarwood. Because of the woody notes’ sweetness, they are often combined with floral and fresh notes to make them a bit lighter and bright.

moss on tree

Woody fragrance subfamilies

Subfamilies that belong to the woody family are woody, mossy woods, dry woods, and aromatic.

Woody: aromatic woody fragrances, the core scent of this scent family with wood notes such as sandal- or patchouli
Mossy wood: light woody scents with smooth earthy aroma like oakmoss
Dry wood: woody smells (usually sandalwood) with smoky notes like leather
Aromatic: woody tones combined with aromatic fresh fragrances like lavender (this is a subcategory that is between the woody and fresh scent families on the aroma wheel)

Popular woody home fragrance:

LA JOLIE MUSE Woody Leather Candle

LA JOLIE MUSE Woody Leather Scented Candle

  • fantastic harmony created with fragrances of pink pepper, orange flower, clove, guaiac wood, juniper, vanilla, balsam of Peru and Kashmir wood
  • 100% natural wax, cruelty-and-paraben-free, biodegradable product with vegan lead-free cotton wick
  • extraordinary burn time for up to 85-100 hours


The fresh scent family includes the most refreshing and vibrant aromas with citrus-based, watery, herbal, and green notes. They are known to create a clean and bright feeling in any room, therefore are commonly used in air freshener products.

citrus fruits

Fresh fragrance subfamilies

Citrus, water, green, and fruity are the subfamilies of the fresh family.

Citrus: zesty, bright fragrances usually created with bergamot, citrus, orange, mandarin, grapefruit
Water: airy aromas with aquatic oceanic notes
Green: uplifting fresh herbal and leafy smells with the scent of green leaves or freshly mowed lawn
Fruity: sweet aromas with common notes like peach, pear, and apple (this is a subcategory that is between the fresh and floral scent families on the scent wheel)

Make your home smell amazingly fresh with this linen spray:

Good Home Sheet and Clothing Linen Spray

The Good Home Sheet and Clothing Linen Spray

  • soothing lingering smell of Beach Days to infuse your laundry
  • with extra 6 Drawer Sachets
  • 100% vegan and paraben free, natural and organic

How to use the fragrance wheel to choose the best scent for your home?

Houses are divided into different spaces that all have different atmospheres, so it is normal that we use various scents to create the right ambience in each room. If you understand how to use the scent wheel when deciding what type of scents to add to your home, you will be able to select aromas that match each other and help to harmonize the environment.

Pair neighboring fragrances

Side-by-side subfamilies are almost always complementing each other so you can’t go wrong if pairing your favorite aroma with the one on its side on the fragrance wheel.

Choose opposite scents

If you have selected your best-loved fragrance subfamily, you can pair it with one that is across from it on the smell wheel and the result will be a nice pleasant aroma.

Select aromas that form a triangle

Choosing subfamilies that are in a triangle shape on the wheel also complement each other so these will also create a pleasant smell experience.

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