The Best Home Scents for Summer

From candles to natural flowers, these local Twin Cities companies have all the aromas of summertime


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Smell is one of the most powerful senses. They can send us back to a moment in time, remind us of a memory, or evoke powerful emotions. In fact, they can be the key to creating a cozy and relaxing atmosphere but are often overlooked when designing features of a home. When it comes to the kitchen, using a citrus-based scent like lemon or grapefruit will make the space feel fresh and clean. In the bedroom, using soothing fragrances like lavender and vanilla will create a feeling of tranquility and ease. We associate certain smells with specific places in our homes, just like we associate them with certain seasons of the year. Spice up your home with some of the best-smelling products (from candles to natural flowers) from these four local scent shops.

Photo by James Perovich

Excelsior Candle Co.

Tall Sunflower Soy Candle

Crafting some of the best smelling candles in the Twin Cities area, Excelsior Candle Co. owner Heidi Mueller creates each one believing that the right fragrance can make everyday moments feel extraordinary. At first, Mueller made specialized candles for friends and family while occasionally selling some product on the side. But, as she realized the passion she had for this part-time hobby, she decided to become a full-time maker and established Excelsior Candle Co. in 2016. Mueller values sustainability, so she created the Bottomless Candle Exchange Program. This program allows individuals to exchange their old, used candles for new, half-priced candles. She also uses eco-friendly materials in all of her products. The environmentally friendly aspect of this brand makes us love it even more!

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One candle we recommend is the Tall Sunflower Soy Candle. The evocative scent produced by this candle comes from bergamot and green violet leaves that open to a white iris. Complemented by warm amber and a subtle musk, this comforting and earthy aroma will carry you to a field filled with sunflowers.

Alora Ambiance

Another way to add pleasant odors to your home is with diffusers. Sisters Annie and Therese Gibbons started Alora Ambiance, a fragrance shop that offers specially curated diffusers and candles. After finding inspiration while living in Lake Como, Italy, they moved home to their family farm in southern Minnesota, started a trio of signature scents, and introduced the United States to this new category of fragrances. Since then, the brand has grown tremendously, and products are now sold in dozens of stores across the country. Alora fragrances are designed to “turn gorgeous houses into beautiful homes.”

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Alora offers a wide array of scents in four categories: fresh, floral, warm, and holiday. If you seek something fresh and clean for the summer, Arancia is an excellent fragrance. The bright citrus notes mingle with a dash of sweet gardenia to create Arancia. This uplifting scent effortlessly transforms any room in your home into a vibrant Sicilian orange grove. 

Kalli Incense

Burning incense is another way to aromatize a space. Incense release fragrant smoke and have long been used for aesthetic reasons, aromatherapy, and meditation. Kalli Incense in northern Minnesota, for instance, offers handmade, hand-dipped, all-natural incense. The products are made bi-weekly to ensure freshness and a potent scent. The goal of this company is to capture organic smells in nature and have them available anytime, anywhere. Kalli offer more than 20 custom scents that burn for about an hour. The company’s Fresh Thai Lemongrass or Purple Rain scents are refreshing and ideal for summer.

Flowers by Miss Bertha

Lastly, there’s nothing like a whiff of freshly grown natural flowers. Minneapolis’ local florist, Flowers by Miss Bertha, has been hand-delivering premium floral arrangements and gift baskets since 1961. Whether you need a bouquet for a birthday, anniversary, commemorating a loved one, or “just because,” these flowers are delightful for any celebration. The company has unique flower assortments for different holidays and occasions and a section for seasons. A limited edition bouquet named “Summertime Fun” consists of bright yellow tulips and Gerbera daisies arranged with hydrangea, hypericum berries, and more in a chic, clear-glass bubble bowl.  

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