Decorating for the Senses: Add Aromatherapy to Every Room with Essential Oils

Posted by on June 5, 2014

I recently surveyed my most loyal readers and found that more than a third of them don’t know where to start a room makeover, even when they know they want to make a change.

Philosophically, just having the realization that a change is needed is already “starting” but I’m all about practical information.

There are a lot of great places to start a decorating project and here’s one that you know off the top of your head, literally: start with the senses. Look at the room in terms of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.

This week we’re kicking off a 5-part series on, you guessed it, Decorating for the Senses with a video chat about incorporating aromatherapy into your room makeover. Click the video for the full discussion. A handy chart is provided below—feel free to print it and share it online, too!

According to my guest Terri Allen, pure essential oils actually have specific healing properties that have a positive and powerful effect on the body, mind and soul. So while they smell good, they also create an environment to help you feel better.

This is because essential oils affect the part of our brains known as the limbic system which controls emotions, hormones, nervous system, blood pressure, heart rate, and the ability to concentrate.

Terri recommends using an ultrasonic diffuser, a device that mixes a few drops of your favorite oil in a chamber with cool water so the oils are released in to a fine water vapor that mixes with the air in the room.  Terri cautions against confusing a diffuser with a humidifier! She also says that diffusers that use intense heat (light bulb or flame from a candle) will alter the chemical makeup and therapeutic qualities of the essential oil.

Different oils have different effects on the body, as shown on the chart below.

Aromatherapy Makevover

When designing your aromatherapy, also keep in mind the quality of the oil. Terri says there are different grade of oils and it’s really important to understand the differences.

  • Synthetic Grade – used by the perfume companies and other manufacturers of bath and body products. These oils are made up of synthetic compounds or are chemically engineered so you really don’t know what you’re inhaling and in some cases, it could make you sick!
  • Food Grade – used in the food industry.  It only has to pass the GRAS standard (Generally Recognized as Safe).  They put this in our toothpastes, mouthwashes, gum, candy, and other food items.  It’s still not pure.
  • Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils – these are the oils you typically see at Whole Foods, beauty supply places or even the dollar stores.  These oils have fillers and other things mixed with the essential oil so you typically cannot not ingest them and the therapeutic benefits are diminished or non-existent because they’ve been diluted down and you also don’t how the essential oil was produced.
  • Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade – this is the highest standard of essential oil on the market today.  They are guaranteed to be 100% pure and free of synthetic compounds or contaminates.   Terri uses doTerra oils and they extract oils from plants that are indigenous to the region producing oils with the highest healing compounds.

There are a few of these choices that I would love to try! Personally, I use lavender in the bedroom as I feel it helps with a more restful sleep. I use lavender-scented linen spray on my pillow cases, too!

What sensory effect would you like to make in your next makeover? Post in the comments below, and be sure to follow Your Virtual Decorator on Facebook for more great tips!


About Terri Allen

Terri Allen is a holistic wellness coach and certified personal fitness trainer, who works with individuals, practitioners, spas, hotels, and corporations, educating them about nutrition, integrating fitness into every day practice, and assisting people at home, work, or on the go, in finding natural ways to treat physical and emotional issues utilizing aromatherapy. Contact Terri at (661) 993-5970 or via email at