A fresh coat of paint can improve the look of any room, but the resulting fumes that come from certain types of paint can ruin the moment. However, there are various scented paint additives on the market that can make a room smell as good as it looks. If you're a landlord preparing a property for a new tenant, this could be a good way to get rid of any musty or unpleasant odors in your rental property -- provided that the "good" scent is not too overwhelming.
Things to ponder before you paint
Paint additives come in a variety of scents that can be purchased online or at the paint store. Simply choose the one you prefer, mix it into a gallon of paint according to the instructions, and get painting. There's no need to worry about the additive affecting the color of your wall, but the scent itself may give you pause.
Strong scents, particularly synthetic ones, can be overwhelming for some people. Scented candles or air fresheners can often be overpowering, with effects ranging from nausea to migraines to full-blown allergy or asthma attacks. While most will agree that paint fumes are terrible, not everyone will agree on what constitutes a pleasant smell.
So if you want to avoid a headache -- both literally and figuratively -- when you paint, here are some things to consider:
- Opt for a nonseasonal scent like vanilla or fresh linen to avoid an untimely assault on the senses. A cinnamon or pumpkin additive might seem like a good idea in the fall or winter, but the scent can linger long after pumpkin spice latte season is over.
- Ventilation is still key. Keep windows and doors open just as you would if you were using regular paint so that the fumes dissipate before tenants move in.
- If you're only trying to reduce the odor of paint as it dries, choose a paint with low volatile organic compounds. VOCs are chemical contaminants that contribute to those strong fumes. In addition to paint and stains, VOCs are found in a variety of other products, including adhesives, carpeting, vinyl flooring, cleaning agents, and furniture fabrics.
Other options that make 'scents'
It bears noting that despite these potential drawbacks, a quick scan of online reviews for scented paint additives reveal many happy customers. The main complaint among unhappy ones is an overpowering scent that lingers. If you want a room to smell fresh without the risk of causing offense or even harm to tenants with your choice of additives, you could try natural methods to clear the air instead.
For example, HGTV recommends adding a tablespoon of vanilla extract to a gallon of paint to neutralize the odor. Aside from being a baking staple, the vanilla acts as a natural deodorizer, and it won't affect the color of your paint. The Spruce also recommends placing bowls or open boxes of baking soda or fresh coffee grounds throughout the space to absorb odors without adding additional scents, good or bad.
The bottom line
Just as you would do a color swatch before painting an entire room, do a scent swatch by adding a bit of additive to a small amount of paint. Scented paint additives do work as advertised, but they could turn out to be too much of a good thing.