By Parinatha Sampath
Having a home that smells heavenly is important because it helps create happy memories. Smells help relax your body and mind, but they also have the power to unlock the past and rekindle forgotten emotions. So, if you want your family, friends and guests to remember you and your home with fondness and love, treat them to a fragrant home with these 10 tips.
1. Plant Flowers
You can have a sweet-smelling home by planting primroses, moonflowers, honeysuckle, lilacs, jasmine, lilies, and sweet peas right outside your window. But if you have a super-sensitive nose like mine, it’s better to bring a bunch of your favorite flowers from the garden and place them in a vase by the window. That way, you can control the intensity of the smell.
Remember that episode of “Friends” where Ross says, “Monica’s gonna make potpourri,” from the roses his enraged girlfriend Emily cut up? Well, it’s really that simple. Potpourri can be made with pretty much any flower, herb, root, bark, or spices. You can also make potpourri with every bit of a dried and fibrous coconut shell. To make a perfumed potpourri the traditional way, you need to dry the ingredients naturally over three weeks, add drops of essential oil, and seal them in a jar for at least two weeks before you finally place them in a bowl.
If you want to make potpourri quickly, preheat the oven to 200° F, lay your choice of flowers – including stem and leaves – on parchment paper and drip 15-20 drops of an aromatic essential oil on top. Then dry everything in the oven for 1.5-2 hours. Make sure they’re stiff, but not burnt. To make the mixture more aromatic, add some citrus or sprinkle powdered spices on the flowers before putting them in the oven. Once dried, place the mixture in a shallow bowl in your living room.
3. Try Scented Candles
Everyone knows how amazing scented candles can be, but the real trick is where you place them. Placing unlit scented candles in closets will give your clothes a fabulous smell. Since fabrics absorb scents from candles, there will be a refreshing whiff every time you open your closet doors.
4. Use Diffusers
If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to make the house smell great, here’s one. Get an essential oil diffuser for a continuously fresh-and-balmy-feeling home. It ensures there’s a gentle, but constant, vapor of essential oil filling your home. A diffuser, which also acts as a humidifier, has a calming effect, and is especially great if you want to rid the house of pet odors.
5. Erect Reed Sticks
Reed stick diffusers are natural, easy to make, and effective in filling an entire room with fragrance. To make reed stick diffusers, you can either use bamboo skewers or reeds made from rattan — a porous stem that helps the scent rise easily.
Partially fill a small vase or jar with 30 drops of essential oil and 1/4 a cup of baby oil. Then, place five or six sticks into the jar and your diffuser is ready. Replace the sticks every three weeks or when you think the scent has diminished.
6. Tuck Some Teabags
Teabags can act as deodorizers in small smelly spaces. Slip a few teabags into a pair of stinky shoes and you’ll be relieved of the pong in your shoe storage area. Teabags can absorb excess moisture from the area and leave shoes with a subtle but pleasing scent. Alternatively, you could also place dryer sheets in your shoes. But keep in mind that since most dryer sheets have an overwhelming smell, be prepared to be walking around in some super-scented shoes!
7. Put Out Coffee Beans
If you love waking up to the aroma of coffee, coffee beans are the perfect aromatic ingredient for your home. Put out a bowl full of coffee beans and sprinkle it with a little powdered coffee to increase the intensity.
8. Create a Carpet Concoction
Carpets trap the worst odors, and it can be quite a task to get rid of their unpleasant stench! To deodorize your carpet, thoroughly mix a cup of baking soda with a little citrus, your favorite spices, and 30 drops of any essential oil in a blender and sprinkle it over the carpet. Let it sit for a half-hour, or maybe even overnight, before you vacuum it. Trust me, this one can be a life saver!
9. Use a Simmer Pot
Don’t you love it when there’s a delicious smell wafting through the house? If you want the air in your home to appeal to both your nose and your tummy, baking cakes and cookies is a good idea. But a simmer pot/slow cooker is better than baking because it requires very little effort and makes healthier food! To use a simmer pot to make your home smell nicer, boil the ingredients in water until its reduced to a quarter of the initial quantity. My personal favorite recipes include orange peels, cinnamon sticks, and cloves on a cold day, and lemongrass, basil and lime on a hot day. If you’re feeling creative, just go with your gut (and nose!) and combine the flavors of your choice to make your own simmer pot recipes.
10. Proliferate Pine Cones
Sprinkle pine cones you’ve collected with essential oils and spices, place them in an airtight bag for 24 hours, then take them out, and boom, you’ve got yourself a fragrant pine cone corner. Pine cones can also give a house a rustic and festive feel around the holidays.
Scents are like ambient music. Their presence is subtle, but they add to the overall feel of a room. Before you pick out your fragrances, assess the mood you want a room to evoke or amplify. For example, if you’re looking for fragrances for your bedroom, opt for soothing scents. But if you’re considering livening up a particular space, pick a scent that’s sweet, playful, and liberating. As long as you pick out fragrances that are a combination of elements instead of one overpowering scent, it’s hard to go wrong.
Images used with permission, courtesy of Parinatha Sampath, www.shutterstock.com, and www.dreamstime.com