It’s time to spring-clean your home’s scent. Even if you don’t consciously notice it, the way your home smells affects how you feel about it. And while throwing open the windows can help freshen the air in some locales, if you’re a city dweller, you may just be letting in some lovely smog. Instead, try these subtle, completely-natural ways to clear the air. Adjust these methods to build an aroma that’s as delicate or robust as you want, and you’ll breathe a little easier at home.
Eucalyptus-and-Herb Bundles (shown above, and in the tour of Maryam & Max's Modern Beachwood Canyon Home)
Turn your bathroom into your personal spa by hanging a bouquet of rosemary, lavender, and eucalyptus from the shower head. Look for herbs and aromatic flowers at the grocery store, farmer's market, or even your local bodega. To make the bundle, gather the stems together and wrap the ends with twine, then hang the bunch upside down in a spot where it won’t get directly sprayed with water. The steam from the shower will carry the aroma through the entire room.
Essential Oil Room Sprays
Create a signature scent for your home by blending a few of your favorite essential oils. For a chemical-free spray, only buy oils from companies that source from responsible distillers, like Mountain Rose Herbs. Alcohol can be added to the solution to prevent the water and oil from separating, but if you’d prefer to leave it out, just shake the bottle gently before spritzing the air. Decorate each glass bottle with a sprig of dried flowers, as Alyssa Leanne Hoppe did here for Design Love Fest, and leave them on display on a dresser or vanity.
Wax Potpourri Sachets
A modern take on fabric sachets, these aromatic bars are made by embedding scents and botanicals in beeswax. How pretty are these flower petal-studded ones from Terrain? To make bars that are completely perfume-free, follow this how-to from Craftberry Bush that uses pure essential oils and beeswax. Don’t hide these sachets in a drawer—hang them up in a bedroom or bathroom so you can admire the pressed flowers.
The smell of smoldering wood is reminiscent of nights spent outdoors around a crackling bonfire. To get that scent at home—even if the nearest campground is miles away—try all-natural wood incense. Siskiyou cedar incense from Juniper Ridge is made from wood, leaves, and tree sap, and when lit, it fills the room with a warm, woodsy aroma. For a wood-burning smell with a fresh citrus kick, look for sustainably-harvested palo santo sticks. A type of tree found in South America, palo santo has been used in rituals and ceremonies for centuries, and burning the wood is believed to cleanse a space. For a smoky smell, light one end of the stick and let it burn for up to a minute before blowing it out; for a more subtle, slightly minty aroma, leave out a bowl of the unlit sticks.
Springtime Simmer Pots
For a fresh take on wintry spice-scented simmer pots, replace the cloves and cinnamon with cooling cucumber and peppermint leaves. Let the mix gently boil in a pot of water to waft the crisp, clean-smelling scent through your whole house. Play with different combinations of aromatics, like lemon-eucalyptus and rosemary-lime, or follow the recipes on eHow.