DIY Potpourri Is the Wildly Easy Trick to Making Your Home Smell Expensive

published Oct 19, 2023
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Potpourri in bowl in credenza.
Credit: Cat Meschia

You know how some people just have homes that smell really, really good? There are a few ways they get there, including building up cleaning habits that make their homes smell fresh. But if you want to go even beyond a smell of clean and into richer aromatics — whether it’s a scent that’s woodsy, spicy, fresh, or floral — then DIY potpourri is the answer.
Potpourri is made of dried flowers, herbs, and spices, but there’s a little more to it than that.

While those items will naturally have a bit of a scent, you’ll likely need to supplement it with essential oils to give it a boost. But crafting your own DIY potpourri can provide the perfect opportunity to create a custom scent that’s just to your liking — both in style and strength — as well as a beautiful display.

Credit: Cat Meschia

How to Make DIY Potpourri

You can find dried flowers, herbs, and essential oils for your potpourri at local craft stores, farmers markets, or online retailers. Be sure to choose high-quality, pesticide-free ingredients for the best results.

When choosing your dried flowers, herbs, and other organic ingredients, keep in mind that you’re not just considering how their scents work together. You’ll also want to create a blend that has a variety of textures as well as colors that work together. Think about the mood you want to evoke in your home: Do you want your home to feel fresh and lively? Warm and cozy? Relaxing? Different blends can help you achieve each of these (and more). But all of them start with the same basic recipe.

Ingredients for DIY Potpourri

  • Dried flowers, herbs, and other organic matter (you can dry your own flowers or purchase them already dried)
  • Essential oils in the scents of your choice
  • Orris root powder (for fixative)

Instructions for DIY Potpourri

  1. In a large bowl, combine your dried flowers, herbs, and spices in your desired proportions. It’s important to use a bowl made of a nonreactive material, or a material that won’t interfere with the ingredients you’re mixing in it. Glass, ceramic, stainless steel, and enamel are all nonreactive materials.
  2. Add essential oil drops according to your scent level preference.
  3. Sprinkle Orris root powder over the mixture in a ratio of one tablespoon of fixative to two cups of dried material. Gently stir with a spoon. The Orris root powder acts as a fixative, and will slow down the essential oil evaporation.
  4. Transfer the potpourri to an airtight container and let it cure for a few weeks in a dark location to infuse and strengthen the scents.
  5. Once fully cured, display in a decorative bowl or sachet.

Potpourri’s scent can typically last two to three months, although location size, sun exposure, and storage methods can influence this timeframe. The good news: You don’t have to completely toss out your mix once it’s no longer fragrant. You’ll just need to refresh it by replacing the naturally scented materials (such as cinnamon sticks) and gently stir a few more drops of essential oil into the mixture.

Go-to Potpourri Blends to Try

If you’re not sure where to start with making your own potpourri, try one of these recipes. Each has a distinct look and scent, so you’re sure to find one that suits your tastes.

Credit: Cat Meschia

DIY Floral Potpourri Recipe

This mix of delicate petals — from roses, jasmine, and chrysanthemums — has the look (and scent) of a vibrant spring garden.

Credit: Cat Meschia

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Dried rose petals
  • Dried rose buds
  • Dried peony buds
  • Dried chrysanthemums 
  • Dried jasmine
  • Dried lily
  • Dried calendula
  • Dried albizia
  • Dried red plum flower
  • Rose essential oil

Complementary materials that can also work with this mix:

  • Dried pansies
  • Dried gomphrena
  • Dried forget-me-nots
  • Geranium (dried and essential oil) 
  • Lavender (dried and essential oil)
Credit: Cat Meschia

DIY Refreshing Potpourri Recipe

This blend is bright and clean-smelling, thanks to crisp notes of lemon and eucalyptus that blend seamlessly with refreshing spearmint. This is a blend for people who want something that just smells fresh and not at all flowery.

Credit: Cat Meschia

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Dried eucalyptus leaves
  • Dried lemons
  • Dried lemon verbena 
  • Dried rosemary sprigs
  • Dried lemon peel 
  • Spearmint essential oil

Complementary materials that can also work with this mix:

  • Dried ginger
  • Dried thyme sprigs
  • Dried lemongrass
  • Dried, carved limes
  • Dried mint leaves
Credit: Cat Meschia

DIY Woodsy Potpourri Recipe

Rich cedarwood, warm cinnamon, and hints of aromatic pine meld to create a cozy scent with a woodsy feel. This blend feels especially fitting for fall and winter seasons.

Credit: Cat Meschia

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Moss
  • Small pinecones 
  • Cedar wood shavings
  • Dried fan mushroom
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Star anise
  • Atlas cedarwood essential oil

Complementary materials that can also work with this mix:

  • Whole cloves
  • Seed pods
  • Fir and pine clippings