You’ve probably put a lot of thought into how your apartment looks, but how it smells is equally important in making it a great place to be. Of course, the best way to keep smells down is to simply keep your apartment clean; but between lingering food smells, that gym bag you toss into the corner between workouts and possibly even a pet to contend with, even the cleanest of living spaces can take on a lot of competing odors—not all of them pleasant to be around.
Countering bad smells with good ones will not only make your home a more pleasant place to be and breathe, but scents can also evoke happier feelings and emotions, too: citrus scents are energizing, lavender and other gently sweet herbs can be relaxing and spicy scents like ginger and cinnamon make a space feel warm and more “homey.”
Here are a few easy and low- to no-cost ways to make your apartment a happier place to be and smelling invitingly sweet to you and your visitors!
Simmer some good smelling stuff. If you’ve ever walked into a Williams Sonoma store then you’re familiar with this gorgeous smell—it’s made by gently simmering water infused with a few sprigs of rosemary, a couple of slices of fresh lemon and a teaspoon of vanilla extract in a saucepan or crockpot. Orange peel and cloves are other great ingredients to simmer for a lovely, warm and welcoming scent. Practically any fresh herb or liquid extract (vanilla, almond, lemon, orange and mint are great choices) can be simmered to create a wonderful scent, but rosemary and thyme seem to create the best result. Feel free to experiment with fresh, great-smelling natural ingredients; but be sure to watch your pot to ensure that the water doesn’t evaporate, leaving your simmering ingredients to burn.
Buy or make your own reed diffuser. Reed diffusers are readily available at discount and décor stores, but are also easy to make at home. Diffuser reed sticks can be purchased online or at most craft stores; and any small-necked jar, vase or bottle will do. Fill the bottle with a prepared scented oil or make your own by combining unscented light mineral oil (available at your neighborhood pharmacy) with your choice of a single or combined mixture of your favorite essential oils. Fill your container half to three-quarters full of the scented oil, add your diffuser reeds and set the container in an out-of-the-way corner or shelf where it’s unlikely to be toppled or disturbed.
Spice up a candle. Candles are easy to find in a wealth of yummy scents, but you can also spice up an unscented candle or add some extra oomph to a scented one by wrapping it in cinnamon sticks (like this) or setting it in a larger container filled with fresh, unground coffee beans. Speaking of coffee beans, they make a great smelling filler for any container that you want to stick and stand things up in, from pillar candles, to incense sticks, to your makeup brushes. You can even leave a big bowl of beans on your counter or coffee table and just run your hands through them anytime you want to release the warm smell of coffee into the air.
Infuse the air with Essential Oils. Lots of people know about essential oils, but aren’t sure how to use them. These super-concentrated oils pack a great scent-punch when used sparingly, so try adding a few drops to a simmer pot; sprinkle them on some scraps of wood in a decorative bowl; scent an arrangement of pinecones to place on a mantle or coffee table; add a few drops to a clean dust cloth before dusting windowsills, baseboards and doorframes; or put a drop or two on your vacuum cleaner bag or filter to scent the room while you clean. You can also add a few drops to a container of plain baking soda then shake well to make your own “carpet fresh” preparation.
And there you have it—lots of great ways to make your apartment smell as great as it looks! Choose scents that you love and feel free to experiment a little to find your own signature scent; but whatever elements you choose, remember that natural smells work best—artificial ones can smell “chemical-y” and be especially headache inducing to those who are scent-sensitive.