While fall has many wonderful aspects -- warm, sunny days coupled with cozy, cool nights; dappled sunlight; crisp, changing leaves; apple orchards; football; hay rides ... I could go on and on -- there is one downside. No matter how much you like cooler weather, at some point, you just have to close the windows and lose the powerful air-freshening aspect of, well, fresh air. And given that we tend to enjoy spending more time indoors in the fall, pet odors, kid messes, sports equipment, and generally stale air become really obvious really quickly.
If a good cleaning doesn't improve matters as much as you'd like, it's time to take out the home fragrances to make the air inside your house smell as good as the air outside.
The perfect fall scent is up to you; apple, pumpkin spice, pear, and woodsy notes are all popular. No matter what you choose, when it comes to home scents, think quality. Many people are sensitive to synthetic fragrances, so look for scents made from essential oils. One way to accomplish this is with an oil warmer -- a little shallow glass dish suspended over a candle in which you put the oil and sometimes some water. As the candle burns, its heat warms the oil and diffuses its scent. They provide a strong, clean scent that lasts a long time and emanates over a pretty large area, but essential oils are expensive and those warmers make a terrific mess if you or your kids knock them over.
High-quality scented candles are popular for good reason. You can find one in just about any fragrance under the sun, they're everywhere, and they're the definition of "affordable luxury." The downside: If you're a candle fiend, your habit can get pricey, and if you have kids or pets, you have to be careful to make sure they can't get to them -- and always remember to blow the candle out.
Reed diffusers are surprisingly effective at dispersing a subtle but noticeable scent around the house, and they lack the danger factor of candles. They consist of thin wooden sticks that you arrange in a bottle of fragranced oil. The downside? Kids seem to have a magnetic attraction to them, so keep these up high and out of their reach or you'll have a huge, if nice-smelling, mess on your hands.
Similar to electric oil warmers, plug-in diffusers plug into a socket and send out a scent, sometimes through a little fan. They're easy to find, come in low- or high-end varieties, and do a nice job in areas like bathrooms or pet rooms where a consistent release of fragrance would be nice.
Room sprays deliver a pretty powerful wallop of scent, so they are best for truly nasty situations -- your dog has an accident five minutes before the play group shows up, for example.
Fragrance stones are not that common, but if you can find them, they're a really attractive way to bring fresh outdoor smells into your house. They're porous stones, usually sold in a bowl. You apply an essential oil to them, and they slowly release the scent over time.
Of course, there are always homemade scents you can whip up, like this old realtor trick: Toss a cinnamon stick, cloves, and half an apple into some water and simmer it on the stove. Your house will smell like a cider mill!
What's your favorite fall fragrance and how do you bring it inside?
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