The best ways to fragrance your home

Breathe deep, and relax...
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  • A bad smell is enough to ruin any room, no matter how much time and effort you’re put into making it look beautiful. But unfortunately it’s not always easy to avoid. Perhaps you have pets, problems with damp or mildew, or a partner that likes to cook with smelly ingredients – all legitimate excuses!

    See our best home fragrance guide for our top-rated candles and reed diffusers plus more

    But there are plenty of things you can do. Our best ways to fragrance your home are all natural. And the aromas of herbs, flowers and essential oils will lift the spirits and calm the mind, bringing soothing freshness to any space.

    1. Make your own air freshener


    Image credit: Craig Wall (Freshen The Air)

    For a quick-fix, all-natural air freshener, fill a pan with water, add fresh rosemary and bring to the boil, then simmer for a few hours as the vapours drift around the house, scenting the air.

    Later, cool the mixture and decant the liquid into a spray bottle. Store in the fridge and spritz a little as needed.

    Or, buy one from our list of the best air fresheners for home use

    2. Pick your flowers at the right time

    It’s best to cut flowers in the morning when they are filled with sap, and choose stems with lots of buds and one open flower. You can discover how to create scented bouquets on a floral workshop. One of our ‘picks’ (excuse the pun) is run by the Wild Bunch in Shropshire.

    3. Pot fragrant herbs


    Image credit: David Brittain

    One for keen cooks… Plant up a mini kitchen garden with fresh herbs such as basil, parsley and sage. They’re on hand for cooking with, and you can gently crush the leaves between your fingers every now and then for a sweet and spicy fragrance boost.

    Alternatively, collect herbs from outside early in the morning (just after the dew burns off is when the oils are most potent) and hang little bundles around the house.

    4. Avoid fake fragrance

    A home that smells good is a pleasure to be in. But the secret to a nose-friendly space isn’t synthetic scents. Aside from being overly perfumed, they contain chemicals that are bad for our health and the environment. We’re in favour of a more natural approach – herbs, flowers and fresh air…

    See our best candles guide for more natural aromas you’ll want to strike a match to

    5. Bring the outside in


    Image credit: David Brittain

    Make up little bundles of your favourite summer blooms and display them in vessels and votives around the house. Or epicycle a jam jar into a pretty vase. Deeply aromatic summer varieties include sweet peas, geraniums, roses and lavender.

    6. Buy a clever food bin

    Yes, recycling food waste is a good thing, but that little bin we use for tea bags and food scraps can begin to pong after a day or so. What we all need is a countertop compost crock that has an in-built filter to mask nasty whiffs.

    7. Throw open a door


    Image credit: David Brittain

    Simple yet effective, opening doors and windows is the easiest way to bring freshness in. Leave as many ajar as you can to create a lovely breeze throughout the house.

    8. Embrace the power of baking soda

    Baking soda is ideal for eliminating odour. Leave in the fridge overnight, sprinkle on carpets before vacuuming, and pour down drains with the hot tap running.

    9. Make your own pot pourri


    Image credit: David Brittain

    Getting creative and mixing your own pot pourri is a lovely way to savour fragrance. Pick leaves, petals and buds from foraged flowers and scatter on a lined baking tray alongside thin slices of citrus fruit. Bake at 110 degrees C for a few hours. Once cool, sprinkle on a few drops of essential oil, then put in a bowl.

    10. Mix your own diffuser

    Old diffuser empty? Replenish it with a fragrance of your own design. essential oils are a subtle way to scent a room. Combine your favourites in that diffuser bottle to create a scent that’s unique to you.

    Related: the best reed diffusers you can buy, as loved by Ideal Home

    11. Choose lemon aid


    Image credit: Tim Young

    This zesty fruit not only smells lovely bur it also has antibacterial properties. Rub half a lemon on a chopping board to get rid of stains and smells. Increase the effect by sprinting with salt first!

    Then pop the other half in the fridge to freshen, or in the dishwasher to add zest to the cycle.

    12. Love lavender


    Image credit: Tim Young

    Synonymous with summertime, this cottage garden classic is one of the best natural sources of scent for your home. On rainy days, when indoor airers are the only option, sweetly scent clothing and kitchen lines with ribbon-tied bunches hanging alongside.

    You could also pop a little lavender plant on your bedside table to encourage a good night’s sleep.

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