The Herald Bulletin

June 25, 2014

DIY: Home fragrances

Simple steps to a fresh-smelling home

By Heather Bremer
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Candles. Tart warmers. Air fresheners.

All meant to make your home smell pleasant. All with some element of danger (fire!) or a cloying chemical undertone.

Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy a fresh-smelling home without relying on commercial-made products?

It’s easier than you might imagine.

The key to filling your home with a lovely fragrance is simply the right ingredients simmering on the stove.

In-store inspiration

Anyone who has strolled into a Williams-Sonoma, such as the one at Keystone Crossing in Indianapolis, has been greeted by wonderful smells wafting through the beautiful store. It’s hard not to imagine you’re in a warm seaside kitchen, preparing a gourmet meal for your elegant guests.

But where are those delightful fragrances coming from?

Just find the stove, where Williams-Sonoma employees will have any number of items simmering depending on the season. Lemons and limes for the summer. Cranberries and cloves in the winter.

Breathe deep. Couldn’t you just stay here forever?

Fortunately, you don’t have to.

Achieving that atmosphere is simple enough by bringing Williams-Sonoma’s methods into your abode.

Selecting your ingredients

The first step is deciding what fragrance you want to unleash in your home. Consider the season and the atmosphere you are trying to achieve. Think about the smells and fresh ingredients you tie to each.

About anything you have on hand – in the fridge, on the counter or in the pantry – will do. Consider fruits, herbs and essential oils. A quick trip to the store can fill in any gaps.

Here are just a few examples of go-to combinations for any household. Amounts of each ingredient depend on the depth of fragrance you’re trying to achieve:

•Lemon, rosemary and vanilla – The fresh, clean smell of citrus melds perfectly with the herbal scent of rosemary and smoothness of vanilla. A fantastic accompaniment to a day of cleaning. Lavender essential oils are a nice substitute for vanilla, and adding oranges can boost the citrus fragrance.

•Orange, cinnamon sticks, cloves and vanilla – A festive scent for the holidays, which can be enhanced by the addition of cranberries. Powdered cinnamon or a bit of apple cider can be used in place of cinnamon sticks.

•Lime, coconut oil and vanilla – Who wouldn’t want their home to smell like the tropics? The coconut oil gives off a strong scent, one that will leave you dreaming of bathing suits and fruity drinks.

On the stove

To prepare this special treat, select a day you’ll be home for a considerable period of time. Days you’ll spend cleaning or cooking or when company is coming are excellent opportunities.

Cut fruits into slices. Usually one whole fruit will do. Herbs can be chopped, broken apart by the stem or left whole. A tablespoon or two of vanilla will suffice. Only a few drops of essential oils are needed.

Fill a sauce pan half to two-thirds full of water. Toss your ingredients in the pan and bring to a boil. This releases the strongest fragrance. Reduce the heat and let simmer through the day. Feel free to allow the wonderful scent transport you to the realm of daydreams.

If leaving something simmering on the stove makes you nervous, use a crock pot to keep your ingredients warm. It’s helpful to bring them to a boil on the stove first, then transfer to your crock pot.

Do not leave your concoction completely unattended as you will occasionally need to refill the water in the pan. If you need to leave your home, turn the heat on the stove or crock pot completely off. You can resume the simmering process when you return home.

You may get repeat uses out of your brew if you put it in a jar in the fridge after the initial use. Just bring it to a simmer again to reactive the fragrance and relive your daydream all over again.