Whether you like the traditional glow of a scented candle or the rustic approach of stovetop potpourri, the right scent in your home this fall and winter can create an atmosphere of calm, comfort, and coziness. Read on to get ideas for locally blended woodsy, creamy, and spicy winter fragrances, as well as different ways to disperse the scent throughout your home.

Sliced oranges, cranberries, rosemary and cinnamon sticks simmering on a gas stove with a blue flame in a metal saucepan.


DIY STOVETOP POTPOURRI First up, a little-to-no-cost option to refresh your indoor air: combine raw ingredients into water and simmer over low heat on a stove or hot plate, to fill your house with aroma all day. You can whip up a recipe that uses leftover natural materials and food you may have in your pantry, fridge, or even your backyard—lemon peels, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, vanilla extract, evergreen stems, or dried and fresh herbs. An organic mix can stay on your stove for up to a week if you keep adding water. Hot tip, caretakers: putting together a potpourri is a fun indoor activity for kids.

NATURAL WAX CANDLES A great choice for those who also want the ambiance of a cozy flame, without the fireplace. Scented candles vary widely in strength of scent and base material, which can also affect the price. Natural waxes include beeswax, which has the “cleanest” burn, followed by coconut and soy wax. Avoid paraffin wax for any product burned in your home, as it is made from petroleum byproduct. Practice basic candle maintenance to ensure that you get the most out of each jar. Trim your wick to ¼ inch before each burn and allow the wax to form a full melt pool on the top each time you burn (that will avoid those frustrating craters that some-times form in the middle).

Scents to try: Driftwood & Juniper by Downeast Doodle Candle Co.; Peppermint Eucalyptus by Just Jane Creations, pictured right.

REED DIFFUSERS Looking for something low-maintenance and minimalist? Ideal for small spaces like the bathroom, reed diffusers offer a flame- and outlet-free way to freshen your space. They disperse essential oils as they infuse reeds in a glass jar and then diffuse through your home. Most reed diffusers have about two months of scent potency before they need a refill. Flipping the reeds over every few days will also help the fragrance stay strong throughout the room.

Scents to try: Palo Santo and Ginger from Tide and Isle Co.; Hocus Pocus, a blend of pumpkin, nutmeg and coconut from The Primitive Keeper.

PLUG-IN DIFFUSERS Need a more robust scent spreader? Plug-in diffusers use electricity to warm the oils or scent pads inside, spreading fragrance throughout your home. Some versions don’t allow you much control over the strength of the scent, and you can’t easily “turn off” the smell from many varieties since the aroma continues to waft out of the openings, so choose wisely.

Scents to try: Bonfire, with hints of leather, ocean air, tobacco leaf, amyris, teakwood, and peppercorn from Sea Love; Balsam Harvest or Pinyon Pine from Paine Products.

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