Get the smell-good home of your dreams with these expert tips.
Looking to up your home fragrance game? We spoke to co-founder of P.F. Candle Co, Kristen Pumphrey, to get her take on creative ways to use scent in your home (and beyond!). Her number one tip, before thinking about using a scent, is to get rid of the bad odors in your home, so you have a good baseline to start with. "Open your windows at least once a day," she says. "Martha Stewart says to do this, no matter the weather, and who am I to argue with Martha? The fresh air moves out malodor molecules and resets the scent of your home." Keep reading for more tips on how to keep your home smelling nice and fresh.
Unique Ways to Use Scents Around the House
Remove the Bad Odors and Spritz Away
Have guests coming over? Don't forget to banish bad odors. "Having a good-smelling home is about removing bad odors as much as it is about adding good ones, so my five-minute routine before guests come over is to hit the toilets with some cleaner and then take out the trash," she says. "You can give your trash can a quick spritz with a room spray and it will freshen it up even more."
Don't Turn Your Nose Up at Incense
While Pumphrey loves a candle (obviously) or diffuser, she also recommends incense—and no, she doesn't mean the smoky, overpowering kind you may be imagining. Incense has come a long way and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes making them easier to burn. She especially recommends incense as a quick and more powerful way to get your home smelling lovely right before company comes over. "If you don’t have an incense holder, you can fill an old jar with sand [or something else like it] and use that instead," she says.
Carefully Pair Scents with Food
When eating, Pumphrey suggests using neutral or subtle scents so you don’t overpower the smell of the food. "Gourmand or balsamic style scents—fruit-like notes of fig or persimmon—would also complement food well without taking away from your hard work in the kitchen," she says. "If you’re the DIY type, the type of candles I use nightly are beeswax tapers—very easy and soothing to make." (A DIY beeswax taper candles project is included in the book, At Home With Fragrance, by Pumphrey and P.F. Candle Co. co-owner Thomas Neuberger.)
Use Simmer Pots Year-Round
While simmer pots are super popular around the holidays, Pumphrey says you can really make them any time of year and use up herbs or citrus that may have otherwise gone bad. "My favorite: citrus slices (lemon or orange), rosemary, and spices like coriander or cardamom," she says. "Add all the ingredients to a small pot, cover with water and simmer for hours. Remember to check your pot occasionally to make sure it doesn’t run out of water!"
Employ Car Fragrances (Yes, Seriously)
This one may come as a surprise, but the car fragrance game has come a longggg way. Brands like D.S. and Durga and Diptyque now have options that are way chicer than your classic little green tree, and Pumphrey has a way to use them outside of the car. "I love using them for a small space, and they pack flat so you can carry them along in even the most stuffed carry-on," she explains. "I use our Ojai Lavender car fragrance when I travel to bring a piece of home with me."
Freshen Up Your Closet
Another great use for car air fresheners? Your closet. "You wouldn’t think to use fragrance in your closet, but it’s such a delight because your clothes end up retaining the scent," Pumphrey says. She says this is particularly nice as she doesn't like using heavily scented detergents. She's also partial to these wax tablets from Santa Maria Novella that smell "incredibly luxe and expensive" and have the same lasting effect on your clothes.
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