Okay, We May Be More Excited About These 8 Fall Scents Than Pumpkin Spice Lattes

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<p>Real Simple / Reese Herrington</p>

Real Simple / Reese Herrington

Ah, summer. We may be already missing tan lines, crisp glasses of sauvignon blanc sweating on the porch railing, and those hazy beach hours now that Labor Day has passed. But let’s just put it this way: Something cozier lays on the horizon.

With pumpkin spice lattes officially back at Starbucks and Dunkin’, retailers are indulging our orange-tinged daydreams with the rollout of fall-inspired scents to make our houses smell like a pumpkin pie, apple cider, or other autumnal delights. (Fine, we’ll take it.) With temperatures soon to drop and the warm thrill of the season inching closer, it’s never too early to stock up on our favorite seasonal goodies—before they sell out for good.

As a professional shopping writer myself, I’ve taken on the long and arduous task of sorting through dozens upon dozens of autumn-themed candles, diffusers, and more—even cleaning supplies. Go on ahead and add another three to your cart; I won’t tell. Read on for eight of my favorites.

Editor-Loved Fall Candles, Diffusers, and More

  • Grove Collaborative Harvest Apple Laundry Sheets, $13; grove.co

  • Grove Collaborative Traditions Aglow Kitchen Set, $29 (was $32); grove.co

  • Glade PlugIns Scented Oil Fresheners, $16; target.com

  • Apple Spice Candle in Pumpkin Vessel, $6; tjmaxx.com

  • Castelbel Pumpkin Spice Soap Set, $6; tjmaxx.com

  • Vitruvi Stone Diffuser, $123; vitruvi.com

  • P&J Fragrance Oil Autumn Scent, $17; amazon.com

  • Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Ribbed Cashmere & Suede 32-Ounce Candle, $40; target.com

Grove Collaborative Harvest Apple Laundry Sheets

<p>Grove Co.</p>

Grove Co.


First, to set a proper September-worthy atmosphere, I like to start with the essentials: products I would have to buy anyway. In that case, Grove Collaborative’s collection of seasonal scents offers the ideal transition from summer to fall scents. I started building my autumn collection with these limited edition Harvest Apple laundry sheets. Since I make the lonely trek to the laundromat and have limited space, I prefer the small size and efficiency of laundry sheets to a bulky, heavy jug of detergent. These pre-measured, auto-dissolving detergent sheets have a 100 percent natural scent, and they wash perfectly. Their warm, homey scent practically makes me think leaves should be falling already.

Grove Collaborative Traditions Aglow Kitchen Set

<p>Grove Co.</p>

Grove Co.



Also from Grove Collaborative, I appreciate an all-in-one kitchen package that decks out the room for the season: two hand soaps, two dish soaps, and a collectible towel. Per Grove Collaborative’s modus operandi as a certified B-corp, each item is crafted from recyclable materials. But I would buy it anyway, if only for the Spiced Pumpkin scent (buttered pumpkin, caramelized sugar, and toasted almond spice) and Harvest Apple scent (crisp apples, warm spices, and woodsy cedarleaf.)

Glade PlugIns Scented Oil Fresheners




If you already have one too many candles cluttering up every possible surface—we’re talking coffee tables, nightstands, mantles, windowsills, you name it—you may prefer to opt for a plug-in scent instead. This handy pack from Target comes with seven comforting plug-in diffusers, each scented with Golden Pumpkin & Spice. Notes include star anise, cinnamon, and pumpkin, of course. Reviewers use it to mask other household scents, and note that it’s a pleasant aroma without being overwhelming.

Apple Spice Candle in Pumpkin Vessel

<p>TJ Maxx</p>

TJ Maxx


I don’t know about you, but I always run straight to T.J. Maxx on my internet browser when a new season rolls around. This bargain-focused retailer has top-tier autumnal selections. Case in point: This holiday candle which doesn’t just smell like apple spice, but looks like a pumpkin, too, with its small decorative shape. As an indecisive shopper at times, I love that this option combines the two most prevalent fall motifs.

Castelbel Pumpkin Spice Soap Set

<p>TJ Maxx</p>

TJ Maxx


I once heard a friend say that her go-to present to herself in a “treat yourself” moment was a bar of soap, every time. For one, the cost-per-use is so high per item considering their budget-friendly cost. They last a while. For your seasonal pick, there’s something delightful about the holiday option you buy in August that lasts through Halloween, you know? Bonus points for the Halloween-appropriate wrapping. 

Vitruvi Stone Diffuser




If you find yourself often dating different scents but unwilling to settle down, consider splurging on a diffuser that both adds style to your home and allows you to swap scents without commitment. This polished stoneware version is all over Instagram for a reason; it’s gorgeous and functional, and you can fill it with an array of essential oils so that you can enjoy it at any time of year. Act fast while it’s on sale; popular colorways go quickly. It would also make a fantastic housewarming gift, or a great pick to buy ahead of the holiday rush. (I have gifted this before.) And did I mention it has a lifetime warranty?

P&J Fragrance Oil Autumn Scent


Now it’s time to fill said diffuser. As much as I adore ciders and cinnamons and pumpkins (oh my!), your version of a fall scent may look—or rather, smell—more like brown sugar or pine or even simple vanilla. It’s likely best for you to have some sort of variety, like in this best-selling 6-pack essential oil set from Amazon. I’m also eyeing the bonfire varietal, which comes with scents like hot chocolate, fresh cut wood, and night air.

Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Ribbed Cashmere & Suede 32-Ounce Candle




My mother swears by these chunky, oversized candles from Target because they truly do last forever even for households that nearly always have a candle burning. It’s stunning, with an elevated ribbed design that aligns with any decor, and the scent evokes brisk fall afternoons without being overwhelming or kitschy. What’s more elegant than cashmere and suede? What I love most about these candles is that I can always reuse the glassware or packaging when I’m finished with the candle itself, so I’m lusting over this candle for its post-mortem capabilities, too. 

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