If you're like us, your home starts to get a little stale this time of year. Your pine-scented Christmas tree is long gone, and it's too cold to open the windows. So how do you freshen things up? Naturally we have a few ideas, from DIY candles to recipes guaranteed to make your home smell amazing.
1. Light a candle.
We know that many of you have strong opinions about whether or not scented candles belong in the kitchen, but for us, it all depends on the scent. We like ones that are fresh, but not cloying (which, admittedly can be difficult to find without spending a lot of money). That's why we prefer to make our own candles in empty Mason or jam jars. You can add a few drops of an essential oil to the mix to make them ever-so-slightly scented. Try rosemary or lemon oil to make your kitchen smell delicious and fresh.
2. Simmer some spices.
You know how good your apartment smells when you're making mulled wine or cider? You can have that all the time, even if you aren't prepping big-batch cocktails for a party. Simply take a few sticks of cinnamon and simmer them in a small pot of water on your stove. Once your house house smells all warm and cinnamon-y, switch off the burner, and fish out the cinnamon sticks. Let them dry and you can use them a few more times before they lose their potency.
3. Enlist your slow cooker.
If you don't like the idea of leaving a burner on when you're not in the kitchen, use your slow cooker instead. This strategy not only makes your home smell amazing when you add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, but it also absorbs any odors that might be lingering. Plus, you can use it in any room of the house — like maybe the basement TV room where your teenager and his friends hang out.
4. "Bake" an air freshener.
The genius of this "baked" air freshener is that it uses ingredients that were likely destined for your compost bin. Instead of tossing those apple cores or orange peels, place them in a piece of parchment, and sprinkle them with a few of your favorite spices. Once again, cinnamon is a real winner here. Then simply place the parchment in your oven (we recommend putting it inside a small oven-safe ramekin or dish) and set it to 200°F for as long as you want the smell to last. Get the full instructions over on Apartment Therapy.
5. Cook something.
Of course, our favorite way to make your house smell positively amazing is to cook something that fills your home with an appetizing aroma. Stews, braises, and meals in the slow cooker are some of our favorites, but bread, cookies, and cakes — not to mention roast chicken! — will also do the trick.
(Image credits: Lauren Kodiak; Flickr user PinkStock Photos under CC BY 2.0; Stephanie O'Dea; Laurie Siegel; Emma Christensen)