All-Natural Customized Room Scents

on January 25 | in Crafts | by | with 32 Comments

Lemon Rosemary Scent

Scents and aromatic smells can evoke powerful emotions.  

Whether it’s the warm scent of freshly baked bread or the pungent smell of new grass in the spring, smells remind us of events and milestones in our lives.

When I was younger, we traveled to the New England coastline every summer.  Long lazy days were spent on jetty-lined beaches with the salty sea air dancing across the sand.  There were clam bakes and sailboat rides and treasure hunts for sea glass and quiet afternoons spent in the summer sun.

Lemon and Rosemary

I can still remember the first glimpse of the ocean with the pounding surf and the constantly changing tide.  As we rounded the corner on the winding gravel road, we would roll down the car windows and breathe in the smell of summer.

It was always the same.  It never changed…..that amazing, wonderful combination of sand and shore and ocean breezes.

And we would know that another summer had begun.

And that we were home.


Lemon Slices


During the long dark days of winter, bring a little spring and summer into your home by creating personalized room scents from all-natural ingredients.  Commercial air fresheners often have a harsh, overwhelming scent and can leave behind a lingering unpleasant odor.

Opt instead for the natural, subtle scents found in nature and blend your own scents from fruits and herbs and extracts found at your local grocery store.




To create my personalized scent, I started with two fresh lemons and then added 2 stalks of rosemary and a teaspoon of vanilla in 2 quarts of water in a pan on the stove.  I brought the ingredients to a boil and then turned the heat down to let them simmer.

As the water evaporated, I added more water to keep the fruit and herbs covered at all times.  It is important to remember to always keep water covering ingredients, or they will burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.


Lemon Vanilla Scent


And as the mixture simmered, the house was full of the smell of spring.

The subtle smell of freshly squeezed lemons combined with the heady scent of vanilla and an occasional whiff of rosemary.

It was light and refreshing and full of the joy of the everyday.




Create other scent combinations with mint or lime or ginger or citrus fruits like oranges.

Why not add a stick of cinnamon or bay leaves or even almond extract?

The possibilities are endless.

All you need is mother nature…..and a little imagination.


For more DIY ideas and tales of life in a turn-of-the-century farmhouse visit Thistlewood Farm.


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32 Responses to All-Natural Customized Room Scents

  1. Karianne,
    When Leo and I met, we determined that we are both “sniffers.” It’s a funny story for another time. Not only have you inspired me to make this wonderful air freshener, but to also practice my photography skills. Your photos are AWESOME!

  2. Great idea! Headed to the grocery store this morning. :)
    xo Heidi

  3. This is LOVELY and I can’t wait to try it myself! Thanks Karianne!!! I’m already imagining how refreshing that will smell in my kitchen! :-)

  4. Marian says:

    Girl, you need to write a book! I could totally feel the ocean wind on my face there for a second.

  5. Marsha says:

    I love this and our lemon tree is OVERFLOWING with lemons right now!

  6. Lucy says:

    Tested and true…my mom gave me this great tip,with cinnamon,cloves and apples …apple pie in a jar ! Thanks Kari for sharing a little bit if your story …xo

  7. amy says:

    I always do oranges, cinnamon, cloves simmering apple cider. mmmmm! Beautiful photos, as always!

  8. Stephanie says:

    Maybe a after the initial “warm up” on the stove, it could be transferred to a little electric potpourri pot to simmer?…..Lovely loveliness for our noses =)

  9. I love having a nice smelling home and when I threw away all of our Commercial fragrance warmers a few years ago, I discovered a whole world of wonderful natural scents that I use for home and cleaning. I’m adding yours to my “recipe file”. Happy Friday! xo

  10. Suzette says:

    You show these in mason jars but talk about simmering them on the stove…am I to assume that the mason jars is how you store these wonderful mixtures when not simmering them?

  11. Vanessa says:

    I am doing this TODAY! I have all of these ingredients on hand and I haven’t been able to get to the store to buy new candles so this is perfect timing. I’m longing for Spring from the depths of my soul so you are my hero today my friend!

  12. I can seriously smell this through the screen! It looks so amazing and spring-y!! Thanks for sharing this great idea.


  13. Wendy Cronon says:

    how long will this fragrance last? just as long as you have it simmering on the stove? Can you jar it and re-heat it later? Thanks

  14. I’m seriously going to look into doing this… what a fab idea! Gorgeous post, KariAnne!

  15. Tracey says:

    I also have done this in a crockpot on low, and add water as needed. Wonderful!

  16. Mila Stewart says:

    Has anyone ever tried apples & cinnamon? Love that smell, wonder what would happen to the apples.

    • Eva says:

      Apples, cinnamon, and clove make apple butter. We made some last night and the house smells amazing… That’s what happens to the apples ;)

  17. Gee says:

    OOOhhhh… I can almost smell it.
    Thanks for the inspiration KariAnne. The possibilities are endless….
    Hugs, Gee

  18. lynn says:

    i was wondering the same as suzette and wendy. thanks for responding in advance (:

  19. um, i suddenly want a glass of lemonade. . . and Spring.
    I always do this with a “Christmas” scent during the Holidays – but never thought of trying more refreshing “flavor”!!
    How about Lemon Basil??

  20. Rita says:

    What an awsome idea i am going to try this. Great post!! you have such precious ideas

  21. Sondra says:

    Wonderful! It will also help keep moisture in the air during a long, dry winter. The main problem is some of the combinations smell so good you want to eat them! lol

  22. Oh how I miss the smell of the East Coast ocean! Thanks for bringing back of flood of fabulous childhood memories … and a great idea for an all-natural room freshener idea!

    :) Linda

  23. This is wonderful! We go to the groves here in Florida to get lemons the size of grapefruits! We love our citrus here! Beautiful post, my friend!

  24. I used to simmer cinnamon sticks and other items on the stove…but I love the idea of the lemons and rosemary…so much fresher and a scent that I so love!!….Thanks Kari!!..

  25. Your photography is absolutely gorgeous! That’s what got me to click over and read the article, and I’m so glad I did! I made a “simmer pot” with Christmas scents like cranberries, oranges, and cinnamon sticks, but I never thought to make a more refreshing springtime version. I will definitely try out the lemon rosemary. I’ve got spring fever so this will be perfect! Thanks so much.

  26. Jean says:

    I added a stick of vanilla to mine too. Smells wonderful!!

  27. Nanci Whitacre says:

    I saw your Valentine contest, but could not find the entry for it. So here is hoping this reaches you! My husband and I are Paramedics, and met on the job. We became partners, then friends, then began to date about a year down that road! We decided to tie the knot on Valentines Day 14 yrs ago this year. Our song? “Valentine” by Martina McBride! We had a framed picture of us in uniform, on a board for everyone to sign. Along with the picture was two EKG stips. One of his heartbeat, one of mine which we cross over each other and wrote “today our hearts will join”. To this day, we collect unique or unusual hearts. This is short and sweet, but it reflects the love story we have made! <3

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