Personalized All Natural Room Scents

Personalized All Natural Room Scents



 Personalized All Natural Room Scents

I’ve been growing my own herbs in the window.

At first I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them.  I’ve never really grown herbs before.  They were on an end cap at Lowe’s calling my name with the tiny clip-on chalkboard tags and the little tin buckets….put there for people just like me who go into Lowe’s to buy a light and come out with an herb kit.

I wasn’t sure if they would actually grow.

Well….actually I wasn’t sure if I would remember to water them.

But I did.

And they grew.

And now I have herbs and I need to think up something to do with them.




Some people would use them to cook.  They would be making a sauce from a recipe their grandmother gave them and have the herbs sitting in their kitchen window ready to be pinched off and added to a hundred-year-old recipe that only called for fresh basil.

I’m not some people….and my grandmother’s best friend was Sarah Lee.

So I’m using them to make homemade room scents…..personalized just for me….from herbs and citrus and extracts.




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.  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.



That’s what these room scents smell like to me.


Simple, clean and welcoming.

A little less salt air and a little more Kentucky countryside….but full of the smell of fresh air and joy.

Just like home.




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 time.

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.



I added the extra ingredients I had in a mason jar and stored it for a couple of days in the refrigerator until I was ready to simmer them on the stove.

You could 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…..a herb kit from the end cap at Lowe’s…..and a little imagination! 🙂


PS  If you have ever done this….I would love to know what combination works for you.

PPS  In the interest of full disclosure….I bought the herbs from the store….mine are still too young to make a room smell.  But give us another month….and watch out world. 🙂

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  1. In the winter, I simmer orange slices, cinnamon sticks and whole allspice in a pan with a little water. It smells so delicious! As a matter of fact, at our annual Christmas party, it never fails that someone tries to drink it, thinking it is hot cider! I don’t think it would taste good, but it sure smells divine! I can’t wait to try the rosemary lemon and vanilla combo.

    • I simmer the same combo (orange slices, cinnamon, and allspice) in Tang or orange juice when my kids are playing outside in the snow. That way, it smells good AND you can drink it! We also save the peels from oranges we eat to simmer in water. Eat the orange, save the peel.

  2. This brings back memories where my mom would have us poke whole cloves into oranges and wrap with ribbon to hang in the coat closets!! I think I am going to give orange slices and fresh basal a try!

  3. This sounds just wonderful. My daughter did something similar to give as Christmas gifts this year. I love that you disclosed that you were using herbs that didn’t come from your little garden. It’s so obvious that in addition to having an awesome decorating sense you are a sweet kind person. Wish we were neighbors but unless you’re moving to Indiana I don’t think that will happen 🙂

  4. lemon, lime, vanilla, rosemary…some of my favorites! i have basil and rosemary growing in my kitchen window, but keep forgetting they are there when i cook!

  5. There is nothing like the smell of fresh herbs in the house!…Your “herb pots” are so cute…love the markers!…I have a large Rosemary bush in the yard…love Rosemary..and one of the reasons… keep the deer away…they hate Rosemary…Have a wonderful day!

  6. Now your recipe for room scents sounds just as complicated as grandma’s hundred year old red sauce recipe! Some slicing. Some pinching. Some boiling. Some simmering. And a watchful eye to make sure all the water doesn’t evaporate …

    I’m sure your home smells delicious! And I love that sweet smell of summer along the Atlantic ocean!

    🙂 Linda

  7. Back in the 70’s when my husband and I were selling our first home, I wanted to make the house smell inviting. There were not the plethora of home fragrance items as we have now, so I simmered some cinnamon and cloves in a pot of water on the stove. The first couple that viewed our house was so impressed with the way our house smelled that our agent asked what I did. Now if I had just been brilliant enough to market something similar I could be rich ;-). I always enjoy your blog!

  8. I’m heading to my Lowe’s today! So cute!

  9. I do my own, but with infused oils. I like personalizing to my “nose” and the cost of buying them is outrageous. Great post, XOXO

  10. I usually reserve the pot of yummy boiling smells for Fall but this idea is brilliant. I just happen to have about 20 rosemary bushes growing in my front yard (they are drought tolerant which is great here in California) and a giant lemon tree that is overflowing with fruit! Doing it today!
    Thanks bunches!
    Ashley Rane Sparks

  11. You are precious! What a great idea. I love the natural look of it as well. BUT the part about your Grandmother and Sara Lee takes the cake….so to honor her ease in the kitchen, buy a package of crescent rolls…..layer chopped garlic and herbs and cheese, and bake up a batch of herbed cheesy bread…..yum….

  12. Love the little planters Karianne!

  13. Another thing to do with that rosemary that is a good ole grandma recipe is to roast a chicken. Stuff the cavity with wedges of limes and rosemary and season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt. It smells great while it’s cooking and tastes delicious too! Easy enough to serve with some wild rice and a salad. A Sara Lee cake would be the perfect dessert! 🙂

    Here is a recipe from a blog post I wrote long ago:

  14. This is SUCH a great idea….unless you go to Home Depot for some more paint…decide to stop in the garden center…then swing by WalMart to pick up the new Vintage Style mag….and finish off by dropping into Michaels for some supplies. Then your house smells like burnt lemonrosemarygunk…..I’ll stick with tart burners…..but it’s a good idea….for regular people….

    • Spiritual Cynic :

      It takes all kinds to make the world go ’round, I guess. Nice way to take a simple idea and twist it to make it negative, with little relevance to the actual post.

      • Hi Cynic – I think you actually mis-read Miss Flibbertigibbet’s comment. The blog post mentioned getting sidetracked in Lowe’s – going to buy a light and coming out with herbs too. I think Miss Flibbertigibbet’s comment was about that – that making these room scents are a great idea, except she would forget them on the stove when she too got distracted! I don’t think it was negative at all. 🙂

  15. I can’t wait to get back home to try this:) We are desperate for spring in Canada! xx

  16. I grow herbs every summer on my back porch, but honestly never use them for cooking….they smell so good with every breeze or touch. I REALLY will try your way this summer….I promise myself:) ~Kim

  17. Not wishing to rush each season along, I shall give these a try … love it
    Have a beautiful day ~
    TTFN ~ Marydon

  18. It sounds like it smells absolutely wonderful!! I have herbs that grow outside that we cook with- I think I’m going to have to heat some of them up one day and enjoy the smell!! Beautiful photos too! 🙂

  19. I have made my own sauce…but most of the time….I just open a jar and “doctor” it up with my own stuff. You could throw some of your fresh rosemary in there and ba-bam! 😉 I just wanted to tell you that I love the new look of your blog and that your photos are amazing and…what was that other thing? Oh yeah…you are helping inspire me to clean after everyone being sick. 😉 I’ll bet that your home smells amazing. Have a wonderful day! ~k.

  20. My favorite combo is an orange, a lemon and some whole cloves and allspice berries. But it definitely smells more like fall. I can’t wait to try yours for spring!

  21. I have an abundance of lemons,oranges and Rosemary..I’m going to get busy creating some nice room scents! I’ve done the cinnamon stick with other spices simmering on the stove at Christmas but this is all new for spring. Thanks! And your pictures are so beautiful! May I ask what camera you use to take those lovely photos? I need a little help with my decision on a new camera.
    Thanks, June

  22. Full confession – I was in the produce section of Wal-Mart the other day and was SOOOOOO tempted by the cute little pots of herbs they had for sale. I had to touch the mint just to be able to smell it on my fingers. Sigh . . . Now I’m trying to decide if I can be trusted to grow some . . .

    I wonder . . . if you boil seaweed and sand, would it smell like the beach? 😉

  23. Great idea! I have an herb garden, but alas am more like you…I love the smell but hardly ever use it for cooking…now I know what I can do with it!!! Thank you, thank you!

  24. Certainly sounds like it would be worth a try…fresh, clean. And it sounds much simpler than that homemade chicken soup smell I’ve got going. When it warms up, and I can open the windows….I’m SO doing this! 😉

  25. I have a simmering potpourri that I made during the holidays called Christmas Simmer. I use 2 tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 all spice. Then I add a couple of star anise.

  26. ooohhhhhh yummy! i can smell the fresh goodness now!
    what a great idea, karianne!

  27. Oh, yippee! I have everything to make this! I have a small dip crock pot I’m going to try instead. I’ll let ya know how it works out. 🙂

  28. OH Karianne, I saw when you posted this on… was it blogtalk or home talk? It sounds lovely! I have done something similar in the past but I”m afraid it comes out smelling rather muddled…. I wonder if there wasn’t enough water or maybe it was allowed to boil instead of just simmer… (umm yeah distracted would be the word for it!)

    Have a wonderful day! oh do you think this would still turn out nicely even if your lemons started out frozen? yes i purchase off the reduced rack in the produce department in our grocery store. A word of advice… when storing gallon bags of lemons in the freezer. Give them their own shelf all by themselves.. otherwise your chicken, hamburger, bread, chocolate ice cream, etc will end up tasting lemony. And trust me PBJ’s or sloppy joes are not tasty on lemon flavored bread! 😉

  29. Because I saw this on Pinterest just last night, I’ve been sniffing this wonderful aroma all morning. In winter, a house can get so stale. Enjoy those herbs!

  30. Once again…your pictures are soooo beautiful. I love this idea.
    I received a gift at Christmas once along this same idea and can still remember how wonderful it made my house smell.

  31. I can smell it from here, Kari … wonderful! I’ve tried this before (thanks to Pinterest and a promise that one’s house will smell like Williams Sonoma)! I’m sure my house didn’t smell quite as good as their expensive candles, but welcoming nonetheless! I’ll add the ingredients to my grocery list again and try the Kari method … I’m sure it will smell fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

  32. I recently tried this with orange slices, a couple of cinnamon sticks, and a small handful of whole cloves. I was cleaning this house while this simmered, and it both energized and soothed me. Later that evening, some friends came over for a craft night so I warmed it up again. Everyone asked what that fabulous smell was! Makes me wish I hadn’t sold that mini-crockpot at the yard sale… it’d be perfect for this!

  33. These are wonderful ideas, I’ve never made my own. Thanks for sharing and BTW, your new blog design looks wonderful. And did miss you. 🙂
    Leslie (Gwen Moss)

  34. Beautiful. I’m going to add lemons, limes, and fresh herbs to my grocery list so I can fill some jars and take lovely photos like yours! Oh yes, I’ll have to order up some sunshine too cause there is NO natural light going on around here lately. And while I can do some pretty amazing stuff with settings and a flash I prefer natural light 😀

  35. I’m loving the beautiful photos here on your blog. The fresh colours of the lemon slices and rosemary….I can almost smell it through the screen! STop by to visit with me sometime.

    ciao bella
    Creative Carmelina

  36. Ahh! I have a tree FULL of lemons. I am so doing this!! 🙂

  37. I so get this………………….I love different smells at different times of the year

  38. I made a room freshener with dried rosemary that I grew along with dried orange and lemon rinds, and cinnamon. It’s very fragrant and looks great in a bowl. For spring/summer I will not add the cinnamon which gives it a fall/winter smell.

  39. YUMMY! What a lovely fresh idea! Your ball jars filled with herbs and water looks good enough to drink! I make a Christmas simmering potpourri but never thought of using herbs from my gardens. I will now!!! Thanks, KariAnn, you have just made my home smell a whole lot nicer!

  40. I can just imagine how wonderful these smell, plus they look so pretty! I keep mint and limes in my fridge for drink garnishes, now i just need to put them to another use! so glad you came by for a visit today!

  41. I have had a lemongrass plant in a clay pot on our deck for 2 years, and only thought of snipping it for tea. How about simmering some of that with lemons and herbs?

  42. Oh I love this idea. I started making these quite a few years ago. For the Fall and Winter months I use oranges, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. I also like using chocolate mint and vanilla.For the Spring and Summer months I head to my herb garden. I love using spearmint, orange mint, lemon balm, limes and lemons. I also like using Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, pink grapefruit and lemon grass. You are so right the combinations are endless.

  43. so sweet, i spent 3 weeks in New England every summer <3

  44. This is a great idea! I’m definitely going to have to try it out with limes! I love the smell of limes 🙂

  45. I never think to do a simmering potpourri in the Spring and summer, usually just in the fall and at Christmas. Now you have inspired me to make my house smell DELICIOUS!!!! Thanks!!!! XO, Pinky

  46. This post is perfectly timed. We had a flood at our house last weekend and have been living in a hotel. We are back in our house and the smell is not very pleasant. I am so going to try this trick while we are waiting for the floors to get done. Thanks.

  47. Oh my goodness gracious!! i’m glad i’m not the ONLY one who likes to simmer scents!! i do cinnamon and apples all the time !! They are cheap and it really makes the house smell wonderful for days!! 🙂

  48. oh I have never done this but now I want to, looks so pretty! Hope you are having a great week 🙂

  49. These sound so yummy! I think that’s how I’d put herbs to use too, with exception of cilantro. Being in the SW, we put salsa on everything! 😉

  50. After the week we have had, I am almost craving for my home to smell so fresh and yummy and not so… “lysol-ish”. We travel to Edisto Beach every Summer and once we cross the “big bridge” onto the island… the sweet smell of salt and ripe plough mud fills up the car and we are almost instantly relaxed. I pray that my girls will look back as fondly as I do on those special times together. Thanks for sharing your sweet stories and heavenly scents!

    Take care,


  51. can you only burn on the stove? I have an oil burner would that work?

  52. Fall/Christmas time, my favorite is cider and mulling spices!! Weve always done this every year. the whole house smells wonderful and you can drink it?! mmm… thanks for the idea for what to do with leftover herbs

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  58. Oranges, cinnamon, and vanilla. It makes the house smell amazing.

  59. I love doing this with oranges, vanilla, and a cinnamon stick. 🙂 It’s very warm and wintery so I usually use it then, great to have a summer option now too!

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