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.


Herb pots


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.


Lemon and rosemary


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.


Customize your own natural room scents

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.


Lemon citrus room scent


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.

Lime room scent


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! 🙂

 All natural room scents

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. Image for Lori H Lori H

    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.

    1. Image for Anita Anita

      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. Image for Maureen Maureen

    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. Image for AnnaM AnnaM

    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. Image for gina gina

    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. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    There is nothing like the smell of fresh herbs in the house!...Your "herb pots" are so the markers!...I have a large Rosemary bush in the Rosemary..and one of the keep the deer away...they hate Rosemary...Have a wonderful day!

  6. Image for Linda @ it all started with paint Linda @ it all started with paint

    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. Image for martha martha

    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. Image for Susan Susan

    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

  9. Image for Ashley Sparks Ashley Sparks

    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

  10. Image for nantucketdaffodil nantucketdaffodil

    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 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....

  11. Image for Marybeth Whalen Marybeth Whalen

    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:

  12. Image for Miss Flibbertigibbet Miss Flibbertigibbet

    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....

    1. Image for Spiritual Cynic 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.

      1. Image for Nikki Nikki

        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. :-)

  13. Image for baileywife baileywife

    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

  14. Image for marydon marydon

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

  15. Image for Courtney Courtney

    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! :)

  16. Image for Kelli Kelli

    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 are helping inspire me to clean after everyone being sick. ;) I'll bet that your home smells amazing. Have a wonderful day! ~k.

  17. Image for Kim Kim

    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!

  18. Image for June G. June G.

    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

  19. Image for Regina Regina

    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? ;)

  20. Image for Patty O Patty O

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

  21. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    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! ;)

  22. Image for Ann Ann

    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.

  23. Image for Peggy Peggy

    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! ;)

  24. Image for Vee Vee

    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!

  25. Image for Kelly Kelly

    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.

  26. Image for Becca Becca

    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!

  27. Image for Suzanne @ Willow House Suzanne @ Willow House

    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!

  28. Image for Jill Flory Jill Flory

    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 :D

  29. Image for Creative Carmelina Creative Carmelina

    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

  30. Image for Janette@The2Seasons Janette@The2Seasons

    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.

  31. Image for Yvonne @ StoneGable Yvonne @ StoneGable

    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!

  32. Image for Debra@CommonGround Debra@CommonGround

    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!

  33. Image for Betty Betty

    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?

  34. Image for Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking

    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.

  35. Image for Pinky Pinky

    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

  36. Image for jessica jessica

    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.

  37. Image for Steph Green Steph Green

    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!! :)

  38. Image for Trish @ Uncommon Trish @ Uncommon

    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, Trish

  39. Image for Tara Tara

    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

  40. Image for Sammi Jo Sammi Jo

    Karianne, I to found you by happy accident one year ago, I have been following your blog ever since and love every minute of it. Thanks for all the tips and tricks to make a home a wonderful place to be. :-)

  41. Image for "apollo beach home bargain" "apollo beach home bargain"

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  43. Image for Jenna Jenna

    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!

  44. Image for Issac Issac

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