My room needs a scent.
November 1, 2011 1:38 PM   Subscribe

I want my room to smell "good". It doesn't smell bad now - it just smells like nothing. Without having to light a candle or anything like that, what would you recommend I put in my room to keep it smelling good?

I don't mind if it's something I need to replace occasionally. I'm just not sure what works best.

For what it's worth, I'm a guy. The actual scent can be anything pleasant, I'm indifferent. Just something rather than nothing.
posted by rastapasta to Home & Garden (28 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
Orange Pomander
posted by jquinby at 1:40 PM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Dried lavender is pretty nice, it smells kind of soapy and I consider it to be one of the more masculine florals.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 1:42 PM on November 1, 2011

Coffee beans are nice. Just a little dish of them can add a subtle smell to a room and absorb any bad smells.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:43 PM on November 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

I leave scented candles around, but don't light them. If they're high quality candles you will be able to smell them even without burning them.
posted by winna at 1:49 PM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

orange pomanders also last more or less forever. I've had a bowl-full that's gone 9 years and still smells good (ymmv) But they're more of a christmasy thing...
posted by MangyCarface at 1:51 PM on November 1, 2011

It probably smells like nothing to you because you're used to it. For what it's worth though, I feel your pain. I buy all kinds of good-smelling stuff and I can pretty much never smell it after a few days. I think the only way to combat this is to have different-smelling stuff all the time. I have lots of different-scented candles, incense, diffuser sticks, sometimes I'll even buy fresh flowers that smell really good. I think just changing it up a lot is key.
posted by GastrocNemesis at 1:52 PM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Eucalyptus. That stuff is strong - and if you catch cold, it can double as a home remedy (take some leaves, crush'em up, toss 'em in boiling water, inhale steam).

Or get an herb plant or two and try growing it if you've got the windowsill space. Rosemary is kind of hardy -- it can stand it if you forget to water it for a week or so, and you can cook with it. It does need more than just a couple hours of light, so it'll do better if you have a good light source (although, my mother once grew a huge one in the garage).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:55 PM on November 1, 2011

Those cinnamon scented pinecones you can pick up most anywhere this time of year. I love the smell, it's not too girly and you get a head start on your holiday decorating
posted by wwax at 1:57 PM on November 1, 2011

Or try this --

1. Get some kind of fancy essential oil from the health food store. Some mom-and-pop drug stores have them too. Go with true essential oil rather than "fragrance oil" -- it'll last way longer. Good ones to consider: any herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, basil) or wood oils (sandalwood, cedarwood, pine).

2. Next time you clean anything in your room, get that essential oil out. Are you vaccuming? Take a cotton ball, put a few drops of that oil on the cotton ball, and toss that in the vacuum bag (or the canister if you have one of those dyson things). That will last for the next few vacuums; the smell from the oil will waft out into your room as you vacuum. Are you mopping? Add a few drops of that oil to the mop water. Washing your sheets? Add a few drops to the rinse cycle.

3. Over time, that scent will start to take hold.

Speaking of cedarwood, that may be another idea -- I think you can get cedar shavings at pet stores (guinea pigs sleep in it, I think) -- get a bag of that, open it up, take a handful and put it in a dish somewhere and then put the rest in a sealed container. Leave the dish out in your room until the scent totally fades. When it does -- or, maybe just once a week or once a month -- dump it out, get another handful of cedar shavings and refill the bowl.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:01 PM on November 1, 2011 [7 favorites]

Oh, another one - unburnt pipe tobacco smells great. YMMV on the results of burning it.
posted by jquinby at 2:07 PM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah, your room has a smell but you're used to it, as GastrocNemesis points out.

Folks often remark on the nice smell my house has. I recommend:

- Keep things clean. Dust, carpets, and bedding can hold onto smells.
- Keep up with your laundry. Dirty clothes/sheets can smell unfresh, if not funky.
- Air it out every day (even in cold weather, just open a window for five minutes) and let some light in.
- Follow EmpressCallipygos' advice about essential oil (I'd go with lavender) and yeah, put some cedar blocks in your closet/drawers.

winna has a good point too: high quality scented candles don't need to be lit to make a room smell nice. Try Pacifica; they smell good without smelling chemical-y.
posted by Specklet at 2:09 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pine needles are pretty ubiquitous and offer a sustained yuletide whiff. I gather them up as an acid amendment for certain plants and leave them to dry on a windowsill. They smell potent for a very long time, especially if ground up first.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 2:19 PM on November 1, 2011

My lady and I have a Lampe Berger lamp--essentially just an alcohol burning lamp that uses a fuel that has an essential oil fragrance in it. When you want to freshen up your room, light the lamp and let it burn for 20 minutes. Its proponents say it cleans the air; I don't know whether that's true, but it certainly smells nice. There are a million scents available. You can even make your own knock off (supply your own bottle, use one of their wicks off of eBay, and make the fuel with isopropyl alcohol and a fragrance oil; there are tutorials online).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:24 PM on November 1, 2011

I use apple cinnamon scented glass air freshener.

It has a little gel square that you put in a slot on one side of the glass. It makes my office smell nice without overpowering it.
posted by royalsong at 2:35 PM on November 1, 2011

This is the best home fragrance IMO-- It has such a clean smell.
posted by seriousmoonlight at 2:38 PM on November 1, 2011

The best thing in the world: An amber ball from L'Artisan Parfumeur. Comes in small, medium, large, with increasing cost as you go up. Also on the pricey side are some ceramic ovals from Diptyque.
posted by matildaben at 3:11 PM on November 1, 2011

I personally love Caldrea's Ginger Pomelo products. The linen spray keeps my aparment smelling very pleasant.
posted by erstwhile at 3:20 PM on November 1, 2011

I put a bar of scented soap, loosely wrapped in tissue paper, in my closet. That keeps everything smelling clean and nice without it being any effort :)
posted by lollusc at 3:25 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I drip lemon oil in a can of shoe polish and stir it with a fork.
posted by springload at 3:26 PM on November 1, 2011

Target sells wooden-wicked candles that I swear by. They have a cap that looks a bit like a wooden tupperware lid, and even if you never light them, leave 'em in the room all day with the lid off and your room will smell subtly nice. Or light them for ten minutes once a day, but you didn't want to do that, so all day with the lid off will do it.
posted by davejay at 4:03 PM on November 1, 2011

You need some aromatherapy. Cedar, as wood that you can sand a bit when the aroma dulls, or as oil that you spritz on a paper towel and tuck in with wool sweaters to repel moths. Coffee beans in a small jar that you leave open once in a while. If you get magazines with cologne strips, tear out the strips, and put them in with your underwear or tshirts. If you're at the mall, spritz colognes on the paper squares they have, and bring them home to tuck in a book. If you buy oranges, lemons, limes or apples, put them in a bowl in your room. When you put scented things in closed spaces, the smell lasts, and you get a nice reminder when you open the drawer, book, or closet. Get some baby powder, and spill some on the rug before you vacuum. Eucalyptus smells great, and will make your closet smell like the outdoors.

Keep your dirty clothes and socks in the hamper, and your shoes in the closet, cause they smell not-so-nice. Keep your room clean, and use cleaning products that smell good, but are not overly perfumed.

My favorite aromatherapy is a small jar of ground cardamom, that I open for a calming moment when I'm stressed.
posted by theora55 at 4:18 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

My house has smelled transcendent every time I've owned a candle from Diptyque. They are very pricey but incomparable. The candle never even has to be lit and the smell remains very strong. I had this one a couple of times...smells like an intoxicating woodsy forest. I used to save my money for these when I lived in Europe, and I'm saving up for another one now that I found a store in my neighborhood. They use essential oils, in case that is important.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 6:43 PM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I lived in an apartment that had been used for roasting coffee. I've never been in such a nice-smelling place in my life.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:49 PM on November 1, 2011

I use this Lemon Scented Diffuser. It's a nice, bright scent, but not particularly gendered.
posted by asphericalcow at 1:02 AM on November 2, 2011

People have mentioned soap tucked into drawers and things. Sandalwood soap can be had very cheaply at Asian/Indian markets if there's one in your area; so you can get a crapton of it. And sandalwood smells not only "masculine" enough, but also kinda sexy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:59 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Peppermint! Here's my air freshener recipe (adapted from an Apartment Therapy post):

1 oz cheapie vodka
6 oz filtered water
40 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 1) Mix in a spray bottle and then 2) go nuts.

The SO and I love the smell. Very fresh and never overpowering.
posted by flomo at 6:01 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

I used to love scented candles but now (at least when lit) they give me headaches. If you're experimenting with scents around the house, start simple, start light... and have a trusted friend come visit. Preferably one with allergies, just to make sure you accidentally don't create a hostile olfactory environment in your quest for nosy nirvana.

I'm not trying to dissuade you - I love this thread, and we have a cinnamon broom we bought for the holidays, but I'm aware that some things just set people off. YMMV.
posted by canine epigram at 6:40 PM on November 3, 2011

"Coffee beans"

If you ever see them mold, get them out of your home and kill it with fire immediately. Works great so long as you keep them dry and pay attention to them now and again.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:20 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

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