Design Recipes: The do’s and don’ts of fall fragrances

Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service
Lavender is a popular home scent.

What does your home say about you? What is the first or lasting impression? In many instances, the unseen can make a lasting impression, whether positive or negative. We are talking about scent. Fragrance can be powerful when it comes to either attracting or distracting. And for many, infusing scents is part of the experience for guests. When looking for ways to infuse fragrance and scent into your home, here are some tips.


1. Look for natural scents (as opposed to artificial). Lemons, limes, oranges and their natural scents can be used to help infuse natural fragrance into your home.

2. Consider using plants and herbs. Sage and lavender are two of the most popular and make wonderful scents either individually or in combination.

3. Use soy candles. Soy candles burn cleaner than paraffin and are a wonderful way to infuse scents.

4. Make your own potpourri or scented sachets. From dried petals to spices, herbs and plants, making your own potpourri or sachets will create a longer-lasting fragrance.

5. Use essential oils. Essentials oils either alone or blended into soy candles or potpourri can help extend the life of your fragrance (do your research; some may be harmful to pets).


1. Use artificial sprays and aerosols. Not only are the majority of these scents unattractive, many are also not good for the environment.

2. Use automatic sprays and plugins. These are an absolute turnoff and may send the signal your home may not be fresh.

3. Use harsh chemicals and bleaches as cleaners. Harsh chemicals can emit fragrances that can disturb and irritate the senses. Lemon juice mixed with borax and water can make a great natural cleaner.

4. Forget to keep textiles such as drapery and carpeting clean and fresh. Odors are trapped in textiles and keeping them fresh and clean will help maintain the desired scent.

5. Introduce toxic smells into your home such as cigarette smoke. In many instances, these odors take a long time to eliminate.


Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at .