Come fall, everyone loves crisp scents that are characteristically apple and cinnamon heavy, but you don’t need to rip through overpriced air fresheners or burn pricey candles to have your home smelling like autumnal heaven.
Credit: Photo Courtesy of Oxmoor House

While there’s nothing better than opening the lid to a fresh pumpkin spice or apple-cinnamon scented candle when the temperature begins to fall, those pricey purchases don't always smell like the real deal.

Putting away the candles doesn’t mean you have to give up the aromatic pleasure of classic fall fragrances wafting through your home. In fact, you can whip up the most enticing fall scents in your own kitchen for half the price of many other store-bought solutions – not to mention that most would enjoy an excuse to spend an afternoon in the kitchen with delicious-smelling fall ingredients.

There are a few ways to make your house smell like fall everyday:

1) Simmer Scents in a Pot

Pinterest fanatics may already know this trick, but a great DIY solution to fall scents in your own home lies in your cupboard.

Reach for some of your favorite fall-centric spices or particularly fragrant staple ingredients – warm spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, fragrant herbs like rosemary, and sliceable fruits like lemons or apples.

First, choose your favorite aromatic ingredients and get them prepped. Things like cinnamon sticks, herbs, and oils can be used as-is. If you’re using fruit, cut it into slices or rounds. You could even use extracts from favorite scents like vanilla or sweet maple.

The Pioneer Woman suggests simmering whichever ingredients you choose, plus a splash of water, in a pot on your stovetop for 30 to 45 minutes. Afterwards, when the scent is lingering in your kitchen, feel free to let it sit warmly on the stove all day – you can even reheat it if you want the scent to last longer.

While simmering pots can achieve any scents at your discretion, Ree Drummond’s brand suggests using some of the following ingredient combinations:

  • Apples, cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla bean extract
  • Lemon slices, rosemary, and mint leaves
  • Lime slices, mint, and coconut extract.

2) DIY Food Garlands

Credit: Photo: Hannah Burkhalter

A fun, hybrid project for foodies who love crafting would be to make a fall-scented garland to hang in your own kitchen. A garland made from dried orange slices, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks would catch your eye and smell absolutely amazing.

Dried fruits and other aromatic ingredients need to be arranged among leaves that can be intertwined with metallic floral wire, which you can pick up at a craft store.

After a few snips with a wire cutter, this pungent garland would look fabulous draped over a mantel.

3) Baking

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Oxmoor House

There is no greater pleasure for a home cook than to open a warm oven door and release the cloying scent of baked goods into the air. Achieve double the fall fun when you bake these maple-pecan bars, or any of the other 30+ recipes that call on the savory-sweet fragrance of maple. The opportunities to bake fall-perfect cakes, pies, bars, and other perfumed sweets are endless.

We also hear amazing things about this cinnamon-apple cake, in case you were wondering.

Credit: Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

4) Fall Potpourri

Credit: Brian Brainerd / Getty

Potpourri is a great solution for crafters to bring a signature scent into their home without relying on packaged products that can often be very expensive. 

Our friends at Southern Living have the perfect step-by-step recipe for someone who's looking to create a longer-lasting fall fragrance for their home.

We've updated their recipe for a more fall-friendly approach:

You'll need: 3 oranges, 3 cups of raspberries, 3 apples, 2 hydrangea branches, 6 carnations, a non-stick baking sheet in your kitchen and, finally, a pinch of vanilla extract.

Follow these instructions to make your batch at home: 

  1. Heat your oven to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Thinly slice the apples and oranges, but keep the raspberries whole. Cut small sections of hydrangeas, and remove the stems from the carnations.
  3. Place the fruit and flowers on non-stick pans with an inch between each piece. If you aren't using a non-stick pan, make sure to spray them with a thin layer of non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Bake the fruit and flowers until they are completely dried. This will be around 1.5 hours for flowers, and 4 hours for fruit. Baking your ingredients at a low heat for a long period of time will properly dehydrate them and preserve their natural scent.
  5. Once all of the ingredients are dehydrated, place them in a large, airtight container.
  6. Sprinkle the fruit and flowers with 15-20 drops of vanilla extract. Seal the container's lid and and shake gently. Keep the container sealed for 24 hours.