Summer is a great time to bring nature indoors, in the form of fresh flowers, open windows and fruity fragrances. But if you’re worried about burning down your house with a lit candle or just tired of using the same old plug-in air freshener, try some of these alternative methods to scenting your indoor habitat.
Reed diffusers are a fresh, safe alternative to candles and oil burners because they do not have an open flame, said Julie Haynes, co-owner of The Palace boutique in Aggieville.
A diffuser is a form of aromatherapy that uses fragrance oil to soothe and rejuvenate a tired, stressed mind. Diffuser reeds are placed in a jar filled with scented oil, and as the reeds soak up the oil, the fragrance permeates the room. The smell is not overly strong, nor does it spread too far, and smaller diffusers are perfect for freshening up a small bedroom or bathroom in a subtle way. They also come in fun colors and elegant glass bottles, adding a touch of class to any setting.
The Palace features several styles and sizes of reed diffusers, with scents like “honeysuckle,” “vanilla bean” and even “milk.” Haynes said the reeds never need to be replaced unless they break, but the oil will need to be refilled; it can last from one month to a year, depending on the quality of the diffuser. The Palace sells refills of certain scents for $29.
INCENSE sticks, cones
Incense is one of the cheapest ways to fill your home with fun scents this summer. Rockstar and Rogers — a clothing, costume and home decor shop in Aggieville — carries several lines of incense, ranging from the simplest single sticks and wooden holders, to packs of 40 sticks and more elaborate coffin-box holders with lids and storage space for the incense.
Rebecca Craig, co-owner of Rockstar and Rogers, said one of the store’s most popular incenses is “nag champa.”
“It’s your basic incense,” she said. “It has a more subtle, musky smell that a lot of men like. It’s a classic scent without being too heavy.”
Craig said other popular summer scents are “peace of mind,” “Egyptian cotton” and “ocean wind.”
If you are interested in incense, but are limited on the amount of space you have or do not like the messy ashes that incense holders generate, Rockstar and Rogers also carries incense cones. These are condensed versions of incense sticks that create less mess, and Craig said customers can fill a Ziploc bag with 10 cones for $1.75. The store also carries a variety of holders for incense cones, ranging from small, wooden dishes to taller gold, bronze and silver metal holders.
AROMAFLORIA POTPOURRI BEADS
These tiny, fragrant beads are not your average potpourri. For $5 a scoop — which is about a handful — you can fill an organza drawstring bag with colorful, mess-free summer scents like “pomegranate,” “white sand” and “narcissus.”
Lilacs on the Prairie Boutique and Gallery on Poyntz Avenue is the only vendor in Manhattan that carries the potpourri beads, according to the store’s owner, Marty Wellington. She said the beads are popular with customers of all ages and she is constantly having to refill the large, glass jars that hold the beads.
“They’re great because they don’t leave any residue,” Wellington said. “They’re air activated and they don’t leave a mess because the fragrance is infused into the beads, so there’s no oil or stains or anything left to clean up.”
Wellington said that because the beads are air-activated, their fragrance is strongest when they’re more exposed to air, like in a dish on a bathroom counter. She also said heat often augments the beads’ scents, which last for several months, depending on the environment they are in. Also, each scoop is enhanced by glitter, paper cutouts or botanical potpourri to make it stand out.
“A lot of people hang the bags from their rearview mirror in their car or stick one in their underwear or sock drawer,” Wellington said. “The colors and smells are great for summertime.”