For Homeowners

Beyond Pumpkin Spice: 8 Easy Hacks For A Great-Smelling Home

Make any space smell amazing (without the chemicals)!

Nothing is better than coming home to an inviting, fresh-smelling space after a long day. And a great smelling home is especially important if you’re looking to list your home, whether it’s a home for sale in Chicago, IL or an apartment across the country in Dallas, TX. While fragrant candles and plug-ins tend to be overpowering (and often full of chemicals), there are plenty of natural alternatives.

From citrus peels in the disposal to eucalyptus sprigs in the shower, here are easy homemade air freshener ideas that will subtly scent every room using essential oils and fragrant plants.

1. DIY air freshener

One of the fastest, easiest ways to eliminate less-than-savory odors at home is spray air freshener. To avoid chemicals, skip the store-bought stuff and DIY it. You probably already have everything you need for this recipe from One Green Planet: citrus fruit, water, baking soda, and a refillable spray bottle.

2. Stove-top scent

Another alternative to artificially scented candles and the like: this recipe from One Good Thing By Jillee for a simmering pot on the stove full of nutmeg, cinnamon, and other seasonal herbs and spices. After just a few minutes of steeping, it’ll smell as if you’ve been baking all day.

3. Tea leaves in cat litter

Litter boxes are tricky. No matter how often you clean them, their odors can quickly permeate and linger in any room. Combat this by sprinkling a few dried tea leaves into the litter next time you change kitty’s box.

4. Other tea bag tricks

In tight spaces that are susceptible to strong smells (the bathroom, pantry, laundry room, or closets), string up a few tea bags inside. They’ll help absorb unwanted odors and give off a fresh aroma — mint or jasmine tea works perfectly. Swap in new bags every few months or whenever the scent starts to taper off.

5. Herbal wreath

Whether hung on the front door or right in the kitchen, a wreath made of fresh herbs like this one from Adventures in Making is fragrant, festive, and functional. Try oregano, thyme, rosemary, or parsley and snip off sprigs to add to recipes as needed.

6. Shower eucalyptus

Hang a few sprigs of fresh eucalyptus in the corner of the shower, where they won’t get wet. When you shower, the steam and humidity will activate the natural oils, releasing a refreshing aroma. Instant spa! (You can find eucalyptus in most nurseries and flower shops.)

7. Disposal deodorizer

Garbage disposals are awesome. Sink smells are not. These easy-to-make DIY refreshers from Hello Natural are just the quick fix you’re looking for. The ice helps knock off any built-up food debris as citrus and white vinegar leave behind nothing but freshness.

8. Indoor garden

Planting herbs in Mason jars like Mommy’s Kitchen is a great solution any time of year for apartment dwellers but especially makes sense during colder months. Line them up on a windowsill to instantly freshen the air and brighten any room. Another idea: Arrange stems of mint, sage, basil, or rosemary in a pretty vase for a fragrant, affordable alternative to a floral bouquet.

Posted by Jill Russell on Trulia


Curb Appeal

Wet Bars, Hot Tubs, and More: What Home Feature Rules in Your State?

Diversity is one of the United States’ greatest assets—and that’s true even in home design! Especially in home design, in fact. From coast to coast, the way we like to live varies enormously. Sitting in a covered patio sipping cocktails after a refreshing dip in the pool, Texans may wonder what kind of house their Delaware compatriots live in. Are they chilling in their master rooms? Cowering in their storm shelters? Swinging on their gazebos?

Well, wonder no longer, friends, because we’ve pinpointed the distinctive housing features of each state.

Our data team took a deep dive into our 1.5 million active listings of single-family homes for sale and parsed out over 200 individual features from their listing descriptions. From there, we finalized the top five features for each state and picked the one with real local flavor.

Explore the details by hovering over each state and clicking for high-definition photos from real homes.

Let’s take a look at some features that leap out:

Kansas: Wet bar

Alcohol laws in Kansas are among the strictest in the U.S., which may explain why 7% of its homes currently on the market have a wet bar. Remarkably enough, the state banned the sale of liquor “by the drink”until 1987 (it’s still illegal in 10 counties), pretty much outlawing public bars—so it makes perfect sense to have one at home. Invite your friends! And you can be sure that everybody will know your name.

Oregon: Hot tub

What goes perfectly with Oregon’s lush trees, awesome pinots, and chilly nights? A hot tub! We’re actually surprised that only 5% of Oregon homes for sale come equipped with one.

Oklahoma: Storm shelter

With an average of 55 tornadoes tearing through Oklahoma every year, storm shelters are an important feature. Our data show that 6% of homes in Oklahoma are marketed as having one. Why not more? Well, the cost of adding a storm shelter to an existing home starts at $2,500 and can exceed $20,000—which is not so financially appealing, considering that the median home price statewide is only $168,000.

Michigan: Pole barn

Pole barns are, well, barns that use large poles to provide vertical structural support. Pioneered in the 1930s, pole barns are still common in rural areas because they’re quick and cheap to build. You can find them in 5% of Michigan listings.


Idaho: RV parking

With more than 600 campgrounds featuring breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife, Idaho is a terrific place to hit the road in an RV. Little surprise that Idaho ranks as the second-highest state in RV ownership—89.7 vehicles per 1,000 households—after Wyoming, according to DataMasters and the U.S. Census. Appropriately, 6% of Idaho homes for sale are equipped with spacious RV parking.

Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama: Traditional design

A love of history and tradition runs strong in the South. In Mississippi and Georgia, a typical home features elegant formal dining spaces with grand oak tables, antique chairs, and French linens. In Alabama, crown molding gives a luxurious and gracious feel to ordinary living spaces.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, and Minnesota: Porch

There’s another side of the South, though, and that’s the tradition of hanging out on the porch, drinking some sweet tea. Front porches in North Carolina (9%) and Virginia (8%) let you enjoy the fresh air and chat with neighbors without leaving the comfort of your own home. A little farther down in South Carolina, screened porches (10%) offer protection from those pesky mosquitoes during the humid summer.

As for residents in Minnesota, three-season porches (4%) are the way to go—providing a shield against harsh weather conditions without ruining the sense of indoor-outdoor living.

Montana and Utah: Vaulted ceiling

Inspired by ancient cathedrals and basilicas, vaulted ceilings have been trending in residential homes for quite some time, especially in Utah (10% of listings), Montana (7%), and other Western states. Vaulted ceilings are a dramatic feature, creating space and allowing tons of natural light to come in. On the downside, keep an eye on your energy bills: Heat rises, and the winters are long.

New Mexico, Alaska, Delaware, and Vermont: Fireplace

While fireplaces are popular across the country, different types are preferred in different locations. A kiva fireplace, known for its beehive appearance with an arched firebox door, is a top choice for New Mexico homeowners to decorate their Southwestern adobe homes (6%).

In the wilds of Alaska, a wood stove offers an off-the-grid option to beat the cold (5%). In urban Delaware, on the other hand, gas fireplaces (9%) warm people’s toes and hearts—no muss, no fuss. And Vermonters choose stone fireplaces (6%) to warm up rustic homes.

Posted by Yuqing Pan on