While we may immediately resort to tired clichés when it comes to romance, there are very few of us over the age of 16 who actually respond enthusiastically to them.
Little teddy bears clasping hearts with ‘I Wuv U’ emblazoned across them, heart shaped boxes containing powdery chocolates and overpriced red roses rarely get anyone’s literal heart beating any faster.
The truth is, romance is not necessarily created by things, but by atmosphere and ambiance. The feeling it evokes and the message it sends is what sends pulses racing and creating the perfect romantic setting doesn’t mean having to spend a lot of money.
In the run up to the most romantic day of the year, I’m sharing my tips to create a romantic room for two in your own home. Incorporating a few of these suggestions will create the kind of look that just cries out for a little romance, whether that’s on Valentine’s Day or any other day you wish to show your partner a bit of extra attention.
Ditch that traditional red scheme for something a little softer this year as the perfect alternative. Consider washed out shades of blush pink or peachy colours which are easy to live with and can act as a neutral when combined with any number of other colours. Soft greys or taupes and white are easy partners for blush and neutrals combined with other pastels will create a layered and inviting mix.
Dim the Lights
No one likes feeling as though they are being interrogated under a harsh light over dinner so make sure you put your main lighting on a dimmer switch or even better, turn it off. In place of bright overhead lighting, consider small table lamps, wall lamps or floor lamps which create soft pools of illumination in your room.
Bring in Candlelight
Now that the lights are dimmed, it’s time to bring on the candlelight, an absolute must when it comes to creating a romantic environment and one restaurants the world over have been using for years. Universally flattering, candle light creates intimacy and a calming feeling. Dot votives around a room or group taper candles in multiples in the middle of your dining table. If you are afraid of leaving burning candles around the house, consider LED flameless candles or even fairy lights which will give you a lovely flicker without the risk.
If you are lucky enough to have a working fireplace in your home, light it up. The atmosphere a roaring fire creates when it’s still cold and damp outside can certainly create a romantic feeling. Add a few faux fur throws, floor pillows or knitted blankets to the area to encourage cuddling.
You’ll be happy to hear I’d recommend ignoring those huge bouquets of wildly overpriced red roses. Instead, consider blooms in other varieties that work with a softer scheme. Pinks, lilac, peaches and white flowers mixed with some soft green filler will create a far more romantic atmosphere than tired clichés.
Add Touchable Textures
Speaking of which, you’ll want to drape sofas, a cosy spot in front of the fire or a bed with touchable textures that feel good against the skin. Consider velvet, faux fur, linen, soft cottons and knitted fabrics alongside high quality bed linen for a luxurious touch.
Don’t forget the olfactory factor
The power of an intoxicating scent should never be underestimated! The smell of stale laundry waiting for its cycle, the tuna dinner you had yesterday, or the cat litter tray will all spoil the atmosphere. Clear out anything that’s a bit whiffy from the space and bring in some lightly scented candles, incense, room spray or fresh cut flowers to lift the mood and add a lovely fragrance.
Turn on the Music
Music has always held the power to change our mood and you can add to that romantic feeling by choosing your music wisely. While you certainly don’t have to put on Barry White, stay away from anything too upbeat or loud. You want to be able to float away on the melody rather than be tapping your foot along with the music. Consider a playlist with some of my own favourites – Ben Howard, Agnes Opel or London Grammar all work well or look out for romantic playlists on Spotify. Michael from Inspired by Charm created a playlist featuring songs about love, saving you the work. Promise we won’t tell.
Kimberly Duran is an award-winning interior design blogger who chronicles her decorating journey in her blog, Swoon Worthy. Her style is unashamedly eclectic, bohemian and glamorous and when she's not helplessly drooling over design websites and adding things to the imaginary 'shopping basket' in her head, she likes to get messy tackling DIY projects, stalking eBay for bargains, taking Instagram pictures of her cats and investing time in her ongoing love affair with gold spray paint.