Romancing the Bedroom

To many, Valentine’s Day means two things. First, it’s the most stressful day in existence, as you try to plan the perfect date for your loved one—one that not only will not impress him or her, but also that he or she will remember forever. Second, it’s the day you can expect to end in the bedroom, and not just because you passed out exhausted from all that planning. But for many Americans, the bedroom is a neglected space that is little more than a place to dress, sleep, and have sex. Ultimately, that’s exactly what the bedroom was designed for, and what most studies show it should be for. Yet, it doesn’t mean that the room can’t also set the mood, and be romantic at the same time. The following ideas and tips will help create ambience without breaking the bank.


New sheets are perhaps the quickest and easiest way to drastically change the look of a bedroom drastically. The bedroom is just that: a room for a bed. Unless you have turned your bedroom into a minientertainment center, it should have very little extra furniture, and the main—let’s hope, largest piece of furniture—will be the bed. Because it’s the largest object, the bed will be the first piece of furniture the eye is drawn to, and the first impression one has of the room. This allows you to use bedding and pillows to change the bedroom into a more romantic environment.

So, no more Wal-Mart bedding, or sheets from when you were 12. Soft, warm, and inviting tones can turn any bed into a welcoming nest. The nicer the sheets, the better they will feel against the skin, so splurge a bit here. Quality bedding can change the look of the bed itself—an old, frameless one can seem romantic and inviting, swathed in the right set of pillows and sheets. Bed-in-a-bag is definitely not the way to go if you expect more than just you to sleep in that bed.


This is perhaps the most dramatic way to change a room—that is, if painting doesn’t bring on panic attacks. Anyone who has lived in an apartment knows how stark all-white walls can be. Posters and pictures long have been the quickest way to change that look, and make an apartment feel more like home and less like a sanitarium. Ultimately, if you really want to change the appearance of a room, paint is the way to go. A simple change in wall color dramatically can turn cold into warm and welcoming.

But anyone who ever has dipped a brush quickly will attest that the wrong paint or color can make a good idea into a nightmare. As one painter of our acquaintance said, when bright red walls showed signs of paint strokes all throughout his room, “We primed the walls, and put on a second coat even, but yeah…” he shrugged, as he viewed what was supposed to have been a striking new look for his bedroom. Done correctly, however, an unwelcoming room rapidly can be given a personal touch that beckons you and your loved one in.


The final, and perhaps most important, step is adding—or, in some cases, subtracting—items. The bedroom is the most personal of all rooms in the home, and should reflect this. But at a point, any room can become just too cluttered with personal effects. While OK for a hobby room, it is not acceptable for an intimate space to be shared with another person. Dressers and other surfaces should be clean and organized, with a minimal amount of clutter on top. If an object isn’t needed on a daily basis, it shouldn’t be there.

Once the clutter is removed, it’s time to add back, or add for the first time, a few accents that can lighten the mood: specifically, candles. Even if the bedroom light has a dimmer switch, candles will add romance in a way that hardware never can. They not only will provide the minimal amount of light needed, but also a pleasant smell that will waft throughout the room, giving the final touch to a romantic night.

Other items can help, such as well-placed mirrors. Used imaginatively, a mirror or two quickly can make a small room look much larger, and dispel the notion that it lacks space.


If these tips seem difficult, or, if your inner Martha Stewart is more the monitoring-bracelet than homemaker, asking a friend for advice will make a daunting task simple, and it all can be done for only a few hundred dollars.

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