To help us celebrate romance, that wonderfully ardent emotional attachment we get when we are in love, we count on Valentine’s Day. It often means a fancy meal at home with flowers and chocolates, or in a restaurant, complete with a beautifully set table, candles and a sweet desert to symbolize the sweetness you feel for that special someone.
But what happens on the day after Valentine’s day? Or after 20 years of marriage? Does romantic love fade away or get lost in the rush of daily living? It certainly can, but it doesn’t have to. Romance should be a state of mind, something we strive for in a small way every day.
Decor in your home is one way to emphasize romance throughout the year. Remember that romance has a lot to do with the senses: Smell, taste, what you see, what you hear, and what you touch. So think about décor in the same way.
Romantic decor speaks to the senses, but it’s also about introducing warmth and sensuality into your décor. A clean minimalist look with hard edges and surfacing is not romantic, while lots of draped fabric and curved spaces adds warmth and a nod to the human enjoyment of the sensual. For example, throws, pillows and blankets of rich textures, such as a thick brocade, a nubby linen or velvet, look and feel romantic; they invite you to touch. In fact, anything that feels glorious against naked skin is pretty sensual, like a faux fur rug in front of a fireplace, for example.
Deep colours that radiate warmth, such as reds, rich purples, deep oranges and browns are warm and inviting. Metal fixtures in a coppery, bronzed or gold colour work better than stainless steel and silver chromed finishes. Red and pink are of course also associated with Valentine’s day, and no wonder. These colours symbolize true love that comes from the heart. Pink is also hot for similar reasons, but also because it speaks to flushes, cheeks, lips — you get the idea.
And while we’re speaking of these things, consider the bedroom. The bed is usually the focus of this room, but if you want romance, use lots of fabric and make the bed as inviting as you can. Hanging sheer fabric from the rails of a four-poster bed emphasizes the bed in a lovely way. A coronet canopy (curtains of fabric usually drawn back over a fabric backboard) of a thick, luxurious brocade at the head of the bed has a similar effect. Shirred fabric panels installed over the ceiling or on a wall is another way to introduce warmth and softness.
Fireplaces are romantic in any room, and candles do the same thing. They add that delicious warmth and orangey-yellow light that is so flattering. Flowers are also romantic, for the simple reason that they are beautiful to behold and they can smell heavenly. Scented candles with a delicate scent (not too overpowering please) can add a romantic touch, as can soft and relaxing music. The occasional small chocolate treat to pleasure the tongue is never unwelcome by most people I know.
Finally, I want to wish you all a wonderful Valentine’s Day, and remember to keep those romantic feelings flowing throughout the year!
– Sylvia Putz is a journalist with an interest in decor and design. She’s written for the TV show Arresting Design; firstname.lastname@example.org.