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Archive for Thursday, February 12, 2009

Domestic bliss: Take steps to make home a retreat for lovers

A bedroom with ambiance isn’t all about the interior design — there’s also what you don’t see. Ban laptops and television sets, and put the alarm clocks out of sight. At best, they’re all distractions.

A bedroom with ambiance isn’t all about the interior design — there’s also what you don’t see. Ban laptops and television sets, and put the alarm clocks out of sight. At best, they’re all distractions.

February 12, 2009

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Say ‘I love you’ with ...

• A no-argument bedroom zone

• Framed photographs of honeymoons or special memories

• Keepsakes of children’s artwork or handprints

• Cooking for two

• Thoughtful hidden notes

• Reading materials that inspire conversation

• And the old standby, breakfast in bed.

Tactile additions to your home, like a warm, cozy throw rug, add a sensual element.

Tactile additions to your home, like a warm, cozy throw rug, add a sensual element.

Adding tactile elements to your home, such as soft pillows and throws, helps make it a pleasant retreat.

Adding tactile elements to your home, such as soft pillows and throws, helps make it a pleasant retreat.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and what better time to consider fashioning your home into the ultimate love nest? It’s easy and inexpensive, and no reservations are required.

One of the reasons our homes are referred to as havens is that we generally love coming home to the people and animals we share that space with. Our love and emotional connection is what ultimately creates a sanctuary. With that in mind, you’re already halfway there. Now all we have to do is set the mood.

Romance needn’t be all lacy doilies, English rose gardens and gilded French provincial styles. Instead, think in terms of comfort and simplicity. Use your senses to create a stimulating tactile experience, a soothing mind and body event.

Bedroom

The obvious place to begin turning your home into a love nest would be the bedroom. The bedroom, however, should be a refuge every day, not just Valentine’s Day. The easiest way to start creating a love nest is from the inside out, and that might mean an attitude adjustment. Enact a new policy for this room. Make the bedroom a place where together you make it off-limits to argue, hold grudges or even discuss upsetting topics. You could even go so far as to get rid of all outside influences like a TV and telephone and replace those distractions with items that enlighten and spark conversation like romantic books and poetry.

The bed is, quite obviously, the focal point in most bedrooms. Splurge on high-quality thread count linens. Try to make your bed covering something that appeals to both of you. You might try draping your bed with a beautiful light fabric to fashion a canopy. Have soft, nondirect lighting in the bedroom that is strong enough to read by but effortless to flip off or dim. You might have a comfy reading chair or recliner. Keep a lot of pillows handy to create cozy areas on the floor and increase your options. A buttery soft throw at the end of the bed is a nice touch.

Don’t forget to prepare ahead of time for a carefree breakfast in bed. That is a sure-fire way to start the day off with romance in the air.

Living room

Having furniture that begs to be sat on is a key to luxurious living. It is always romantic to have a piece that is big enough for two to cuddle up on. Don’t overlook texture. You’ll find rich layers of texture to be extraordinarily romantic, and when you layer, the tactile experience is amplified. Use lush fabrics for pillows, throw blankets, upholstery and window drapes. Be aware of harsh lighting. Keep it soft and unobtrusive. We all glow in the warmth of a candle and flames of the fireplace.

Have photographs and artwork on the walls that make you happy. Try to make your surroundings original and a reflection of you. A framed photograph of your honeymoon or a dream vacation could spark passionate emotions. If you are so inclined, paint an original piece of artwork for the occasion. Or a loving thought would be to have your children’s artwork or handprints framed as a token.

Tucked on the bookshelf might be some reading material to get you in the mood — whether it be an informative how-to, a seductive romance novel, poetry, or maybe find your wedding vows to reread.

Light the fire

A roaring fire is a round-trip ticket to romance. Add some candles, possibly light a little incense and let the flames ignite. A scrumptious idea would be to create a picnic in front of the fire for the big Valentine night. If the weather is accommodating, create a fire pit in the backyard or purchase a fire feature. Roast some s’mores and maybe even put up a tent, sharing a sleeping bag and sleeping under the stars. Create a fantasy world with strings of white lights either on the plants outside or along the fence. Or bring them indoors to create the right mood.

Kitchen

Cooking is romantic. Having a glass of wine and whipping up your own savory concoctions together is not only a way to create a love nest through the aromas, sampling foods and the creative process, but it is a wonderful way to use your time together. A large bowl of colorful fruit is romantic, and the scent of herbs growing tickles the senses. A bouquet of fresh flowers is a great way to spice up the romance in the kitchen. You could hide some sentiments written on notes throughout the kitchen, and as you cook your partner can excavate them. Another thought might be to purchase a vase that means something to your partner. Go to antique stores or eBay and look for that perfect container.

Making your home a love nest is a simple, heart-felt, personalized way to show how you feel that no stuffed bear, box of chocolates or generic red roses can compete with.

— Jennifer Oldridge, a Kansas University graduate, is an avid gardener who previously operated a landscaping business.

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