“Ode to the Chamber
…linger here amidst the chamber
in which we embrace our love
talk to me of sonnets
and call me turtledove…”
― Muse, Enigmatic Evolution
Sanctuary. Cozy. Comfortable. Curated. These are my top (and only) words for a romantic bedroom. Four pillars of a love-temple, so to speak.
A master bedroom should inspire love and dreams — for our self and those we invite into it. Yet more often than not, in our rushed & busy lives our bedrooms end up becoming a crash-pad instead of a love-nest. Big mistake!
So, while resolutions are still the flavour of the month and Valentines Day is around the corner, use some (or many) of these ideas to spruce up the bedroom and give loorve a chance.
# 1 – A Private Sanctuary
The first step to a romantic bedroom is to keep the world out. After all, there’s no greater turn-off than a message beep or sharp light when all one wants is a good-night sleep or love-filled moments. These first five ideas are a fool-proof way to turn your bedroom into a private sanctuary.
1. Full Length Curtains
Full length curtains are super important : not just to make those special mornings longer but also to create a plush and soft look. Even if the windows are not full length, let the curtains fall to the floor – it instantly makes a bedroom look more luxurious.
Bonus : Designer tips for making those curtains perfect:
Place the curtain panels high – ideally just below the room’s crown moulding to make the room seem taller. When drawn they should ideally stack on either side of the window without truncating the view. Curtain fabric should be typically 2 to 2.5 times the length of the window so that curtains look plush (and not skimpy) when closed. The hem should ideally stop just before it hits the floor (a little under an inch). Choose thick and dense fabric. Given that most Indian cities get hot and sharp sun I suggest lining the back of the panels with a 90%+ blackout fabric to keep out the light and UV rays. A sheer is great addition for bringing-in the natural light without compromising on privacy. Last but not the least – curtains are a game changer in a room and their colour, texture and pattern should ideally match up with your vision for it. Deep colours are best for mood & glamour. Warm whites or neutral shades for a breezy and sophisticated look.
2. Use (lots of) fabric to dampen noise
It’s rather hard to keep the noise out in our ever-so-chaotic cities, but try one must. After all, pillow-talk and sweet-nothings don’t quite sound the same against the annoying backdrop of car reverse music, right? Double panelled windows do a great job of cutting out the noise but in case you cant install them, try this — use lots of fabric. Heavy, tall curtains; one or several thick, good quality rugs; upholstered headboards and arm chair will go a long way in reducing noise pollution.
A note for design lovers — upholstered headboards are a huge trend in 2017 and you don’t need to change your bed to add one. Check out some really cool wall-mounted headboards on my Pinterest board for inspiration.
3. Leave the office outside
It was all mush and just then the incoming email pings — first on the computer, then on the tablet and yet again on the damn phone — worse still, all the efforts of making the room noise-free only meant one can hear it louder than ever before — aargh! Do yourselves a favour – leave the computers, wires and all things office outside. Make it a rule (for both) and then stick to it.
4. Keep it calm
Not the action, obviously!
Over stimulating colours and patterns are distracting. There are several studies which conclude that our subconscious mind is unable to relax around very warm colours. Avoid therefore, the boudoir reds and go for taupe, grey blue, blush tones, soft whites or warm green. Some shades of brown and tan are great too, as is wall paper — just as long as it’s in a relaxing tone ideal for your perfect sanctuary. If you like bold colours, paint the walls in warm white and use patterns and/or bold shades on pillows, throws or rugs.
Personally, I prefer and recommend shades of warm whites and greige (combining sophisticated grey with earthy beige) — they are just better for our climate. Much more live able, flexible and versatile.
Green is top shade for 2017, here are a lovely palette suitable for bedrooms
5. De-clutter and embrace minimalism
A messy bedroom is the opposite of a private sanctuary. It neither inspires love nor sleep nor relaxation for that matter — basically a cluttered bedroom is the fastest way of making it dysfunctional. Please also remember that its best to embrace ‘less is more’ philosophy when it comes to your bedroom. Think ‘spa chic’ — neat, minimalist, organised and you are golden.
# 2 : Cozy
To me ‘cozy’ is a place (or a relationship) which is unpretentious, warm, secure and intimate. Just like Fitzgerald’s words “They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered”. Cozy is also a bit like magic — you have to get it right from the very start. Here’s what I’ve discovered about making a bedroom cozy:
6. Go Natural
Cozy bedrooms are organic. Think layers of natural materials — wooden furniture, silk rugs or cotton hurries, linen or cashmere throws. Replace the plastic water bottle on your nightstand with a glass-carafe or copper lota. Add some plants and flowers – they are an easy and excellent way to create a living, soothing environment.
7. Play with textures & patterns but keep a keen eye on balance
Monochrome is serene but cozy needs a bit of colour and lots of texture. Use pillows, throws, rugs and wallpaper to add pattern and colour to the room. Add depth with textured duvet covers, bedspreads and curtain panels. Florals are a great motif to use in a bedroom till as long as the print is not too feminine. A word of caution though — however you mix things up, go easy on it and please don’t loose sight of balance.
8. Curvy is better
A room full with only straight lines can be visually aggressive. Break the angles & straight lines by adding something curvy — it can be a chair, a table, stool, mirror, console or even bedside lamps. Word of caution though – too many curvy things can seem messy, so stick to one or maximum two pieces to create a perfect snug look.
9. Say yes to vintage love
Decorating with antiques bring tremendous character, stories and most importantly a sense of history to a room — absolute hallmarks of a cozy bedroom. Plus, hunting for a genuine vintage object is always great fun. I love mixing styles, so even if your bedroom or apartment is uber modern, an antique will actually add a personable dimension to it.
10. Light it right
Small lamps and layering light is key to mood and functionality. For the bedside, I prefer wall mounted lamps or ceiling pendants to table-top lamps: they help save precious space on the nightstand. Change light switch to a dimmer to create mood lighting. An overhead light for general lighting should also be easy to turn on/off while still in bed. Floor or oversized lamps next to a chair, or a light above a painting is great to cast a beautiful & gentle glow as the evening sets-in.
11. Golden glow for instant wow
Everything and everyone looks more beautiful in candle light. True that! Create a nook in my bedroom which is safe to light a few candles. Personally, I like to add mirrors or furniture with mirrored details around my candle corner to create layers upon layers of golden glow. Another excellent trick is to place the candle inside a Moroccan inspired lantern so it creates magical patterns on the wall.
12. Mirrors are sexy
Long full length mirrors add dimension, depth and panache to bedrooms — where you place it and what you see in it is of course your prerogative. A word of caution though : there’s a big Feng-shui rule against having a mirror on the wall opposite the bed — something about shadows coming between you two. There are multiple other ways to add full length mirrors to a room just in case you believe in these things (I know, I do – its hard enough to find quality loving to then risk it to bad Feng-shui, right?)
13. Shine ON Darlin’
Adding shiny textures to bedrooms is a hot new trend. Its glamorous but not a timeless look — having said that, its your bedroom and this is what makes your heart beat faster, here is an awesome hollywood’esque inspiration.
Smells evoke strong emotional reactions. The connection of our olfactory receptors to our brain is within the limbic system, the most ancient and primitive part of our brains which is thought to be the seat of emotions. Scent, fragrances and odours therefore have a huge effect on our mood and sense of well-being. Each person has their own ‘smell palette’ but lavender is generally thought to be great for relaxation. Several Indian brands sell excellent high quality lavender essential oils which are easy to burn with a diffuser.
15. If music be the food of love, play on…
Make place for a sound system in your bedroom (not the TV surround system variety but a stand alone dock — after all you want to add, and not distract from the mood). And keep a playlist handy – preferably groovy, romantic tracks with soft beats and deep bass. Have a little consideration and choose songs which you both love. I know, this is not a design hack, but there is no way to write a post about romantic bedrooms and not mention the music, right?
#3 : Comfortable
16. High quality mattress
Even though every post, article or brochure ever written on bedroom comfort would urge you invest in high quality bedding – a reminder doesn’t hurt. After all, its much better to rock a comfortable bed than an uncomfortable one!
17. A sturdy nightstand
One of my greatest pet-peeves is to see perfectly styled nightstands adorned with beautiful coffee-table books, a vintage artefact leaning against an artwork. Oh so beautiful, but unless its functional a nightstand is simply useless! Bedside tables should (read : must) have space to keep a water carafe, glasses, toys or whatever else you need by your bedside without having to scramble for it. There’s nothing worse than hearing everything crash to the floor when all you wanted was to reach out for your naughty accessory! So keep that bedside table functional – please.
18. The other zone
A seat to wind-down, remove shoes, put away accessories and your worries before one gets into the bed is a beautiful addition to a bedroom’s comfort quotient. We may no longer have the space to add boudoir style chaise lounge and sometimes even an arm chair may also be too large — but try to make room for a bench, pouf or even a stool at the foot of the bed for that secondary seat. However, if your room is super compact, remember the ‘less is more’ rule – its better to have less clutter than have an additional seat.
19. Between the sheets .. ahem, the linen
I love that in India we get excellent cotton and organic bed furnishings at great prices. I am totally crazy about the high thread-count (400+) for special occasions – their super soft and luxurious feel will make your bed a haven for sure. For uppers, I’ve been using mulmul dohars and Jaipur quilts ever since I moved back to India. They are perfect for our weather, easy for layering and available in every colour imaginable.
20. When four is better than two
I mean the pillows.
From a visual point of view four pillows make a bed look way more comfy than two. Also square pillows look better but I find that its not easy to find square pillows in our local market. So unless you have ample opportunity and time to buy them on your foreign trips stick to the practical rectangular size.
# 4 : Curated
Last but not the least, a curated bedroom is the ultimate statement feature. I am not (have never been) a fan of perfectly styled bedrooms / homes, they just don’t feel real. And trust you me, even the perfect rooms we see in magazines are not that perfect! Homes, especially your bedroom should be about you — your expression, your travel(s) and things which are important to you & your partner. Trends come and go but your story is here to stay – curate and live with what means the most to you.
21. Collect your pieces separately
Like I said – shiny, new, ready made bedroom suites don’t really do much for the heart. And no matter what a marketer tell you, its best to collect the pieces of your bedroom separately — not only is it more personal & special, its also cheaper.
I respect that you may be short on time and buying that bedroom suite may be a more ‘practical’ option, but starting this Valentines add an object every year to personal your most personal space. Remember to make it count — choose something which resonates with both of you and the love & life you share.
21. The pleasure of unexpected magic
Be it an unusual headboard, a whimsical night stand, a vintage rug or an oversized artwork (one only please) — add a ‘hero’ piece to create instant magic. If there is an odd architectural element — a column, niche or window — use it to its full potential instead of resenting it because when used well such elements become the very ‘hero’ piece you need.
And that’s wrap for my decor ideas for a romantic bedroom. Which of these do you like the most? What did I miss… I’ll love to hear your ideas.
In the meanwhile, here’s wishing you many nights of beautiful dreams and delicious sweet-nothings. Above all, to a life full of love and authentic luxe. Cheerios!