By SOPHIE HOTTINGER
At the beginning of a relationship, an atmosphere of romance can seem easy to create. An elegant dinner at a fine restaurant, an unexpected gift or simply the novelty of your dateâ€™s company can be enough to make an evening feel special.
But for seasoned couples who share a home â€“ and often a busy family â€“ it can be difficult to find the time, energy or inspiration to set the right mood, even for romantic occasions like Valentineâ€™s Day.
Fortunately, thereâ€™s a solution to this dilemma much simpler than planning an elaborate date or over-the-topÂ getaway. Rather, by reevaluating oneâ€™s everyday environment â€“ the interior of the home â€“ itâ€™s possible to create an atmosphere that will bring any cohabitating couple closer together.
Says Chad Gilpin, marketing director of Merridian Home Furnishings, â€œThe most romantic thing you can do in your home is pay attention to the design and make sure you donâ€™t ruin the opportunity for a little romance. If you center your couch on your monster television, youâ€™ve already killed countless opportunities. Whether youâ€™re buying a whole new room setting or working with what youâ€™ve got,â€ he explains, the goal should be â€œto create intimate settings where romance can happen naturally.â€
Furniture arrangements such as breakfast nooks and small tables for two are a great way to set yourselves apart from the chaos of everyday life and enjoy a meal together. Situate your table by windows or dine by candlelight to create an inviting ambience. â€œEven if youâ€™re celebrating Valentineâ€™s Day with a house full of children,â€ Gilpin notes,Â â€œyou can put them at the dining table while you and your partner have a romantic, candle-lit dinner for two.â€
Placing a loveseat in a nontraditional space is another great way to encourage romance. Side-by-side seating for two in the bedroom or by a fireplace, for example, helps keep a coupleâ€™s focus off distractions like the television and household tasks. Accent pillows and light blankets can soften up a sofa, bed or rug by the hearth to make the space feel cozier than usual.
Pay special attention to your bedroom as you reevaluate the atmosphere of your home, Designer Mickey Schwartz of Carriage House Furniture encourages. â€œYour bedroom should be a soothing, relaxing environment that evokes serenity and romance.â€ This can be accomplished by relocating diversions like computers to a less intimate space, such as the family room or office. Create a corner of the room where you can comfortably sit and talk, so that it becomes a natural retreat for you both even if you arenâ€™t turning in for the night. Adds Schwartz, â€œWith the right furnishings and lighting you can create an environment that carries you away to a place of bliss.â€
Use a dimmer switch or turn off the overhead lights, then use lamps to create pools of soft lighting where you sit. By shrinking your space this will automatically create a more intimate feeling. â€œThe same can be said for the mood created by open flame,â€ suggests Merridianâ€™s Merry Dougherty. â€œWhether low burning embers in a fireplace or delicate votive candles that send the light dancing, the warm glow of fire can create mystery and spark all kinds of positive emotions.â€
The goal of reigniting romance can even be accomplished just by adding certain kinds of accessories to your living space. Nothing says â€œBe mineâ€ like a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, and a beautiful vase to display them on the dining table or by your bedside will keep the sweet gesture front-of-mind. Picture frames featuring special moments together make meaningful gifts that can seamlessly integrate into your home decor. Theyâ€™ll serve as constant reminders of your love, assures Gilpin. â€œYouâ€™ll be finding year-round excuses to give a little hug or kiss when you pass your favorite memories in the hallway.â€
While taking a little extra time to make your space more inviting on occasions like Valentineâ€™s Day is a wonderful way to bring you and your partner closer together, itâ€™s also important to remember that expressions of love in the home neednâ€™t be confined to a holiday. â€œYour home should be your sanctuary; your vacation destination without having to leave town,â€ insists Schwartz. â€œBy making thoughtful choices, you can turn your home into a place that helps you relax and enriches your life.â€
Dougherty agrees. â€œIf home is really where the heart is, then home should be a place where romance is kindled.â€
Merridian Home Furnishings is located at 4660 Shelbyville Road. For more information call 502.895.3151 or visit www.merridian.com.
Carriage House Furniture is located at 9801 Linn Station Road. For more information call 502.426.4594 or visit www.carriagehouseint.com.