Monday, May 20

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Experts advise how to bring sensuous romance into your home for Valentine’s Day

Romance is all about the senses – sight, sound, touch, and smell – so if you have someone to woo this Valentine’s Day, keep this in mind as you transform your home into a place of sweet seduction. 

Soft fabrics, plump pillows, fluffy towels, cosy seats, rosy hues, flowers, soft lighting and candles, fragrance. All these are the elements of romantic charm in a home, creating the perfect setting for something special to happen between two people. 

An inexpensive way to sprinkle your space with love magic is to use embellishments – dainty vases or bowls, a small sculpture, candelabra, crystals or beading strung from chandeliers and lampshades. In the bedroom it’s all about luxury and comfort – a sumptuous bed, decorative pillows, an eye-catching throw. 

The bathroom can be turned into a home spa with soft music, scented candles, an upholstered chair with rolled up white towels and gowns ready and waiting to serve. 

If you’re hosting a dinner for two, nothing bewitches more effectively than candlelight, or fairy lights in the garden. 

Here are affordable and doable ideas, courtesy of interior designers Liza Watermeyer, Cairey BaxterBruce and Dani Abrams: 

Create a love cove 

If you can’t be under the stars for Valentine’s Day, create your own outdoors indoors, suggests BaxterBruce. “Suspend translucent drapery and fairy lights for a starry night atmosphere. Place this above your bed or create a tent-like structure in the lounge, combined with a mattress and pillows for a ‘love-cove’ effect.” 

Then decorate a coffee table with small bright candles in glass jars and serve spicy snacks to recreate a Moroccan-style evening under the stars, she says. 

“Alternatively, find some interesting branches in the garden, suspend them from the ceiling above your dining room table, then drape them with fairy lights to create your own starry-starry night. Dress your table in an Out of Africa theme for a romantic evening in the bush.” 

Fragrance is an important aspect of a sensual experience so burn scents like jasmine, vanilla or sandalwood. Picture: Tile Africa

A garden dinner date 

Garden dinner dates, in a quiet spot in your own garden, are just as about as romantic as you can get. 

“Lead your loved-one down a softly lit pathway by lining the route to your table with candles in glass jars, or a string of fairy lights or little solar lights. Add some ridiculously cliché, but romantic, rose petals to your path and watch the object of your affections become putty in your hands,” suggests Baxter-Bruce. 

Another great idea for a romantic garden set up is to create your own drive-in setting. “Place a mattress with throws and pillows in the back of your car/ bakkie and set up a projector on the roof to project your favourite romantic movie on a clear wall of your home. 

“Add indulgent snacks and a crisp bottle of bubbly to create a memorable evening,” she says. If it’s dinner for two in your regular outdoor spot, use rustic rope to hang glowing, flowery lanterns from tree branches, suggests Abrams. Bedroom This is where the real seduction unfolds, so in this space it’s all about soft furnishings. 

Transform your garden or outdoor entertainment area into a romantic setting for a dinner for two. Picture: Annie Spratt

“Curtains should be thick and substantial, dropping all the way to the floor for an added sense of richness. Scatter cushions, rugs and throws should be of a variety of rich fabrics, from wool to velvet to chenille. You want things to be irresistibly inviting to the touch,” says Watermeyer. 

A high quality, pocket-spring mattress is a must, covered with luxurious linen to give you that five-star hotel feeling. Choose a thread-count of at least 250 for your sheets, duvet cover and pillow casings. 

Try to go with white because, according to one popular hotel group which tested different linen colours, an all-white ensemble gave an alluring “halo” effect to a room. 

Add to this a beautiful headboard or even a four-poster bed for a “touch of antique romantic glamour that will guarantee you spend more time under the covers”, says Watermeyer. 

Bathroom 

An extraordinary bathroom is a pleasure to use, and adds romance and intimacy to the bedroom environment. 

“Exquisite tiles, a huge bathtub, the finest taps and fittings, mood lighting, fragrances are all inviting. With the right approach to bathroom décor, the bathroom can be every bit as intimate and romantic as the bedroom itself,” says Watermeyer. 

Warm colour palettes and interesting lighting in the bathroom are naturally romantic. “Take a different view of lighting in your bathroom. A small hanging chandelier or pendant light warms a bathroom beautifully while creating a point of interest,” suggests Danielle Sterling from Sterlings bathroom store. 

Finally, light scented candles around the bath, have fluffy white towels ready and you’re in the home run. Abrams says: “In solidarity with Capetonians, there will be no rose petal-filled baths this year, but a rose petal-filled basin will work almost as well.” 

Romance your bathroom with soft music, mood lighting, fluffy white towels and gowns. Picture: Bathroom Bizarre

More tips 

● Mood lighting: Candles are a winner for setting the mood. Recessed lighting and beautiful lamps add a warm glow without overwhelming the eye, and a dimmer switch is a plus. “Consider using slightly weaker light bulbs in the bedroom, and those with a yellow glow rather than stark white. This will add a sense of warmth, romance and intimacy,” says Watermeyer. 

● Uncommon scents: Fragrance is a vital part of the sensual experience. “Consider rose, tuberose, jasmine, vanilla, sandalwood and cedar wood,” suggests Watermeyer. 

● Colours: Relaxation is key, so keep the colours peaceful. “Go with natural colours such as neutrals, greys, greens and pastels, avoiding darker variations. Lighter colours lend to a feeling of space and a more relaxed atmosphere,” says Baxter-Bruce. 

● Balloons: Balloons are always fun and are affordable. “Hang sentimental photos on the ends of the ribbons to make them meaningful. Maybe don’t do the helium voice until you’re sure of each other,” says Abrams. 

● Say “I love you”: “Nothing says ‘I love you’, quite like saying ‘I love you’ in sticky post-its on the mirror. Let them know why you think they’re number 1,” says Abrams.

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