Turn your home into a romantic retreat
Celebrate Valentine’s Day by lavishing a little TLC on your home. Gabrielle Fagan finds out how to feather your love nest.
With Valentine's Day looming, it's the perfect time to show your rooms some love. What could be more heart-warming than colourful red accessories, curvy furniture and sensual textures — all vital ingredients for a sanctuary where you can woo in style or simply snuggle as a singleton.
“Valentine's Day is an ideal occasion to experiment with some new touches, whether it's heart-shaped cushions, a romantic framed poster, or some tongue-in-cheek witty pieces that make you smile and hint at your romantic intentions,” says interior designer Danielle Proud.
She believes we should all have more fun with our homes and dress them for all sorts of occasions, not just February 14, in the same way that we ‘dress up' outfits to suit a celebration.
“People are falling in love with their homes all over again,” she says. “Tougher financial times mean we're staying in more and trying to create indulgent, beautiful spaces where we can retreat and entertain.
“But I still think people underestimate what they can do easily and cheaply to change or heighten atmosphere.
“It can be as small as changing the shade on a lamp to make the light warmer and more intimate. Maybe revamping cushions with decorative trim, or using lengths of deep red velvet for a luxury throw on a chair. Those little details can have a big effect.”
She's just treated her home to two contemporary designer sofas in shades of tomato red, orange and pink (eBay bargains), has striking red wallpaper in the dining area, and frequently rings the changes with vibrant accessories.
“Scent for rooms is key to conjuring mood and is the first thing people notice when they enter,” says Proud, who's teamed up with Ambipur 3volution, whose home fragrance range has two new scents, Heavenly Flowers and Seaside Breezes.
“A scent can stir basic emotions and feelings, and memories can be recalled instantly from a simple whiff of perfume. Choose a room fragrance carefully, as it will set the scene for the occasion.”
Try these romantic treats for rooms, so you can flirt with small changes or indulge a full-on decor passion ...
LET IT GLOW Soft oft lighting's key for a romantic setting, and the beautifully curved Kaiser Idell 6631 Luxus table lamp in ruby, £602, from The Conran Shop, oozes style too.
CHEAP CHIC If you're counting the pennies, simply add a colour-changing Magic Love Candle, £8.99, from mail order company For Her From You.
BLOOMING LOVELY A ceiling pendant Miuu Lamp by Spanish designer Arturo Alvarez, from £549, comes with a shade decorated with deep red roses and is available on request from LSE Lighting.
BLUSH PINK Drink a toast to your partnership with champagne glasses decorated with hearts that turn pink when full of liquid, £15 for a pair, from Marks & Spencer.
LOVE SEAT Flock Bubble Chair in red, illuminated with LED lights, £4,740, made to order on request from designer Ben Rousseau.
LOVE-LY INVESTMENT Win compliments, if not hearts, with this statement seat. Red button back Megatizzi high bench by Creazioni, from £3,699, from Anna Casa.
FOOD OF LOVE Sagaform heart shaped stoneware bowl with bamboo ladle, £32.50, from Cloudberry Living.
BEAUTIFUL BOUDOIR Romance double duvet cover set, trimmed with roses, from £27, and a deep pink Romance throw £65, all from Isme.
STAR TURN The Star by Julien Macdonald range, from £28, includes ultra-feminine pink Antoinette bed linen, embellished with a profusion of pink roses.
SPELL OUT DESIRE Make your intentions clear, and help a good cause, with a Heart & Birds Cushion, £95. It's embroidered with two love birds holding the message ‘With Your Kiss My Life Begins'. The tapestry is hand-sewn by prisoners who participate in workshops in UK prisons. Designs are available to order from the charity Fine Cell Work.
ONLY CONNECT Avoid agonising waits by the telephone by displaying a cushion saying ‘Call Me', £19.95 from Dwell (available from February 13), so he gets the message.
LOVE BOX Keep special mementoes and cards safe by popping them into a Recycled Paper Heart Box, £10, from Traidcraft.
BREAKFAST IN BED Spoil a lover with tea served in a china Heart Teapot, £8, from John Lewis.
HEARTFELT TOUCHES Set the scene with a wooden candleholder spelling the word LOVE, £36; an appliqued heart cushion, £19.99; a large red metal heart, £7.50, and covered hangers with a heart motif, £16.99 for a set of two, all from Retreat Home.
MUG FOR LOVE The iconic ‘Keep Calm' phrase has been romantically tweaked to appeal to lovers with a red and white ‘Keep Calm And Kiss Me' mug — and you can upload a photo to personalise it, £9.99, from Getting Personal.