Ah, Valentine’s Day. Loved by florists and restaurateurs, loathed by singletons, and often a source of anxiety to the safely coupled-up. Our advice is to forget a night out in an overcrowded restaurant and instead create a loved-up haven closer to home. Here are five updates you can make in the bedroom that will help it feel more like a dreamy retreat and less like a space for crashing out and storing piles of washing.
Add a four-poster bed
With all the different roles a bedroom can be called on to perform – a storage space, a dressing room, a reading room, even a home office – the sleep aspect can get swamped. Put sleep – and sex – back at the heart of the space by investing in a centrepiece bed. For the ultimate in fairytale romance it’s got to be a four-poster. If this conjures up images of Barbara Cartland then think again. Four posters come in many different styles, from heavily carved historic numbers to pared back dark-wood styles suitable for a luxury Bali retreat. Even better, you can also find versions on the high street. This example, which appeared in House & Garden magazine, is actually from Littlewoods. The metal frame would look cool and contemporary on its own, or you can style up with miles of flouncy fabric for a softer look.
Create a show-stopping headboard
On a similar theme of putting the bed back at the centre of your scheme, adding or creating a headboard will also have a big impact. There are a number of options here. You can invest in a new bed with a gorgeous headboard – we like the super-tall buttoned velvet style which looks luxurious and cosy at the same time. You can also add a headboard to the bed you have already, and have it upholstered in whatever fabric you like. Or, you can think a little more imaginatively and create something between a headboard and a feature wall. This example uses Samphire wallpaper by Farrow & Ball as a visual extension of the existing headboard. It frames the bed and adds visual interest without the need to buy a new bed.
Add a feminine, floral mural
For a full-on boudoir feel, forget about silky sheets and chandeliers. Instead prioritise a mural-style wallpaper that evokes the fin-de-siecle style of a Parisian lady’s apartment. Back in the day wall panels of hand-painted silk would have been the ultimate luxury decor for lying about and swooning next to. Popular motifs included birds, creeping flora, butterflies and even exotic Chinoiserie scenes. Recreate the look with a company like Surface View, whose bespoke mural service lets you select anything from Renaissance paintings to botanical prints for your walls.
Pick a dark colour
Conventional wisdom says that red is a passionate colour to paint your bedroom. We say, go for your lives, but if you want something that won’t make you dream that you’re in a Hammer Horror film from the 1970s, then go for encompassing, intimate black instead. A dark shade of grey, a soft black (like Railings by Farrow & Ball, pictured below) or a deep aubergine shade will all create a cocooning, conspiratorial atmosphere that effectively shuts out the rest of the world.
Add a bath
What could be more romantic than swanning from an indulgent bubble bath a-deux straight to a luxurious bed? We’re not talking about an en-suite here, but a spectacular free-standing bath big enough for two set right in the bedroom itself. A major draw in the best boutique hotels, it is a trend that has moved into the domestic sphere. Just add a side table for balancing two glasses of champagne and floor-length, floaty drapes at the window for total privacy.