Romantic decor

Feb 5, 2009 at 1:54 p.m. ET

Wouldn't it be nice to have that Valentine's Day mood 365 days a year and not just on February 14th? Well, you can with romantic decor!

Bedroom with Fireplace

Ahhhh. The romance of Valentine's Day! Cupid shoots his little arrow and our hearts are all a-flutter. Wouldn't it be nice if we could keep that kind of romance in our lives all year round? Why not! Our environment sets the tone for our mood, so why not manipulate our environment to create a romantic mood all year long. Decorating with romantic decor can make the difference.

It makes SENSE!

Our senses are the conduits to our brain and moods, so it makes sense to take advantage of our five senses when planning our romantic decor. Use room accents that stimulate eyes, ears, nose, touch and even taste buds into romance!

Be an artist!

Look at your room as a blank canvas awaiting your romantic, artistic touch. Different shades of the same color can give a tender, embracing feel to a room. Whatever color palette you choose, be sure to use warm, soft paint colors that whisper rather than shout. Sprinkle soft fabrics and curves into your romantic decor. You wouldn 't want love to have rough edges. Soft, flowing curtains on windows or a canopy bed are an inviting, romantic touch. Throw a variety of soft pillows covered in fabrics like chenille and satin onto the bed or sofa. One can never have too many pillows when it comes to romance. A round table draped with a floor length tablecloth and placed in a corner of the room always adds to the mood. Top it off with a vase of fresh flowers and a dimly lit lamp or candle. Plants bring the outdoors in and paint life into a room. One really large live plant and two or three others that are a bit smaller make a presence in the room and work far better than millions of little potted plants scattered onto every flat surface. What? You murder live plants? No worry, since today 's quality silk plants are realistic enough to fool anyone.

Flower me with love!

I'll bet even cavewomen gathered up handfuls of wildflowers for brightening up their caves. Flowers have forever been symbols of love. They add beauty and romance to any environment. Place containers of fresh cut flowers around the house, anytime, anywhere! There doesn 't need to be an occasion. Many good quality silk flowers and arrangements are gorgeous and can also do the trick... but nothing beats fresh flowers.

You light up my life!

Lighting is a real romance manipulator. Flickering candles get the A+ for lighting atmosphere! Scatter them around the room, but be sure to strike a match and use them! Too many people let their candles collect dust. Hello! That 's not how they do their magic! Do you have a fireplace? There 's nothing more romantic than a crackling fire to warm the heart. Sweep out the ashes come summer and fill your fireplace with candles of various heights to set aglow. You 'll still get the fireplace "charm" and atmosphere without the heat of winter logs. Tone down those blaring room lights with a dimmer. Better yet, pass on the overhead lighting and set a lovely lamp or two out on a table or piece of furniture. A three-way bulb on the low setting is best for a romantic mood.

Reflecting on LOVE

A mirror or two multiplies the romantic decor you already have going on in the room. Your flickering candles, flowers, soft, and flowing curtains will appear over and over again in the reflections. The mirrors needn't be large; small ones can also do the job. If possible select mirrors with edges that are rounded and soft rather than ones with sharp, hard corners.

Making it personal!

Your room should include those special photos and items that reflect who you are and what you enjoy in life. Photos of fun times with loved ones (just NOT old boyfriends) are heartwarming. Find places to display personal memories like a couple of your favorite books or that conch shell you found beachcombing on your wonderful Caribbean vacation. Remember, less is more! Too much will turn into clutter.

Theme rooms

Working with a theme can not only be fun, but adds in another romantic dynamic. Tropical, jungle, or cowboys are examples of some theme possibilities. "There is a certain amount of romance for the cowboy, who was always the good guy with high morals and values," says Valerie Watters of Valerie's Furniture and Accents in Cave Creek, Arizona. "It seems everybody wants to be a cowboy, even if they can only bring a little of that spirit into their room."

Finishing touches

You will need a few finishing touches to your romantic decor. Tickle the sense of smell with a delicate potpourri. Add soft background music to replace the white noise (refrigerator hum, a/c motor) with subtle romance. Finally, always have your heart-shaped candy dish filled with good, rich chocolate!

Scrub-a-dub-dub. Two lovers in a tub!

Continue these romantic decor ideas into your private bathroom for an inviting romantic environment that begs to be used. Make sure the towels are thick, soft and luxurious. Have soaps and bath oils with subtle fragrances.

Married with children?

Barbie Dolls, Legos and Tonka trucks can stifle a romantic atmosphere. You may want to limit your "love nest" to the bedroom and bath you share with your spouse or partner. This came become your special, romantic hideaway away from kids.

Single? Married with no children?

Bedroom - Living Room - Bathroom, You name it. Your entire living environment can shout romance! Lucky you.

Clutter and mess KILL romance!

Learn to be neat. Clutter and mess will kill the romantic atmosphere that your romantic decor strives to create. A year round romantic love nest should always feel neat, clean, relaxed and subtly sexy.

Don't bite off more than you can chew

All these suggestions may seem overwhelming to your time and your budget. Fear not! Just start small. Cleaning up the clutter and starting with some candles, flowers, and low lighting will put you "in the mood" to a romantic decor attitude that can last all year long.

More articles about romantic decorating:

How to create a sexy bedroom
Creating a sensual Valentine's retreat
The power of paint: Picking your palette

How to create a romantic bedroom