HOME & GARDEN
JACQUELYN CARBERRY / JCARBERRY@STARBULLETIN.COM
Bedroom displays combine rich leather and satiny fabric for a decadent look at the newly opened Honolulu Design Center store, 1250 Kapiolani Blvd.
Valentine's Day has come and gone, but how do you keep the romantic flame going long after the rose petals have curled up and the candles have burned down?
By designing a permanent space that is about you and yours together, said Dian Cleve of the architectural and interior design firm Cleve & Levin.
Be indulgent and think of every day as Valentine's Day. Add a sense of romance with a bedroom that serves as a fairy tale-like retreat. Creating a sanctuary in which "romance" is the first word that comes to mind ensures that the spark that initially drew a twosome together is kept alive and intact, said Cleve.
"That love connection is at the center of most people's lives," said Cleve. "It's all about renewal. It's that romantic connection that you build a life upon and is the foundation for home and family. It's the center of most people's lives. Couples need a space for romance to happen."
Emphasize the word "couple" in your vocabulary, said the interior designer. Be selfish and claim your bedroom as your own territory, not for use as another family room. Remove all clutter, such as kids' toys, books and magazines, and focus on matching the room of your dreams to your idea of romance -- whether that means a French country scheme with checks, stripes and floral patterns in blues and creams, or a less-is-more Asian-inspired bedroom with dark, lacquered pieces and white walls.
A romantic bedroom can be achieved through lighting and color, and in turn provide calmness by serving as a retreat. Such a bedroom will replenish not only the romantic spark but rejuvenate the spirit. "Eliminate all distractions," said Cleve. "Just have an arrangement of a bed, nightstands, lamps and seating arrangements. Don't use it as a room to pay bills, read or watch TV."
Cleve suggests soft colors and textured cloths. "Things that are textured are (associated) with being warm and soft. It makes you want to sink into it." Make a bedroom feel cozy with a barrage of pillows and comfortable bedding. For a feminine fantasy, indulge in floral-printed pastel bedding and canopies with lacy organza or tuile.
Consider the shape of furniture as well. "French and Italian furniture have curvy shapes," said interior designer Cindi White. "A lot of people think of old-world or European-style when they think of romantic (escapes). Europe is a romantic place in general."
This need not be an expensive undertaking. Concentrate on accessories if budget is an issue or a room overhaul is out of the question.
White suggested adding small touches such as sparkly toss pillows or silver-framed photos of memorable moments from your history as a couple. "Silver tends to sparkle in the light, enhancing the feel of the bedroom."
Or play to the senses by using scented linen sprays or sachets, rich-colored comforters and luxurious sheets with a high thread count. Mix touchable fabrics of silk, lace and velvet.
"Creating a romantic bedroom from scratch is a little different as you start with that in mind and then choose the bedding, furnishings and accessories accordingly," said White. "But variable lighting controls, such as dimmer switches for bedside lamps and a music sound system are key to setting a romantic tone."
Creating a sanctuary that separates the bedroom from other areas of the house can also provide a spiritual retreat. A trendy European-style master suite is one possibility. Indulge in spaciousness, if it's an option, by storing nonessential functional things in the dressing room or somewhere else, said Cleve.
"We all have busy, hectic lifestyles. The idea of a retreat is very important. We need to rekindle and nourish romance."