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10 Ways to Make Your Bedroom More Romantic

A sex therapist shares secrets for creating a sensual sanctuary​

spinner image smiling man enjoys a kiss on the cheek from his spouse
Blue Planet Studio/Getty Images

When it comes to romance in the bedroom, ambiance matters.

​The bedroom is where most couples have sex, so an environment that supports relaxation and sensuality can go a long way toward helping couples get in the mood. Years ago a female client came to my office with her husband of 30 years, concerned she had lost her sex drive. “Do you know what turns you on?” I asked. ​

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“I have no idea,” she replied. “I can tell you what did it for me years ago, but none of that seems to work these days.” ​

Then she mentioned that the couple had recently sold their house after their children left for college. They were now renting, but she didn’t like the bedroom. She wanted a higher bed, a room with velvety, red curtains and a soft, fluffy area rug. She wanted scented candles and her favorite piece of art on the wall across from her bed. ​

But the couple’s lease prohibited candles due to the threat of fire and the pair hadn’t bothered to take their nicer belongings out of storage because they were renting temporarily. The bedroom didn’t have the satisfying ambiance the wife needed to relax or feel sensual. ​

Her husband listened. Later on, while his wife visited a friend for the day, he bought a thick mattress topper to elevate the bed, red curtains, a lambskin rug, and an oil diffuser with varied scents. He took the art out of storage, mounted it on the wall, and surprised her with a whole new bedroom when she returned. ​

They came back to my office the following week, excited about the fun sex they had enjoyed. ​

All this is to say that the setting really does make a difference. Paying attention to details in the bedroom can set the scene for an intimate connection. Here are 10 bedroom ideas that could amp up romance: ​

1. Light your environment — the way you want it 

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Some couples want lots of light in a bedroom to see each other, but not so much that it feels like a surgical operating room. Other couples may want little to no light because they originally learned to have sex in the dark or they like the allure and mystery of not seeing each other. ​

Even if you lean darker, consider candles, lights on dimmer switches, or the use of soft daylight through sheer curtains. Even opening the curtains and enjoying evening streetlights can be a creative way to see each other without feeling in the spotlight. ​

2. Introduce music 

Background music helps some couples get out of their heads and into the mood. Silence is sufficient for lots of people, but for some the lack of noise means it’s easier to get distracted by that mental to-do list. ​

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If you are feeling courageous, start your foreplay with a little bedroom dancing, whether it’s a light sway to slow jazz or a more energizing sexy salsa. ​

3. Incorporate comforting colors

Research has shown that some colors help people relax. Relaxation is key for romance because arousal doesn’t emerge when people feel stressed. Interior design site Houzz noted that relaxing colors for bedrooms include dark blue, icy blue, soft gray, green sage and lavender. If you don’t want a painting project, try finding some throw blankets and accessory pillows in colors that create that relaxed feeling. ​

4. Savor the scents

spinner image Bouquet of flowers on the bedroom nightstand
Pierre-Yves Babelon/Getty Images

Sometimes the right smell is just what you need for romance. Scents are often attached to memories—maybe the aroma of sweet-smelling flowers at your wedding, or of a favorite perfume or cologne. Try oil diffusers, candles or even incense. If an external scent feels like too much, try a massage oil or lotion that has a subtle smell. Applying lotion or oil to your partner can add an exciting element to romantic playtime. ​

5. Fine-tune your textures 

Touch and texture are major components of sensuality. Snuggling naked under a velvety blanket or on a lambskin throw rug can be just the thing to elicit passion. ​

6. Care about your clothing 

Believe it or not, what you’re wearing can make or break a romantic mood. Dressing in slouchy sweatpants or a ripped T-shirt does not always inspire an “I want you” reaction. Some people won’t feel their most confident in old sweats, and confidence is one of the biggest aphrodisiacs around — feeling good about yourself can help both people when it comes to foreplay. ​

Consider wearing clothes you know your spouse likes or that you feel sexy wearing. Or buy a soft robe to cover the naked body underneath. ​

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7. Don’t let screens spoil the mood

My first rule for all couples is to remove screens from the bedroom — they’re a distraction. Unless you watch movies together snuggled up in bed, individual screens and even that large TV mounted on the wall inevitably steal energy, time and desire to be with one another. ​

8. Consider your furniture

If you have space in your bedroom, adding chairs, ottomans, small couches and even a pile of pillows can expand spots for sensual activity beyond the bed. A bit of extra furniture allows for diversity of places and positions during sex, while maintaining the privacy of the bedroom. ​

In addition, think about removing furniture or items that don’t enhance the mood — like exercise equipment or a temporary office setup. Getting those items out of the bedroom can allow more space — mentally and logistically — for romance. ​

9. Be choosy about pictures and art

Making your bedroom a sensual sanctuary means having pictures and art that elicit romance. Art that makes you happy or photos of you and your partner holding hands or doing something that created fond memories might inspire more romance than a large family photo or an ancestor’s portrait. ​

10. Invest in your bed

A couple’s bed is often the centerpiece of the room. It signals care and consideration for a partnership. Making your bedroom a sanctuary may mean coming home to a well-made bed, decorated with intention.​

When choosing a bed, make sure to consider bed height. Find a height that allows for one partner to stand at the edge of the bed while the other person lays on their back. This position allows for both spouses to relax during sex without the pressure or athleticism of having to hold up their bodies. If you are not in the market for a new bed or frame, consider a mattress topper that helps elevate a lower bed. ​​

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