Is Your Bedroom Décor Ruining Your Love Life?

Want to rekindle your love life? Start with your bedroom.

Growing up in Africa, Bumi Lauren Kristen lived much of her life outdoors. When she moved to the U.S. to study architecture, she lived in what she called a “poky little apartment with few windows” in San Diego, and felt depressed. “Our surroundings do affect the way we feel and this is something we need to investigate,” she says.

Kristen is now a licensed architect, interior designer and pioneer in design psychology – the scientific study of how our surroundings affect our feelings and behavior.

“Our surroundings affect our relationships, our behavior, our productivity – basically, our entire life,” says Kristen. “If a place makes you feel depressed, that feeling of depression will carry over in the way you relate to your spouse, your children and everyone.”

That’s why she often starts with the bedroom, and offers a webinar. “We spend a third of our lives in our bedrooms – if we’re sleeping enough hours a day,” she says, noting that the way our day starts impacts our entire day. “You know the phrase, ‘he got out on the wrong side of the bed?’ Your bedroom décor can rejuvenate you or stress you out. And it can impact your love life.”

Here are some tips for decorating your bedroom to rekindle your love life:

Color You Mine

Most people leave their walls painted white because people are terrified of committing to a color, she says. “But as we know, white is the most sterile color in nature. Think of ice and snow – sterile, emotionless, cold. Those are not the types of feelings you want in your bedroom.”

What kinds of colors will bring more passion into the bedroom? When you go to a romantic restaurant with your sweetie, the walls may be dark, and you may wear a wine red gown or a little black dress – colors of the night.

“These are the same colors that will recreate the mood of the romantic,” she says, noting that she’s not advocating painting your entire bedroom burgundy, but perhaps an accent wall of a muted color that “creates a sense of warmth.” Darker colors like mocha or light ash absorb light and make a room feel “inward-looking and cozy.”

Light Up My Life

People think they just need to dim the lights to create a romantic mood in the bedroom. “There’s a lot more to mood lighting than dimming the lights,” she says. Back at that romantic restaurant, the overall lighting may be dim, but there’s usually accent lighting at each table so you can see the menu and what you’re eating.

In your bedroom, you can add a small chandelier or recessed ceiling lighting against a darker ceiling. If you can paint the ceiling a muted color, she recommends that too. “You need a little sparkle,” she says – for your lights and your love life.

Create a Sanctuary

The most important thing in the bedroom? Your bed. “Your bed should feel like a mini-place of its own in the bedroom,” Kirsten says. “It should feel like a cocoon.” Many beds look like a “nice piece of furniture,” she says, but are not inviting or cozy.

How do you achieve a cocoon?

First, get a headboard. “It anchors the bed in the room and creates a sense of enclosure,” she says. Try an upholstered one to increase the cocoon sensation. You could make your own canopy by installing a rail and curtain over the bed. In terms of bed décor, “the softer the better,” she says, although you’ll have to negotiate with your partner on how much fluff and frills work for both of you.

Escape the Ordinary

Your bedroom needs to be a refuge from the stresses of the day: the bill-paying, the work calls, the meal-making. “Those stresses and concerns can flow in and keep us from rewinding and relaxing,” Kristen says. If you want your love life to be special, you need to create an “aura of escape and fantasy” in your bedroom, she says.

One way to do this is with “erotic exotica,” or objects from far away, she says. “They have an intrigue that everyday, familiar objects don’t have.” One of her clients saw some shutters in a store that reminded her of the islands, so she installed them as closet doors. Another saw an urn she thought had a “mystique of the Orient,” so they put it in the corner with a plant. Another put up a large print of Fiji. All of them are transported to a different place – a place that makes them feel happy. “A picture of your favorite vacation destination will bring some of that spirit in the bedroom,” she says.

No family pics in the bedroom except of the couple, she notes. “Who feels romantic with your parents and siblings looking on? Only have pictures of you and your partner – subconsciously these things deepen romance.”

Want more tips? Read this blog post to see if your bedtime habits are messing with your relationship.