Happy Valentine’s Day! Rather than talking about decorating your home for Valentine’s Day (because seriously, who has time to decorate for every holiday?), I wanted to bring you something that could create a longer-lasting change in your home.

bed with white headboard and pillows

If your house is anything like mine, the master bedroom is the dumping ground. Laundry’s dry? Throw it on the bed to be folded (and then in the basket when that doesn’t happen). Undressing after a long day at work? Drop your clothes on the floor, dear, we’ll pick them up later. Guests coming over? Quick- put all the clutter that could make it seem like we live here in the bedroom! And shut the door tight!!

Life gets busy, and the master bedroom is often the one place in the house that’s not truly an oasis. And it should be! Romance is about escape- getting away from the mundane tasks, conversations, and to-dos that fill our repetitive lives (yikes, that was a little dark). Your bedroom should be a refuge- whether for relaxing with a book after a long day, for getting some alone time, or for adult activities.

For the ultimate day of romance, I pulled together 3 easy ways to make your bedroom feel like more of an oasis.

STEP 1: CLEAN- My least favorite, but undoubtedly the most effective method of making your bedroom a more enjoyable space. All those gorgeous magazine photos that you love- you know what’s the difference between that house and yours? It’s spotless. Not your fault, you live in your house and have a job to work, bills to pay, dinner to cook, and a million things to do other than clean the one bedroom that only you ever see. But the master bedroom is not the place for the household’s mess. I’ll say it again- the master bedroom is *your* space (not your kids’) and is to be used as a dumping ground in emergency cases ONLY.

pink and gray modern romantic bedroom

Pick up the dirty laundry on the floor and put it in the hamper. Fold the clean laundry that has been waiting in that basket for a few days…or weeks. Move the dry cleaning from the treadmill to the closet. And put some clean sheets on the bed! You’re an adult. You know how to clean. If this is all you can get done, that’s perfectly fine. You’ll be surprised at the difference it can make to improve the mood of your bedroom.

On a side note:

If you need help coming up with systems to keep the junk out of your bedroom, A Slob Comes Clean has so many ideas that have changed my cleaning life for the better. In my opinion, her system is more effective than Marie Kondo’s. If you struggle with keeping your house tidy, organizing, or just plain being a slob, go read her blog and her books.

STEP 2: SOFTEN THE LIGHTING- Nothing cramps a good mood like harsh LEDs. Fancy-pants romantic restaurants have it right. Soft lighting creates a mood like none other. So if you really want to make a difference in how romantic your bedroom is, upgrade your lighting.

traditional bedroom with chandelier and tufted headboard

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of changing a light fixture, you can always buy low-wattage bulbs and switch out the old ones. Or install a dimmer switch so you can have bright lighting when you get dressed in the morning and mood lighting at night.

Add lamps if you don’t already have them. Hobby Lobby carries tiny lamps (seriously, like 4” wide) that will fit on any bedside table. Target and HomeGoods have lamps that are affordable and stylish. A trend that I have been loving lately is installing reading lamps directly on the wall on each side of the bed (image below). And, of course, candles are the ultimate king of mood lighting. Whichever way you decide to go, softening the lighting in your bedroom is sure to make a big impact on how romantic your bedroom feels.

casual beachy bedroom with reading lamp

STEP 3. SOFT TEXTILES- A key factor in the luxurious look of magazine bedrooms is the fabrics. Look at the curtains, the sheets, the duvet and all the pillows in any of these rooms- that’s what makes the bed whisper “nap in me.”

comfy boho bed with gray bedding

Curtains: These are a must for adding softness and warmth to a room. If you don’t already have curtains, go get some, even if they’re cheap ones. Target and World Market have good options. HomeGoods works if you have a narrow window. You typically won’t find matching curtains there (though I have been lucky once or twice), so the most you’ll normally get is a set of 2 panels. I hate to break it to you, but large bay windows need more fabric than 1 panel on each side. (steps off soapbox)

Sheets: There was a point in time where I didn’t really care about the quality of my sheets. Past tense. One day a couple of years ago, I splurged on 1000 thread count sheets. It’s like what they say about upgrading to first class on an airplane. You can’t go back. Every other bed just feels cheap. The good news is that I get to sleep in my first-class sheets every night, so I get more long-term value out of them than I would a first-class flight. They’re magical and have held up exceptionally well. I expect them to last for several more years before we have to replace them. These are the sheets I bought. They’re a good deal if you use Bed Bath & Beyond’s 20% off coupon. Go get yourself some.

(Disclaimer: I have never actually been in first-class on a plane, so this is all hypothetically speaking. If someone wants to buy me a first-class ticket to Hawaii, I would be more than happy to do a scientific experiment on whether new sheets or a flight is a better thing to upgrade. I’m still betting on new sheets though.)

Duvet: Yeah, I know, a duvet is the last thing on your list of “Stuff I Need to Buy for the House.” Mine is too. But take a good look at your comforter. Take a picture and look at it on your phone (I’ve found this is a good way to determine how old something really looks). If it’s more than 5 years old, it’s probably looking pretty rough. If it’s more than 10 years old, it needs to move to the top of your list pronto. This is a great way to start a mini-makeover on your bedroom.

coastal navy bedroom with white bedding

Pillows: I know, decorators always want to add pillows that just get in the way. I hate taking pillows on and off the bed as much as the next person does. But if you want your home to look like a magazine, you’ll need a minimum of 7 pillows. If you want a plush looking bed, you’ll need 5 (image above- this is what I try to aim for). If you don’t care at all, 2 or 3 pillows is fine…but if you don’t care, why are you even here reading this?

Rug: If you have hard floors, a rug will bring warmth and softness to your floors. It’s also a good way to layer even more textiles into your bedroom. More layers=more luxury. Make sure you get a rug that’s appropriately sized. The rug in the photo below is a great size for this space.

Hale Navy bedroom

Throw blanket: Almost all of these pictures have a throw blanket casually draped across one corner of the bed. Want your room to look like a magazine? Get yourself a coordinating throw.

Make your bed: Every. Day. Yeah, it’s a little bit of a hassle, but it honestly doesn’t take that long. Really, time yourself the next time you make your bed. (That’s a free tip from A Slob Comes Clean.) It’s even easier to make your bed if your room is clutter-free…like it should be, since I know you already did step 1. And doesn’t it feel so good getting in a bed that’s already made at the end of the day?

The bed is the centerpiece of every bedroom. If you want your room to look put-together and to feel romantic, you must make the bed.

BONUS STEP: Add a scented candle and music for an officially licensed Valentine’s Day Romantic Bedroom™.

Extra bonus points if you create a signature scent for your bedroom- pick a scent you love and only use it in your bedroom, nowhere else in the house. That will help the romantic feeling of your new and improved bedroom last longer than just one night.

hygge cinnamon vanilla candle

My recommendations:

Chesapeake Bay “Serenity + Calm” lavender thyme candle from Target– this candle smells very similar to my favorite (and unfortunately discontinued) candle from Bath & Body Works- the Sleep: lavender + chamomile scent.

“Easy Listening Radio” on Pandora for the best romantic playlist.

Go clean your bedroom now.

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