Listen, if the sexiest thing that happens to you in a day is making it to school pick up on time and/or not getting baby barf down your blouse (ahem), then the last thing you need is a bedroom that’s as sad as Mila Kunis on Oscar nomination announcement day (not that I’ve seen Black Swan, but I have definitely seen the commercials enough). Just in time for Valentine’s Day Breezy Mama turned to three interior decorators: Michelle Workman — who has worked with Jennifer Lopez, John Travolta and more — Pablo Solomon—(yes, a dude!) who has been featured in books, major magazines and newspapers, TV, radio and even a short film that aired on HBO — and Erica Swanson — owner of Erica Swanson Design, who has also been featured in magazines –to get their decorating tips (on a budget of course!) for bringing sexy back to your bedroom.
1. What are the best colors to use when decorating to make a bedroom sexy?
MICHELLE: Dark chocolate or black make a really stunning and sexy space. I’ve also used red in a bedroom to great effect. The idea is to make it feel cozy and close.
PABLO: Women tend to think of sexy in foo-foo colors and patterns. Men tend to think of sexy as sparse in black and dark grays. However, the bottom line is to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere that frankly centers around the bed. You want the eye drawn to the bed and the mind to think sex before sleep. Unless you are designing a bedroom from scratch, you have to pick colors that tie your existing furniture together in a way that radiates romance. And of course, how you make a modern condo bedroom with 20 foot ceilings and floor to ceiling windows sexy is different than turning your farmhouse bedroom sexy. You really need to decide if you want to create rich and elegant sexy with rich dark tones, or do you want slick modern sexy with soothing pastels.
ERICA: It’s all about the fire, baby. Red-hot passion doesn’t spring forth from play-it-safe beiges and, ugh, taupe. If you’re looking to rev the engines, opt for darker and richer colours than your first guess. This is easier than it sounds; choose your fav colour, then bounce down a chip or two to really fan the flames. If your bedroom faces south, you can probably get away with really dark since the bright morning sun will subtly “wash” the colour. If your window(s) face North, consider warmer colours to avoid that mid-afternoon blah look (blue is not your friend my north-facing bedroom readers. Unless, of course, “icy” is how you play).
Once that’s done, make it all about the texture. Soft, cable-y, silky, velvety; whatever turns you on, textures sing by mixing them up. The added layers create a richness that “flat” surfaces don’t have the power to do. It all comes down to contrast; a “want to stay awhile?” kind of vibe. If your linen set is all-one-pattern, mix it up by throwing mis-matched pillows or a throw at the end of the bed. And for the love of God, don’t match the curtains to your bedspread. You are not a Sears catalogue ad.
Alone, the soft gray (the wall colour in the upper-left corner) would read as drab and gloomy. With soft faux-fur and silk pillows, a velvet-y bed cover and wool drapes, the textural clash deepens the palette and creates a dynamic tension that matchy-matchy patterns fail to achieve. And come on, the whole look begs to be touched. Kind of the mood you want for a bedroom, no?
2. What else can you add to a bedroom that screams ROMANCE?
MICHELLE: Soft sexy bedding is a must! Soft sheets and a fur throw will make you want to cuddle up with your other half. The other things that suggest “getting into bed” are bed hangings or curtains. They create a way to “shut out” the world (and kids) and have a private moment.
PABLO: O.K. this may sound a bit Vegas, but mirrors. Not over the bed and solid walls, but rather a big mirror on a stand than can be moved around. Another popular addition and exercise fad is a stripper pole. However, unless you are ready to put on a show for your lover, put the pole in the work out room. A bit more elegant and toned down is to have a beautiful side table with an elegant wine/liquor service in cut glass–much more romantic than popping a top. And of course candles.
ERICA: I have a particular predilection for erotic artwork. Photography, paintings, sculpture ~ it doesn’t really matter. The mood the piece elicits is what’s important. Your bedroom is the most intimate space in your home; you’re not decorating it for anyone else, so why not experiment?
Of course, candles are the “old faithful” when it comes to added accessories. I prefer beeswax candles myself, mostly because the perfume-y scents found in paraffin candles drive me crazy. Whatever colour you choose, be sure to stick with just one. Various colours tend to look a little too “crafty” and busy. And group them – three or five on a dish looks more deliberate than one here, one over there, one over yonder…
If you have a few extra dollars in the budget, why not consider an electric fireplace? They’ve come a long way baby! With the flick of a switch, you can fan the flames (literally) and have the option of controlling heat output, flame effect, and can even set the timer to turn on or off according to your preference. My favourite brand is Dimplex but many companies are producing beautiful flame effects these days.
3. For those on a tight budget, what are some really easy things to purchase to spice up the boudoir?
MICHELLE: A faux fur throw and pillows are a quick and inexpensive way to add some spice.
PABLO: Paint is the absolutely least expensive way to get the most spice for your money–under $50. Then get a new bedset–comforter, sheets, etc.–under $100 on sale. Curtains/drapes can be as inexpensive as $50 a window on up to big money. Sensual art ( for which I am known world wide ) can set the mood–prints $25 on up to real money for originals. A sensual drawing or photo of you can really set the mood. A dressing screen can hide this or that and can be a great tease as you change into your sexy lingerie–under $100 on up. Lamps for setting the mood–under $50 on up.
What? Oh, decorating. Right.
Consider updating your sheet set. Old, nubbly, seen-the-inside-of-the-washing-machine-one-too-many-times sets does not a sexy vibe make. Respect your space the same way you respect your partner. If you’re “making do”, you’re essentially limping along, and that won’t do anything for the overall mood. A little effort in the bedroom equals a revved up intimate life (in more ways than one!).
Perhaps most important of all, invest in a dimmer for your lighting. If you can, avoid using the overhead fixture. Overhead lighting is bad, bad, bad (oh, hello bags under your eyes) so if you’re handy, rig the dimmer to your bedside table lamps. Not only will this make things easy once you’re, you know, IN bed, but the softened effect will be less “whoa-my-god-where-did-that-wrinkle-come-from” and more “oh-hello-you-sexy-thing-you”.
4. What are some serious DON’Ts that we moms need to remove from our rooms asap?
MICHELLE: Anything too frilly or girly. Again, things that have lots of frills or are overly ornate don’t communicate romance to a man. They just comes across as femme. Having a dark, streamlined room allows you to add in a a very few ornate items that keep the balance between the sexes.
PABLO: Get rid of the clutter. A messy room is not sexy to anyone other than a hippie holdover smoking dope or an oblivious husband watching football on TV over your shoulder. Remove the family photos. Put those in the hall or family room–better still keep them in an album. Replace them with sensual art. Any clothes hanging anywhere in the room should be sexy–not clothes waiting to be ironed. The most important thing to remove is the “mom” mindset. For sensual bedroom time, be a siren.
ERICA: Hello?! Kid stuff. Kid stuff does NOT belong in an adult bedroom. Just as it’s important for kids to have their own privacy and space, the same is true for parents. Rainy-afternoon dress-up marathons aside, your bedroom should not be an alternate play area for the kids. It’s a play area for you.
Also, office accoutrement does not belong in a bedroom. If you’re begging for a place to do your paperwork, I’d rather see you stuck in a basement closet than a corner of your bedroom. There is nothing less sexy or mood-busting than mentally checking off your to-do list or reminding yourself of your yearly tax filing while you’re getting busy.
5. Any other tips or advice?
MICHELLE: Remember, the idea is to make it sexy, not girly – always balance the male/female in the space and use fabrics that invite you to touch them, like fur, silk and the softest cottons.
PABLO: If you have a spare bedroom, make it the romantic bedroom. My wife and I have done this for years. We sleep in one bedroom, but have our romantic time in another–very sexy.
ERICA: Clutter is not your friend. If you’re exhausted after a busy day of work, the extra two minutes it takes to hang up your suit (or dress, or pants-suit, or whatevs) will pay you back tenfold when you finally stumble up to bed.
And do as your mother told you: make your bed every morning.
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ABOUT THE EXPERTS:
About Michelle Workman:
As one of Hollywood’s most sought-after interior designers, Michelle Workman possesses a client roster that includes such esteemed and influential individuals as Jennifer Lopez, John Travolta & Kelly Preston, Kirstie Alley and Leah Remini.
Michelle’s engaging personality, calming demeanor and exquisite attention-to-detail continually instill confidence in her clients as she brings into being for them their one-of-a-kind dream home. These qualities, along with Michelle’s professional discretion, have made her one of the top interior-designing choices for celebrities and other high-profile individuals alike.
About Pablo Solomon:
Pablo Solomon is an internationally recognized artist and designer known primarily for his drawings and sculptures of dancers as well as for his soothing and environmentally friendly designs. His work can be seen at www.pablosolomon.com. Pablo has been featured in books, magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and film. Currently he lives and works with his wife Beverly on their historic 1856 ranch north of Austin, Texas. Before acting as Pablo’s full time muse and business manager, Beverly was a model and then in sales and marketing for Diane von Furstenberg, Revlon and Ralph Lauren.
About Erica Swanson:
Erica Swanson is an Interior Designer. She calls herself a one-woman distillation factory. She refines, reflects, and strips down the Style File echoing inside your head. Your aesthetic anthem. Your visual theme song. The one you hear, loud and clear, but can’t articulate – let alone translate into textiles, ceiling trim and furniture.
She does that with her Design at Your Doorstep virtual design services. She helps you get what’s in your head, into your space, all at a fraction of the cost of working with a designer in the traditional way. It’s kind of like having your cake and eating it too. Naughty, yes? Because it isn’t about trends or this year’s hottest paint colour or what the Jones’ are doing. It’s about You.
You can find Erica waxing poetic about design, music and life over at Erica Swanson Design.