I know it’s not just me who’s glad to be leaving January behind. As months go it doesn’t have a huge amount to recommend it (interminable darkness, restricted consumption of chocolate and wine being just a couple of its less endearing features). But in my case it’s also been characterised by a renewed and vigorous focus on my home goals.
The break in between Christmas and New Year allowed plenty time for hatching of home plans. As soon as the Houses Husband and I had stepped away from the Prosecco long enough to drive to the hardware shop, we launched full throttle into all of the home projects which had been on hold during December (while we were fully occupied preparing for Christmas with hair-on-fire frenzy)
Don’t get me wrong; progressing decor plans makes me very happy. The Houses Husband, less so. But, inevitably he gets dragged into the work, simply because I need him. He’s more practical than me, and more careful. And much, much, taller. He’s a victim of his genetic heritage as well as his previous DIY successes.
However, despite his limited enthusiasm, he is generous with his time and effort. I suspect this is less because he cares about having, for example, a tea-stained ombré feather lamp shade, but more because he cares about having a happy wife.
But a month spent bashing on with DIY each weekend has taken its toll – on him and our marriage. Grumpiness has crept in. With fortuitous timing, the approach of Valentine’s Day offers a good prompt to inject some feel good vibes and romance back into our lives.
Not all strategies to reinvigorate a love life are appropriate for sharing on an interiors blog. However, it occurred to me that rather than being a source of stress, styling our homes offers some opportunities to enhance the quality of our relationship. And all of them involve a spot of interiors shopping. You’re welcome.
Strategy 1: Sit together
It’s established scientific fact that touch plays a critical role in relationships of all types. The chemical effect on the body of a cuddle releases the so-called “love drug” – oxytocin – which reduces stress and creates feelings of bonding and trust; useful ingredients for successful, loving relationships.
But poor furniture choices can lead to couples routinely separating themselves, one on the sofa, one on the armchair, missing out on that valuable opportunity to benefit from the magic of touch.
Two people on a sofa can feel oddly formal, unless one of you is reclining, which risks disagreement over whose turn it is. But on a love seat there’s no option but to get up close and personal, snuggled into a big comforting hug of a seat.
As an additional bonus, since a love seat isn’t as space-defining as a sofa, nor as expensive, you have licence to be bold.
I was delighted to find when researching this post that John Lewis are now stocking an exclusive range of Loaf sofas, opening up the fabulously stylish and distinctive Loaf range to a much wider audience.
Could anyone resist the Doodler Snuggler (this one in clever velvet liquorice)?
And just because this is a Valentine’s themed post, I’m also treating you to Crumble Snuggler in a gorgeous dusty rose. Good enough to eat. (Are sofas gluten free?)
For a very budget friendly but still sumptuously stylish option, the Garston from Made.com is hard to beat.
Strategy 2: Drink together
More scientific justification for new furniture purchases and one of my all time favourite scientific facts: Recent research shows that couples who drink together, stay together (sort of, but let’s not get bogged down in the detail).
The anecdotal evidence in my home is persuasive. It’s much harder to be grumpy after your second glass of Marlborough, even if you are still hanging pictures on the wall.
I imagine though to gain best effect, the “concordant consumption” needs to be in the context of spending quality relaxation time together. If you have the chance to nip out to the hippest cocktail joint in town, ideal. If you have kids though, or just an insurmountable attachment to your sofa, then drinking at home is the answer.
What better way to make an occasion of staying in than by installing in your home a beautifully stocked and impeccably styled bar cart. You can recline together (on your fabulous new love seat) and need interrupt your loving embrace only long enough to stretch over for a top up. Couple heaven.
There can hardly be a more sophisticated bar cart than this West Elm one, also available at John Lewis.
For a different though equally glamorous vibe, how about this Miafleur drinks trolley?
Strategy 3: Enjoy Memories Together
To sustain a successful relationship it’s important regularly to spend time remembering happy events you’ve shared. This is all very well in theory but it can be difficult to maintain that perspective in the hurly burly of busy family life. But displaying some (stylish) visual cues around your home would surely help.
If you’re lucky enough to have wedding photos you’d be happy to have on your wall, or other couple-related shots, consider using them to create some wall art. Free photo editing software (I like Pixlr) means you can get a bit artsy, applying soft focus or colour filtering effects. To avoid the cheese factor, pick shots that capture a happy memory without necessarily having the two of you mugging directly into the lens. Here’s the wedding pic of the Houses Husband and me (10 years ago this summer!!) which I’m planning to enlarge to make some art for our bedroom.
(I have resisted the temptation to photoshop my bum.)
Typography art is another option for promoting good relationship memories. Choosing a song lyric or quote that has a shared meaning could make a fabulous piece of calligraphy or typography art. Check out New Icons of Print for some fabulous inspo and if the muse doesn’t strike, their Valentine’s themed neon print (fully customisable) would make a lovely print – or even a card which you can frame up after. Now that’s a seriously good idea.
Are you planning a romantic night in for Valentines? How will you dial up the romantic vibes in your home?
Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links, but as always, I only feature products I love and think you will too.