Our bedrooms are the epicentre of our romantic relationships. Certain aspects can make or break the romantic mood within a room. But what is the psychology behind romance and why do we crave romantic love?

The first stage of falling in love is lust. The kind of attraction that makes our legs go weak, our hearts pound and suppresses our appetites. Chemical substances like testosterone, serotonin and dopamine flood our brains, making us energised and excited. Dopamine especially affects the senses – making us flush a little more from arousal as well as increasing sexual desire and heightening our mood. Just thinking about that special person makes us feel happier. It’s pleasurable and in its own way addictive –no wonder we crave those feelings.

The release of serotonin gives us a rose-tinted view of our lover and we often believe that we have a closer or more special connection than any other couple. It’s this ‘love-blindness’ that makes us want to stay together and enter the next stage of love, attachment.

During the attachment phase, we release oxytocin, a powerful chemical known as the ‘cuddle hormone’. Oxytocin deepens the feelings of attachment and if mutual, leads to that heady state that we all crave –falling in love.

Image of romantic bedroom flowers valentine's day

What makes a romantic bedroom?

1. Let’s start with your bed.

It needs to look as inviting as possible. Big plumped up pillows and crisp, freshly laundered sheets all beautifully made up, are key to making your bed look appealing. Think 5-star hotel!

2. It’s also important to clear away any clutter.

You want to make your bed the main feature and clutter will simply distract. If you’re inclined to use your bedroom as a ‘floordrobe’, now is the time for a serious tidy up.

3.Creating romantic lighting in your bedroom can make all the difference.

Make sure that your overhead light is switched off –it can be unflattering as well as just too bright. Either use soft glow bedside lamps or groups of tea lights in pretty safe holders to create the mood. If they are lightly scented, so much the better. White is a much more romantic colour than red for lighting, which has been shown to cause stress rather than desire.

4. Romance and desire are strongly linked to your sense of smell.

As well as scented tea lights, you could also use a pillow mist, a fragrance plug-in or just a spritz of your usual after-shave or perfume on the pillows and around your bed. Don’t go overboard on too many different smells, just one or two, especially if familiar, will trigger desire.

5. Try sprinkling your bed with a few rose petals.

They don’t have to be the real deal –you can buy artificial petals or use petal shaped confetti. If your bedroom is upstairs, scatter a few of the petals up the stairs and across the landing towards your bedroom. It will indicate both romance and intent.

image of a romantic dinner in bed

6. Keep the mood and ambience focused on intimacy and passion.

Put ironing boards, clothes airers and any other chore-based equipment out of sight. Also tidy children’s toys away.

You may not feel that you need to play music, but if there is a special song that you share or music that carries happy memories for you both, then play it fairly softly. For obvious reasons, this works better with gentle, mellow music rather than heavy rock!

7. Be prepared

A lot of the art of creating a romantic and sexy bedroom is in preparation. Think about covering up or moving your TV out of the bedroom, or putting a faux fur or velvet throw over the bed. Having a bottle of champagne sitting invitingly in an ice bucket, perhaps with some ripe strawberries or cherries in a bowl, will also enhance the sensual mood.

Think of using all your senses to create a romantic mood in your bedroom. While it’s easy to trigger desire with sensuous aromas, music and lighting, don’t forget touch is also a big factor in making your Valentine’s night even more special. Wear something soft and sensual like silk or satin and maybe keep a feather or a silk scarf to hand for teasing your partner and getting them in the mood for some passion-filled intimacy.

What is your romantic gesture this Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments!