12 Ways to Make Your Bedroom Sexier, According to—Who Else?—a Sex Therapist
Can your bedroom décor improve your sex life? Yes, in fact, it can. We got the deets from Tammy Nelson, a sex and relationship expert who hosts the podcast The Trouble with Sex and is the author of five books, including the new When You’re the One Who Cheats. (Also, her TedX talk on “the new monogamy” will rock your world.)
Nelson says that making your bedroom into a love island starts with taking an honest inventory of the space. “Is this a fantasy lair where you can lure your partner in for some fun, sexy fantasy time? Or is your bedroom more of a storage place for kids’ toys and your bed-side work station?" Nelson asks. If it's the latter, then hmm…maybe the bedroom could use a little work. Here are 12 simple shakeups Nelson suggests to reboot the romance in your bedroom.
1. Hide the TV
If you don’t entirely nix the TV from your bedroom—highly suggested—Nelson suggests hiding it. “It should not be the central focus of your bedroom. Put it in a cabinet or on a shelf that has doors or shutters to hide it from view.” This way, late-night news or the latest episode of Real Housewives won’t put a damper on your sex life.
2. Organize the Cords
“All wires and electronic boxes should be out of the way. As few electrical cords as possible should be out at any given time, particularly when they are near your bedside,” says Nelson. Roger that—because who wants to trip over a computer charger in the middle of foreplay? “Cords left out are clutter and take away from the clear energy of the room,” Nelson says. Also, a tangle of cords can accumulate dust and pet hair, which is way more ewww gross than ahhh sexy. A cord organizer such as this Japanese-designed, sturdy plastic box discreetly hides power strips and lengthy cords so you can have a sleeker bedside area.
3. Keep Work Separate
There’s nothing that nips l’amour right in the bud more than making out with your partner, only to have your eyes alight on a stack of unpaid bills. “Try to keep your desk out of your bedroom, if space allows,” Nelson suggests. “Work should be kept separate from the bedroom where you make love. Clear out any paper clutter like magazines and paperwork in your bedroom or near your bed. If you work on a laptop, try and keep the laptop separate from your other bedroom equipment.” Still need a place to actually earn some money? Try a mini-desk in the corner of the living room instead.
4. Turn Down Those Lights
You know how romantic restaurants always have low lighting? It’s because we relax in lower light—and everyone looks better, too. “Find soft lighting for your bedroom, with several levels of light if possible," Nelson says. “If you can turn down the lights with a dimmer or lowering device, use this when you want a more romantic mood.” And if you can’t rewire the lighting, a low-wattage bulb in a nice lamp should set the mood.
5. Light the Candles
Candles are a classic romantic go-to, and today there are more choices than ever. Natural flame candles tend to give off a softer light, while battery powered ones are brighter and create a more energizing vibe, says Nelson. Here, like in so much of sex, the motto is safety first—so be sure to blow out any candles before you fall asleep (or if you’re worried you’re going to forget all about them, opt instead for use electric or battery candle).
6. Paint An Accent Wall
“Find a color that works for your bedroom and paint at least one wall with fresh paint in a warm, sensual color. Pick a color that represents your new sexy surroundings. Freshening the room can feel like a brand-new start.” Here, a soft charcoal black tone makes a dramatic backdrop for the bed, which is, after all, a mini-stage set for whatever romantic scene takes place.
7. Invest in Good Sheets
“Put soft sheets on the bed and a soft comforter. Surround yourself with things that feel good on your skin and on your body. Treat yourself as if you were in a spa or a five- star hotel,” Nelson says. And it turns out that Mom was right (not about sexy bedrooms, that would be weird) about quality over quantity: Nelson opines that it’s a good idea to spend on one or two good sets of sheets and rotate them often, since “it’s more important to have one set of good sheets than six sets of bad ones.”
8. Upgrade Your Pillows
“Have good pillows on the bed, and many of them,” says Nelson. To which we add: Try down alternative pillows, since they are hypoallergenic and wash up well. Because, if all goes as planned, that pillow might need some serious freshening after your wild lovemaking. Or a glass of iced tea spills, whichever is more likely.
9. Hello, Transformational Throw Pillow
Your decorative pillows should be like your sex life: varied and colorful, but not without restraint. “Throw pillows are a fast and inexpensive way to recreate your whole bedroom,” Nelson says. “They don’t have to cost a lot and they can change your whole color scheme. Plus, they add dimension, sensuality and softness to any style bedroom.”
10. Add a Soothing Element
“Wow, being stressed out really puts me in the mood to make love,” said no one ever. So make your environment do part of the relaxation work. “Notice what makes your bedroom feel calm,” Nelson says. “Is it new shades or light white curtains? Is it a small fountain in the corner or the sound of a forest from a sound machine?” Create something to signal to your body that bedroom = me time.
11. Include a Bit of Nature
Get in touch with your inner animal—and thus your spiritual connectedness to all living things—by adding a crystal or two. (Or even if that all sounds like mumbo-jumbo, at least it's pretty.) Nelson suggests you “gather seashells on a night stand or burn incense. Smudge with sage sticks to clear the energy. Set up an altar in a corner. What will make you feel centered in your own space?” (Except, maybe hold back on the hypnotic chanting if you don't know your partner so well.)
12. Keep Toys Handy
Quelle surprise—it seems that just knowing your woo-woo gizmos (yes, that’s the scientific term) are nearby can be a turn-on. “Having something sexy nearby can help you feel like being romantic,” Nelson says. “Have sex toys, massage oils and sexy reading material and other things to view that turn you on in a drawer by the bed or a locked closet (if you have children).” So, even if you are out of those damn triple-A batteries, your toys are still helping the greater good.