There’s nothing less sexy than a candlelight dinner set among piles of unpaid bills and to-do lists. So first, spend some quality time de-cluttering.
- Whatever you don’t love (and we’re only talking about things, here), toss or donate. If you’re undecided, pack iffy collectibles and exotic utensils in a sealed box. If you haven’t opened the box in a year, find its contents a new home.
- Remove stuff on your refrigerator door, a top clutter culprit. Hide the orthodontist appointment reminders, take-out orders, and calendars that remind you how stressed your daily life is.
- Swap photos of the kids (those little romance killers) with photos of you and your spouse laughing on the beach, biking on weekends, embracing in the pool – all the fun stuff you did before the kids came along.
- Hide the cat’s or dog’s food dish, which smells (and looks gross, too).
Don’t let house smells from burnt bacon and ripe soccer shoes wreck that lovin’ feeling. Open the windows that have been shut all winter and let fresh air in. Still stinks? Here are more deodorizing tips:
- Fish or fried food odors: Boil a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar in water, and lets the fumes suck up the stench.
- Musty odors: Run a dehumidifier that will take moisture out of the air. Don’t forget to empty full tanks frequently.
- Smelly garbage disposal: Grind up lemon peels and salt, which will clean and freshen blades.
If you can’t remove the odors, mask them with scented candles and herbs. Sweet-smelling basil is known as an aphrodisiac, a good reason to include it in your windowsill garden; lavender is a turn-on scent for men; and jasmine boosts libido in both sexes.
Turn Down the Lights
No matter what kind of bulbs shine in your kitchen, put them on a universal dimmer ($25) to create a romantic mood and save energy (which is pretty sexy, too). Better yet, switch off overhead lighting and use more flattering ambient or indirect lighting, such as table lamps, under-cabinet lighting or, best of all, candles.
More Romancing Tips
- Spots on champagne flutes and a noisy dishwasher are turnoffs. New, ultra-quiet and super-efficient ones, such as the Bosch models ($600 to $1,500) recommended by Consumer Reports, are especially quiet and tough on spots, too.
- Make sure your wine is properly stored and chilled. A wine cooler costs $500 (24-36 bottles) to $2,000 (170 bottles). Here’s a helpful wine-chilling hint: Freeze a bunch of grapes, then pop a few into the glass. Frozen grapes chill wine without watering it down.
- If you have time to splash paint on an accent wall, red walls make the heart beat faster (passionate), and pink is tranquilizing (warm and fuzzy). For a more temporary burst of color, try temporary decals or wallpaper that goes up and down in a snap.