Crack a window, because it's about to get steamy.
When I was a kid, my bedroom was a sacred space. No one spent time in my room aside from my friends and me. The walls were covered with things I loved, my belongings were arranged just so, and when I shut the door the rest of the world didn't exist.
Which left me standing in my own bedroom several weeks ago wondering, What the hell happened? Simply put, I had let my bedroom go. It was no longer a private and sacred space; rather, it had become a community catch-all and playground for our two kids.
Sharing a bedroom with my husband over the last decade has had its own ups and downs too, like his socks on the floor or balled-up tissues stuck in the headboard. My husband also had a pile of "not dirty enough to be washed but not clean enough to be put away" clothes that lived on top of his dresser.
I'm not innocent either, though. Various lotions, books, bits of mail and water glasses covered my nightstand, and although I try to hang up all my clothes, it doesn't always happen.
Our ultimate end goal has always been to have a bedroom that screams "Sanctuary" instead of "Grand Central Station." And in our effort to achieve a place to call our own, we've come across a few simple steps anyone can take to make their bedroom sexy again, and far more relaxing.
1. Keep your kids out.
Kids can come in, but they aren't welcome to stay or bring all their crap into our domain. In my 10 years of parenting, my child has slept with us in our bed exactly once. We're not co-sleepers and we never could be. (We did share a room with our tiny newborn babies for a few weeks, but as soon as they were sleeping for a decent stretch at night, they were booted to their own bed down the hall.)
If you're co-sleepers and love it, by all means keep it up. But if you don't? It's time to start looking for ways to get your bedroom back. Same goes for toys: what comes in must go out. It's really hard to feel sexy when you're sauntering toward your husband in lingerie and something squeaks underfoot.
2. Pets need to know their place.
We're cat people and our cats have some sort of radar that screams, "Their pants are off! NOW IS THE TIME TO GO JUMP ON THEM!" One of the cats likes to just stare at us while we're doing the dirty. The other one likes to crawl right up on top and see what's going on.
Nope. If pants are going down, the cats are staying out.
3. Invest in good linens.
Once you get a good set of crisp white sheets, you can never really go back to whatever happened to be cheapest and on sale. I love sleeping in high-end hotel beds and one thing high-end hotels do right is the linens.
I invested in high-thread count sheets, a thick cotton blanket and fluffy white duvet so I could have my own hotel bed at home every night. (This also meant negotiating my husband's childhood blanket decorated with sheep off the bed and into a more sheep-blanket appropriate place.)
4. Make the bed every morning.
It's quite difficult to pretend your bed is a hotel bed when it's all rumpled come bedtime. Plus, when I make my bed first thing in the morning, I'm less likely to immediately crawl back into it and there's enough time for me to forget that it wasn't actually housekeeping that came in and tidied up.
5. Let the light in.
If you have windows, invest in window treatments that let in natural sunlight, but also keep out nosy neighbors. When it comes to other types of lighting, always give yourself several different options.
Overhead lighting is great for when you need to get stuff done, but it isn't the best when it comes to winding down and getting cozy. A small bedside lamp flatters and calms, while a floor lamp in one corner gives off an entirely different feel. I love candles, but they can be dangerous, get dusty and can make your walls dirty.
Instead, try a few well-placed LED candles (bonus if they're remote-controlled) which can give you the same effect with no risk of burning something. Don't go too crazy on the candles though — you want romance, not a seance.
6. Remember that your bedroom isn't an office.
I understand a lot of people don't have the option of having a separate home office, but I can speak from experience when I say you should do everything you can to keep work out of the bedroom, whether it's papers, a computer, files, or whatever else you do.
When you go into your bedroom, you should be able to be free and clear of the worries you have the other 16+ hours of the day. It should just be your bed, your lover, and sweet, sweet dreams. (Or that should be the goal at least. I'm still working on this one.)
7. Set rules about electronic use.
Whether it's iPhones or a TV, there need to be clear rules about what can be used when and where. Maybe it's no phones in bed after 11 PM or the TV can only be on if both of you are watching something together. Whatever it is, you need to talk about it with your partner and stick to the rules.
I hated having a TV in our room and I fought it hard. It wasn't until we went through some serious marital struggles that my husband was willing to acknowledge the strain something as stupid as a TV in the bedroom was putting on our relationship.
8. Put bedroom rituals in place.
Cody and I have little things we do together in bed each night (aside from each other). We have several card games we like to play, a couples fill-in-the-blank book, and a set of Table Topics: cards with open-ended hypotheticals and questions printed on each one. In fact, our favorite time together is right as we're about to go to sleep because it's just us with no glowing screens or screaming children.
Another little ritual we used to have is to ask each other "What was the best part/worst part of your day?" as we fall asleep. The more comfortable we've become with talking to each other about random and silly things, the easier it's been to open up to each other about likes, dislikes, passions and fantasies.
Maybe you have other rules in your house that make your life easier: take your shoes off at the door, no food in the living room or pets stay off the furniture. Think about how having those rules in place makes your day-to-day life better and easier.
Even though they can be difficult to put into place (and even harder to maintain), it's totally worth turning your bedroom into a place you actually look forward to spending time in — both for your own peace of mind and your sex life as well.