A romantic relationship is put to the test when you start living together; something I learned the hard way.
As you spend entire days together, you learn each other’s most obnoxious habits. At times, things get intolerable. If you do not address and solve these differences at an early stage, one thing leads to another, and anxiety, frustration, and misunderstandings can become entwined with your lifestyle, poisoning the bond between you and your partner.
As the initial excitement of living together ebbed and things got monotonous, problems crept into our relationship. Trouble with time management, sharing and dividing basic responsibilities, and keeping the romance alive started to seem near impossible.
How We Planned and Worked Things out
Instead of giving in to frustrations, we decided to talk things out and figure out what was lacking. Surprisingly, our problems were basic and were something every couple goes through.
- The key problem was that, even when together, we spent a lot of time on unnecessary things. Moreover, neither of us is very organized. So, the cycle of cluttering and de-cluttering was taking up a lot of time and energy, leaving us with even less time for each other.
- Fatigue: We are both professionals, and, at the end of the day, sleeping became more tempting than connecting over meaningful and stimulating conversation.
- Our dates, nights out, and other weekend involvements were more like a routine that we used to fill our Instagram pages than a means to enjoy each other’s company. Thus, we hardly savored these breaks and felt them to be rather similar and monotonous.
Once we recognized the problems, we started setting up some basic rules to follow when together. That included giving our bedroom a makeover since we spend a majority of our “we time” there. Our aim was to make the ambience as calm and serene as possible – but within a budget.
We focused on the overall interior, ranging from flooring to furnishings to accessories, and tried to make the most of what we already owned. All the while we make sure these plans were made together, and the make-over process became a fun activity for both of us as a result.
We already had high-quality rustic hardwood flooring, and this made our work easier as the rustic texture of hardwood looks more natural than regular polyurethane-finished wood. We chose to refinish the floor instead to do away with the numerous dents and scratches inflicted by our clumsiness. The result was a pale grey hardwood floor that reminds us both of the sea.
Now, many of you may be concerned about the annoying creaks hardwood flooring tends to make that can totally ruin a romantic mood. This happens particularly when you install the floor using floating and click-lock installation methods. We were lucky, again, as our flooring was installed over cork underlayment that can help neutralize the majority of such noise. Moreover, we had laid down a couple of shag area rugs, and altogether the combination gave us the quietest bedroom possible.
We had ample choices of colours to fit into our décor style because of the neutral floor, but we decided to keep the décor minimalist, using warm neutral tones.
Our bedroom walls had previously boasted domineering dark and highly-contrasted shades on a metallic-textured wall. We re-painted the entire room with pinkish beige and beige-browns; earthy tones that calm the mind and look flattering with ambient lights and candles.
We also followed feng shui tips to give our bedroom a makeover. According to this concept, colour plays an important role in creating mood and should be chosen accordingly. For a relaxing ambience, neutral and light pastel tones are recommended.
We maintained the same colour scheme for accessories and furniture by choosing a couple of shades lighter of deeper but from the same colour family.
Just a little tip: cover your floors properly to protect hardwood from paint splashes as they can difficult to remove once dry.
Aroma and Light
Has your mood ever shifted upon detecting a foul odour? I have, which is why refreshing the bedroom air was a priority for me. We started with the basic airing of the bedroom; keeping the windows open and letting air circulate. We found a few aromatic candles (in lavender and jasmine) and tealights lying around which became handy. We also bought a few diffusers, and put a valerian plant right by the window. The beautiful bunched pink and white flowers looked just right against my pinkish wall as a backdrop, and its aroma is known for inducing sleep.
We replaced harsh lights with ambient ones, with adjustments to control brightness, and we relied more on the natural light that flooded into our bedroom until afternoon. The brightest lights in our room were the bedside reading lamps, but we made a pact to not read alone or browse our phone after a certain time.
Once our room’s basic décor was done, it was time to declutter and remove all the things that were taking up space but not adding much value aesthetically. Here’s what we did:
- We replaced a few abstract paintings that matched our previous wall colour with more serene paintings with a simpler theme.
- Excessive soft toys and pillows that took up too much space on the bed were stacked away.
- Any unessential bedroom furniture was removed, like a bright red bean bag I owned and a teak wood side table we couldn’t fit elsewhere.
The makeover was a long process, but working together on every aspect of it rekindled old sparks. The right balance of the light, colour, and fragrance did wonders indeed as it kept us relaxed. And our self-imposed rules about restricting technology in the bedroom worked! We found our conversations becoming more about solutions than blame, and we felt more relaxed, energized, patient, and rejuvenated.