Give bathroom a stylish and romantic look

Due to the economic instability, more and more South Africans are looking at their homes as a place of refuge.

Instead of going out to dinner or social events, they're cocooning with their loved ones. Now, more than ever, their homes need to be restful and soothing, yet stylish at the same time.

One place that offers romance and comfort is a bathroom.

Kate van Niekerk, marketing manager for Tile Africa, says you can bring a touch of romance to your bath time by creating that gentle, soft and wistful look.

"A bathroom should allow for refuge, relaxation, pampering and romance with a choice of romantic styles that vary from simple whites, to gentle pastels, to wooden country or Victorian, depending on your personal flair and the décor style of the rest of your home."

Van Niekerk says that whatever your romantic style is, consider the rest of the home décor and incorporate these designs into your choice of romantic bathroom design.

She adds that essential to designing an intimate space is the selection of colour. The softer white and pastel colours are usually the colours of choice.

They include creams, lemon, dusty pink or blue, soft hues of grey or otherwise stone and natural colours.

She advises people to avoid anything that is too bright as this will create the complete opposite feel and may come across as too dazzling instead of relaxing.

"Bathroom floor and wall tiles can greatly affect the mood of the bathroom to either be cosier and warm, using softer muted colours or the choice of white and neutral colours to make the room look larger and airier," says Van Niekerk.

"A key piece is, of course, the bath or jacuzzi if the budget allows. The bath should be free-standing and preferably in the centre of the room if you have the space. There is a wide selection of baths available such as the slipper-bath with the one end slightly higher than the other or a claw foot bath for that Victorian-era experience."

Van Niekerk says furniture pieces and bathroom accessories will most certainly have an effect on the atmosphere of the bathroom, so choosing the right pieces to fit in with your romantic style is of great importance.

"Bathroom ware is also a budget-friendly way in which to upgrade your bathroom for that romantic feel without entirely revamping the room. Pieces such as the vanity or wall cabinet or even the choice of tap fittings can have an immediate influence on your romantic bathroom look and feel.

"The final touch is to set the mood with candles, scents and accessories. Put the candles around the bath or on vanity tops, fill up a small basket with scented soaps, lotions and massages oils, select stylish bathroom mats. The combination of colour, furniture and accessories should leave you with the perfect space to unwind."

How to make a bath romantic?

l Keep a warm bath ready for your partner with lots of bubbles. Play some light romantic music and give a nice romantic bath.

l Caress each other, kiss and wash each other. Make love in the bathroom or else you can always make passionate love in the bedroom after a good bath.

l Bath your partner yourself and then dry him or her. Rub the body with scented body massage and take him or her to the bedroom and lay him on either silk or satin sheets filled with rose petals.

l Light the bedroom and bathroom with candles and spray sweet fragrance all around. Play some romantic music and wait for him in the bath naked.

l Set aside special time for a romantic interlude with your partner, and schedule it as a date. Send the kids to a friend's house, turn off the phone, hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door and do whatever else is necessary to give yourself the privacy to focus on each other.

l Prior to your date, take a few minutes to create a romantic environment.

l The setting for romance can be your living room, bedroom or private outdoor patio. Candles, especially pure aromatherapy candles, help set the mood. Scents that have been used for centuries as aphrodisiacs include vanilla, sandalwood and rose. Choose scents that you and your partner find appealing.

l After a lovely hot bath lead him to the bedroom and give your partner a pleasurable body massage.