How to Create a Romantic Atmosphere with Decor and Styling

Katherine Hudson of The Arabian Tent Company, the Queen of aesthetics, explains how you can stimulate the sensual with styling and decor.

Katherine

Katherine founded The Arabian Tent Company in 2004 because of her love of outdoor parties, and a wish to be able to recreate the magic of festivals at events and weddings. Her beautiful, unique designs do just that and so much more. Our favourite are the William Morris and La Rouge. Watch this video on The Life of an Arabian Tent Party to learn more.

1. How did fascination with decor and aesthetics begin?

As a child I lived in an old house, with rooms piled full of furniture my grandparents had collected.  One of my favourite things was climbing through these rooms. I was fascinated by the old faded chaise longues, rattan bed-heads, collections of truncheons, elephant feet and chests filled with tapestries… I’d carry pieces of furniture through into my own room to ‘re-style’ it regularly.  I simply loved the way you could make the space feel so different, depending on what you put in it.

2. In your opinion, what is the connection between aesthetics and mood?

There’s a huge connection between them.  We absorb the atmosphere of our surroundings, which effects the way we feel.  Just imagine standing in a brick tunnel; now lying on the grass in the park staring up at the blue sky; and now sitting at a table in your favourite restaurant… how different do you feel in each of these scenarios?!

3. Can colours and textures be aphrodisiacs?

www.lighttrick.co.ukAlthough I wouldn’t be quite as bold as to claim colours and textures can actually stimulate sexual desire, colours certainly have an effect on our brains…especially male brains!  Several studies both on humans and primates have found that the colour red worn by females makes men find them more attractive (although this doesn’t work the other way around!) and textures can certainly encourage us to be tactile…try wearing a pair of velvet leggings and see how many people ask to stroke your legs!

4. What would you say is the number one mistake people make regarding their physical surroundings when trying to create a romantic atmosphere?

Tuning in to listen to a romantic radio station, but then having to listen to the adverts in-between the music! Major buzz kill.

5. How can one create a romantic setting using aesthetics?

Think of each of the senses and ensure you’ve thoroughly tantalised it! Lighting is very important as www.lighttrick.co.ukit affects cognition and mood.  You just can’t beat candle-light (definitely no LED lighting), but ensure you’ve got enough candles – dim lighting isn’t sexy, but soft lighting is. Scented candles can stimulate senses in one. Women have been found to have a more acute sense of smell than men do. Scents like jasmine (which is said to induce euphoria), and sandalwood (which heightens sexual excitement by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system dominant during sexual arousal), and rose (an aphrodisiac for women) would all be great choices. Then ensure you’ve got tactile materials like silk or velvet around you.

6. Is a romantic atmosphere just for two or can it be used to stimulate other kinds of love and openness?

A romantic atmosphere certainly doesn’t have to be just for two, although creating one for multiple couples, like for a Valentine’s dinner party, can end up feeling clichéd and cheesy.  It’s about generating a relaxed feeling in people in order to encourage intimacy, but you do need to start with a basic level of trust within the group to begin with. It’s best not have too many people involved. So it would certainly work for a dinner party but not really for a large gathering like a wedding.

7. What is romantic for you?

Thoughtfulness. Although oysters are most definitely aphrodisiacs!

8. What are your predicted decor and styling trends for 2015?

Pops of bright colour on white/clean backgrounds will be big this year both at events and in ourDay of the Dead Shoot - weheartpictures-0113homes, as will metallic finishes and smokey glass!  Rather than large floral displays, we’ll be using statement trees and lots of green to add architectural interest and height at weddings. More herbs, berries and woodland touches such as fir-cones will be appearing instead of traditional floral displays, as ‘rustic’ is going to be a key wedding trend this year. That means lots of exposed wooden tables with benches being used in dining areas.  And lighting will be very important – LEDs are out. Warm white is in, with a revival of old fashioned Edison bulbs accented by mirrors and other eclectic objects eclectically mixed together.

9. If everyone could only have one styling item in their Valentine’s Day tool kit, what would it be?

A sumptuous large red velvet throw!

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February’s Punch of the Month

Boy do we have a Valentine’s Day cocktail for you – a recipe so loaded with aphrodisiac ingredients, just one sip and you’ll be ready to explode…

Drink my Fire, What’s Your Desire?

By guest blogger Slava T Gordon

After a brief hiatus in the Punch of the Month column, in keeping with “dry January”, we are determined to return this February with a cocktail positively worthy of your time. Needless to say, the process of guaranteeing that our offering be truly top notch required a fair amount of experimenting and tasting, making the tail-end of our January not so dry after all. Oops…

Bane + Antidote friend Marshall Altier, a sought after mixologist and author of How to Booze: Exquisite Cocktails and Unsound Advice, suggested his favourite sexy aphrodisiac concoction to set the night on fire. The I’m Your Venus is fiery, sweet and perfectly sour – all told it’s decidedly moreish, and as intoxicatingly multi-faceted as Venus herself.

I’m Your Venus by Marshall Altier

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Photography and styling by Jane Hodson

We are all familiar with Venus as the Goddess of Love but she might be more accurately described in today’s terms as the goddess of multi-tasking, as she is also attributed with sex, beauty, fertility, prosperity, desire and victory – a whole lot of responsibility for one lady deity. In this day and age of wanting to be, do and have it all, it is quite befitting that we guzzle a namesake tipple which hits so many notes.

A quick refresher in nutritional therapy: chocolate contains serotoninphenylethylamine and theobromine – three compounds that lower blood pressure, enhance circulation, amplify general feelings of well being and provide energy. The perfect foundation for a long night of fun.

Chilli contains capsaicin, a substance that physically turns up the heat. Its effects are felt far beyond the burning in your mouth. Raised body temperature brings a flush to your cheek and a swell to your lips making them ever so much more plump for the kissing. Chilli peppers are also known to heighten nerve sensitivity adding an extra frisson to amorous pleasure. WARNING: Remember to wash your hands well after handling chillies, you do not want to be responsible for any undesired burning.

Mint is a lesser-known and more subtle aphrodisiac. It leaves those who eat it with a calm body and mind, while stimulating a lusty appetite. Such are its hidden charms, Aristotle famously advised Alexander the Great to keep his warriors from eating mint when at war.

These three strong natural aphrodisiacs: chocolate, chilli and mint, plus booze (arguably the fourth) ensure that this cocktail packs a mighty punch. The I’m Your Venus will make for a potent tool in your V-Day arsenal.

I’m Your Venus by Marshall Altier 

  • 2 ozs Rye or Bourbon whiskey
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • 1 tspn sugar
  • 2 de-seeded chilli pepper rings
  • small handful of mint leaves
  • ½ oz of dark chocolate (finely grated on a plate)
  • ice cubes

Glass: 

  • Frosted martini glass (chilled in the freezer)

Garnish:

  • Grated dark chocolate rim

Instructions: 

  • Muddle sugar, chilli, mint and lemon wedges together in a shaker.  Add the booze and ice. Shake well while shimmying in anticipation.
  • Take the frosted martini glass out of the freezer, dip the rim in the chocolate and set on the side.
  • Strain the concoction into the frosted martini glass.
  • Best followed by a Faust’s Potions Hangover Cure health shot.

For more tantalising tips on nutritional aphrodisiacs and how to use them, read The Devil’s Guide to Valentine Gorging & Stamina Maintenance.