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Romantic Ruminations

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Heat up your Valentine’s Day with shades of red

Sure it’s Carnival season but personally, and more importantly, it’s February and oh baby, it’s the month about love, lust and all things hot, hot, hot. OK, it can also be sweet, tender and whatever else Cupid decides to send our way, but I think we’ll all agree that we’ll be seeing a lot of red this month in addition to the purples, golds and greens of Mardi Gras.

Red is a dynamic color; it can be bright or deep and it can be playful or serious. Red demands attention and will garner anyone who dares to wear it lots of it, intentional or not. To Westerners, it’s the color of passion and undying love. Not only is it emotionally intense, but it has been said that it also makes the heart beat faster. In some countries, brides opt to wear red instead of white and, let’s not forget, it’s the devil’s favorite color.

This Valentine’s Day, creating a romantic ambiance writ large or in simple details is not difficult; however, the impact can turn the ordinary romantic rendezvous into something magical and scintillating. Anyone who dares to incorporate this complex and sensually bold color in the interior of their home is gutsy as red is not for the faint of heart but surprisingly, it can also be extremely warm and cozy.

Here are a few red-hot ideas from your romantic pals at New Orleans Living:

• Hang red floral—real or faux—wreaths on doors and windows. It says that your home is full of love, both inside and out.

• Paint a room lipstick red with white trim. The color combination stimulates conversation, thought and appetite. Also, when combined with mood lighting, everyone looks better in the warmer light hues that red produces.

• Afraid of paint? How about paper? Red wallpaper—perhaps a Chinese or French toile motif —makes a small space sing of chic.

• Still too much? Use red to line the interior walls of bookcases or decoupage on boxes.

• Drape a table with red silk, heavy taffeta, lush damask or plush mohair. Let it fall to the floor in a great pouf. Top with organza. Voila! You’ve got a Valentine’s Day table dressing.

• Create a romantic bed by hanging red saris or chiffon panels from canopies or draping over and across headboards. Better yet, substitute it for a duvet for the night.

• Roses. Don’t wait to be gifted and buy little ones. Drop petals at the bottom of white pillar candles inside glass vases. Scatter them across a table or on a bed. Is there anything more romantic than a bubble bath, scattered with rose petals, in a bathroom lit by candles? I think not.

• Personally, if you can get away with it, do that sexy lingerie thing with a red teddy edged in black or white lace. If not, consider a glamorous silk nightgown and matching robe. Becca Fox, owner of House of Lounge on Magazine Street, stocks her boutique with an exclusive selection of sexy red intimates by Elle Macpherson and Soie Cherie.

• If lingerie is over the top for you but you still want to wear a bit of red, just wrap a soft red silk pashmina around your shoulders…bare shoulders, that is.

• Put on some soft music, open a bottle of cabernet, merlot or rose champagne and light a few scented candles. Romantic? You bet.

• And nothing says Valentine’s Day like rubies … now that’s a way to heat things up and not just for one night, but all year long.

Nevertheless, if being adventurous with shades of red is just too bold and brazen for you, think pink. It’s actually more tranquilizing and soothing; it also has been a designer’s choice to wear, or dress a room or house for several seasons. Whatever the shade you choose, have fun and a happy, sexy Valentine’s Day.

-DIANE SUSTENDAL