Who doesn’t want a little more romance in their life? We’re not just talking about a romantic relationship with a significant other—but rather that elusive touch of soft elegance that comes with romantic home decor.
But what is romantic style in terms of decor and design aesthetic? Below, we’ve broken down exactly what romantic style entails—and how you can emulate the subtle, feminine style in your own space. Whether you’re looking to add a touch of soft, vintage-inspired flair to your home or you just want to create a romantic-inspired space to retreat to, this primer will help you set off on the right foot.
A Brief History of Romantic Style
Although romantic style can date all the way back to the Romantic Era in Europe at the end of the 18th century—think Louis XV and his court’s canopied beds and detailed floral wallpaper—the way in which we think of the comfortable design today has much more to do with the revival of soft, feminine clothing design at the end of World War II.
“I think the best example in history of this style is the design icon Dorothy Draper,” shares Jennifer Burt, Home Staging Expert at Mississippi Maximalism. “After World War II, fabric restrictions in clothing were lifted and the exaggerated feminine shape was popularized by Christian Dior's 'New Look'."
Meet the Expert
- Jennifer Burt is an entrepreneur and certified home stager. Her business, Mississippi Maximalism, has three brick-and-mortar vintage stores and offers design and staging services.
- Sebastian C. Founder is the owner of Countryside Amish Furniture, LLC.
- Amy Hillary is a design expert at WallSauce, a murals and wall art company.
According to Burt, this ultra-feminine look flowed over into interiors, where Dorothy Draper redecorated the entire Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, which is a perfect example of romantic style thanks to its “bold new personality, using color and oversized patterns to paint a picture that reflected the luxury of space.”
Think of romantic style as a relatively comfortable decor aesthetic—it’s not exactly overly maximalist or bold, but it does align itself with floral patterns, lace and softer fabrics, and an overall sense of vintage or regency-inspired femininity.
“Romantic style is characterized by being feminine,” agrees Burt. “Curved lines, sometimes bold colors (think how red lips are considered romantic), accents of shiny gold and silver, and floral or nature-inspired prints are some of the key characteristics to emulate.”
Looking to add a touch of romantic style to your own space? The key is to lean into your whimsical side—while still remaining practical-minded and elegant. Consider pulling from inspirational photographs from the past decade—or Romantic Era painters like John Constable or J. M. W. Turner, which offers a sense of lightness and natural elements. Here are a some pragmatic more tips to help get you started:
Go for Warm, Neutral Upholstery
“When customers are seeking furniture pieces with a romantic style, we often recommend warm, neutral stain and upholstery options,” explains Sebastian C. Founder of Countryside Amish Furniture, LLC. “Choosing warm tones softens the atmosphere and creates a relaxed mood in any design space.”
Consider Curved Lines
According to Sebastian, curved lines in furniture pieces represent the romantic style, and pieces may be arranged in an intimate grouping to create a comfortable mood. “Popular furniture designs include those with a vintage flair such as four poster beds, wingback chairs, and china hutches,” he explains, adding that this style can easily be mixed with other design eras like Traditional, Rustic, French Country, or Modern. “It only takes a few carefully chosen furniture staples and home accents to create a romantic space.”
Look to Fashion
Burt takes the style one step further in terms of its ease of use—if you have more of an eye for fashion than decor, it could work in your favor in this case. “To decorate with this look, just think of a romantic clothing outfit and recreate it,” she suggests. “A floral print always looks romantic as well as soft textures.”
Add Hints of Metallic Shimmer
“Make sure to add in a metallic shimmer—this is like the jewelry of a room,” says Burt. “But most of all, keep the room simple. Romantic style can easily look cluttered, so I like to think of classic outfits and movies from the 1950s as inspiration.”
Pick Floral Prints
“Florals are a classic sign of romance,” says Amy Hillary, Design Expert at Wallsauce.com. “Choose floral wallpaper, bedding and fresh florals in pretty vases.” If you are going for a regencycore look, Pride and Prejudice-esque romanticism, it doesn’t take much more than a good floral print to achieve this sort of ornate and feminine design.