transform my living room in a five star resort
February 4, 2008 8:14 PM   Subscribe

Help me turn my living room into a romantic weekend getaway!

My boyfriend and I had planned to leave this Friday for a long weekend getaway at a resort, full of fine wine and dining, massages, hot tubs, and relaxation by the fireplace. But the car died, we spent our whole trip budget fixing it, and now the trip has to be cancelled. We both still have Friday and Monday off and I would like to try to recreate the whole 'getaway' atmosphere in my tiny house (we don't live together) without spending a lot of money. I'm going to spend this week scrubbing and cleaning so everything looks nice and smells lovely (instead of my normal cluttered mess), and plan on renting some good movies and buying some candles and bubble bath, but I don't know what else to do. What are some creative and cheap ways of making my house seem more like a fancy resort and less like the same ol place we hang out every night?
posted by kerfuffled to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
You could think about how to rearrange the furniture, for a start, so it becomes a "new" environment. Remove whatever you can that's related to normal life, give the bed pride of place (if it doesn't have it already), maybe get yourself a bar fridge so you don't have to leave the room for refreshments, and stock it with special items, depending on your taste.

Change the lighting. Candles are a start, but some other mood lighting is nice. You may have this already, but a change is as good as a holiday. This could also apply to artworks & music, too, eg if you want to create some kind of "exotic" environment.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:24 PM on February 4, 2008

also: mosquito nets hung from the ceiling are kinda fun.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:25 PM on February 4, 2008

Can you hang about in white fluffy bathrobes?
posted by jacquilynne at 8:39 PM on February 4, 2008

You could go to a craft/fabric type store and buy a bunch of silky patterny type sheets and pin them up around the walls. If you covered the walls, and roof perhaps, it would certainly give the place a different look. That + incense + candles could have a very exotic kind of feel to it.
posted by twirlypen at 8:41 PM on February 4, 2008

Massage oil to simulate a resort's wonderful spa experience.
posted by mmascolino at 8:44 PM on February 4, 2008

Maybe stroll through the dime or thrift store and see if you can find something evocative. Tiki torches for the balcony (if you have one), paper lanterns, plants...

If you're trying to cheer yourself and him up about missing the trip, some funny touches might be good. If you have an old yellow sheet and an old blue sheet (or could find them at Goodwill), you could create a "beach" on the floor. Sit beach chairs on the yellow bit, maybe put a plastic shark or a rubber ducky on the blue bit. Pretend you're in a Corona commercial.

Along the same lines, you could cover the windows with a poster of an ocean view or a poster you made yourself by printing a picture out in pieces and taping them together.

Put mints or little chocolates on your pillows. Put a towel animal on the bed...
posted by Gianna at 8:53 PM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Candles, wine, and hanging around in bathrobes are key. I'd scrub the bathroom, too... you can take baths (together or apart) and light tealights around the room. (I love this question, and think your boyfriend's lucky to have you).
posted by moxiedoll at 8:56 PM on February 4, 2008

I like Glanna's idea re: the blue sheets for water and yellow sheets for sand. If you do it, crank up the heat, turn on a fan, borrow a sunlamp, and try to find a CD with beach sounds (waves, seagulls, &c). Hmm...

Are there beach scent potpouri's/incense/oils? (Coconut oil?)
posted by porpoise at 9:11 PM on February 4, 2008

Pitch a tent
posted by hortense at 9:12 PM on February 4, 2008

I'd throw some red rose petals on the bed, over the kitchen table, and on the floor around the candles. You can go to a flower shop and tell them you just want petals. They should give you a good deal, probably about 10-15 bucks if you're in a large city and aroun V-day.

Other than that, I'd just go crazy on the candles. They don't have to be big and expensive. You can buy lots of the small ones at walmart, target, or kmart for pretty cheap. Put two or three of them on a plate on the floor. It looks really cool against hardwood, but I don't recommend doing it if you have carpet.

Also, I'd buy some glade plug-ins or some sort of air freshner. The apple cinnamon scent smells great w/o being too over-powering.
posted by dannon205 at 9:31 PM on February 4, 2008

I'm thinking about building a fort with the couch and some blankets. Haven't done it since I was about 8, but I remember it being a very fun time, and could be a lot more fun with a SO (actually, see this xkcd strip). I'd much prefer that over the rose-petal cliche.

Seriously, don't stress yourself by working too hard on this. Remember that the weekend is supposed to be relaxing for both of you.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:36 PM on February 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

Can you enlist the help of housemates, neighbours or friends to deliver a meal or two, room service style?

(eg chinese takeaway on a trolley with linen, champagne bucket, flower vase etc)

That'd be a lovely surprise, especially for breakfast. Only breakfast shouldn't be chinese takeaway. Maple syrup would need to be involved, for a start.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:52 PM on February 4, 2008

ps: you rock. email's in my profile, in case your boyfriend somehow dies in a bizarre snorkelling accident
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:55 PM on February 4, 2008

Plan ahead with an indulgent grocery trip. Stock up on wine, cheese, fruit, sausages, olives, a nice roast chicken, cooked shrimp, bottled fizzy water, cookie dough, good chocolate, maybe some pastries. Think about a weekend-long picnic, food you can graze and nibble. If any place interesting delivers, make sure the menu is accessible for impromptu room service.

Buy some fresh flowers and candles or an essential oil burner (lavender and bergamont oils with just a drop of basil or lemongrass makes my pad smell like a day spa in a snap). Make sure you've got DVDs and music, plus comfie pjs or robes, and cool, clean linens (maybe make sure there's an extra set clean as well for, you know. . .) Think about having something to engage all your senses. When we're in romantic nesting mode, my boy likes to read to me (Jane Austen is a particular favorite) so possibly books as well.

If you can find the cash, arrange people to come to the house and give you guys a couple's massage. Lots of masseuses do this, and it would be an indulgence, but there is nothing that sets the "we're on vacation" mood quite so well.

Also, turn off your cell phones and unplug your computer. We just had a great weekend in Sonoma where we did all these things, but I think the fact that we forgot to bring the power cable for our laptop did as much as anything to make us feel relaxed. And really, getting into the mindset of, "I'm on vacation and I'm not exerting myself for any reason" is the important bit. Some people can't manage this even when lying on the beach in Fiji. Allow yourselves to just turn off is key and being able to channel that feeling in your own home would be a fantastic gift to give yourselves.
posted by mostlymartha at 12:28 AM on February 5, 2008

I really like all of mostlymartha's comments.

Regarding the suggestion to attend to all 5 senses: another way to stimulate the sense of smell is to have a pot-pourri (is this the word?) going on the stove--a large pot of water with, say, cloves and cinnamon in it, or lemon and lime, or . . . .
posted by purplesludge at 4:10 AM on February 5, 2008

Move some stuff _out_ of the living room, so it will feel more open, spacious, and more beautiful than functional.
posted by amtho at 4:48 AM on February 5, 2008

How about a fireplace DVD?

Nthing shutting off all phones and avoid the computer. Don’t watch the news. Instead, ask him about his dreams and really listen. Tell him some of yours (“I’ve always wanted to go up in a hot air balloon,” or “I’ve always dreamed about a man washing my hair.”).

Trade spa treatments with each other. My husband loves it when I give him a pedicure. I do the whole thing from soaking with bubbly water to pushing back the cuticles and exfoliation. Instead of polish, I use a nail buffer, and finish off with a cream like Sally Hansen’s Beyond Perfect Foot Creme (put socks or slippers on his feet afterward to avoid slippage). In return, have him give you a massage using olive or jojoba oil and tell him to start from your feet up.

Make a rice or dried bean sock. One for each of you. Use them to warm up your feet in bed.

If you don’t want to do the home spa thing, look for a local beauty school in the Yellow Pages and go there and get pedicures, massages, etc.

The fabric idea is good, I’d get something gauzy in jewel tones and add some string lights. Target has a ton of cool lights with dragonflies, etc. for $9.99 a box. Plush chenille throws or pillows are a cheap but luxurious way to dress up furniture. One or more paper star lights would throw little bits of light around and look pretty awesome in the dark or low light.

Get a box of strawberries and some microwave dipping chocolate. Prepare them ahead of time and serve with inexpensive champagne. A good inexpensive French wine is Domaine Caton, to go with your other meals (the nibbly stuff sounds good!). I’d use high-quality disposable plates and silverware to avoid having to do dishes.

Don’t forget to take pictures, just like you would on vacation! Put the fixed car to use and do a few day trips, explore just like you would if you were somewhere new. Then come home and take a nap before dinner. Enjoy each other and have a great time!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:19 AM on February 5, 2008

Bring out the sexy bikini or whatever you were going to wear on vacation. Glam it up with some rhinestone sunglasses (the star-shaped ones) and heels. Smear some zinc on his nose and take pics with your s/o. Mix up some frothy, frou-frou drinks like you would have enjoyed in the resort. Watch silly movies. Club Paradise is an old movie on DVD that actually sucks, but has a great soundtrack, and it's all about an awful resort, perfect for your situation--laugh at the silly suckers paying out the nose while you lie on a beach towel together.

Candles are great, but so are soft lights if you can change out your lightbulbs with rose ones. Bonus--no one has to remember to put out the candle and nothing catches fire. Stock a cooler by the bed with icy drinks, and put the ice to creative use. Love the idea of the warm sock filled with beans for the bed (but the link is messed up!). Get some highly-scented, foamy stuff for the bath and shower and bring out the fluffiest towels and robes you have. Chocolates on the pillows, champagne in the cooler.

You're a great girlfriend, by the way! Enjoy yourselves, that's the main thing. Shut out the rest of the world and indulge in your "holiday".
posted by misha at 2:45 PM on February 5, 2008

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