After a little delay, we announce our Challenge winners!
DISPLAYING BORING LANDSCAPES AS ARTWORK
Art shouldn't just be used as a filler. Instead, it should reflect both you and your partner's personal tastes and bring a sense of excitement to your home and relationship.
"It's important that throughout the entire home, the chosen artwork is a collaborative effort," says Laura Benko, founder of The Holistic Home Company and author of "The Holistic Home: Feng Shui for Mind, Body, Spirit, Space." "It's powerfully uniting when the artwork is loved by both, especially if it has a story behind it that involves your relationship. In the bedroom, be sure to swap out boring landscapes for imagery that pleases the senses and awakens your sensuality."
NOT HAVING ANY PERSONAL SPACE
Yes, you love your partner, but we all need a little space to refresh and be by ourselves. Establish one zone for each person to call their own, and dedicate it as the "personal time" spot.
"Every home should have a comfortable personal space for each person to retreat to," says Greer. "For example, a study or office, a section of the bedroom where you can kick back or a special chair in the living room. You want this place to be somewhere you can relax, read and watch TV to get some much needed 'me time.'"
A NIGHTSTAND THAT DOUBLES AS A CATCH-ALL
Remember, your nightstand is the first thing you and your partner see when you wake up, and the last thing you see before hitting the sack. That means if it's also the designated spot for to-do lists, unread books and charging cell phones, it'll subconsciously induce stress in you both.
"All of these items take you out of the moment and deplete energy between you and your partner," says Benko. "It could even lead to needless arguments." Charge your phone somewhere else and only keep a book you're currently reading near the bed — instead of reminding yourself of everything you haven't gotten around to doing.
LEAVING THE DINING ROOM TABLE CLUTTERED
The dining room table is a common site for messes, and can create stress the instant you or your partner walk into the house. "Stress is decreased by maintaining a clear dining room table," says Greer. "Things [like clutter] raise stress and anxiety and can make one or both partners uncomfortable with the arrangement."
Though the dining room is a common place for messes, this same idea applies to other spaces in the home. Even if you claim to be relaxed when it comes to messes, disorganization can subconsciously cause you to feel frazzled — making you and your S.O. more prone to fights.
FLUORESCENT LIGHTING IN THE BEDROOM
While you probably don't have office-grade fluorescents beaming into your room, even a too-bright lamp can be off-putting for your love life.
"Get rid of fluorescent lighting — it's horribly unflattering and unsexy for everyone," says Benko. "Change out all bulbs for incandescent and install a dimmer."