How to Build a Sex Room’s Melanie Rose Offers Design Tips

Each episode of Netflix’s new design series How to build a sex roomThe conversation begins when Melanie Rose, interior designer and host, sits down with clients to talk about their sexual needs. She often gets the conversation started by digging into her little bag of tricks, leading some to call her the “Mary Poppins of sex rooms.” Instead of a spoonful of sugar or useful household items, Rose’s bag is filled with sex toys, including a pair of handcuffs, a flogger, and a butt plug. “Bless butt plugs!” Rose tells TIME. “When I come out with a stainless steel butt plug I know they will be shocked by it. But I want that reaction, I want to see what they’re used to or haven’t tried yet.”

Rose understands that some might find Rose’s sexual honesty shocking, especially those who blush when she mentions the show’s title. “But that’s the thing I’m trying to dispel through the series,” she says. “Just because somebody has a sex room, isn’t a reason to judge. You might want to be a little bit envious of them.”

How to build a sex roomIs less Confessions of a Taxicab Driver More Queer EyeAnyone who wants to discover their sexuality. “I’m trying to create experiences for people, to get them in that mood,” says Rose.

When it comes to designing a sex room, Rose, who has worked with people to make what she calls “sacred spaces” for about 10 years, doesn’t stick to any hard and fast rules. She has never designed the same room twice because no couples’ kinks are ever the same. However, she did share some design advice that makes for pretty good sex advice, too: “It’s there for enjoyment and if you get it right the first time, that’s great,” she says. “And if it takes a few tries, that’s fine as well. Just have fun.” Below, Rose shares her dos and don’ts for making sure your sex room (or whatever room you’re having sex in) will get you in the mood.

Don’t forget to make your bed

Rose advises that you see your bed as soon as you enter a bedroom. It needs to be the focal point so that it “stimulates the feeling of, ‘Oh my god, I want to get between those sheets!” In some ways, it’s just science. “The brain sees something really beautiful and sensual and you’ll gravitate towards it,” she says. “You’re not going to gravitate to one that’s unmade and doesn’t look very nice.” It’s why she believes that the easiest way to turn your sex room or bedroom into a pleasure palace is to simply make your bed everyday. “Change out the bed linens, put some throw cushions on there,” she suggests. “Get a lovely throw to put on there so when you go to bed, it’s more of an erotic experience.”

When you don’t have a designated room for sex, Rose says you have to be more mindful of what you’re bringing into your bedroom. You don’t want to risk ruining the mood. You don’t want to ruin the mood by using a heavy, four-post bed or a huge flatscreen. However, a fluffy rug around your area and keeping your sex toys on a nearby nightstand might stimulate it. Depending on your interest in BDSM, the type of bed you select might be a factor. “I might bring in a specialized bondage bed if you’re going to be restrained or hanging from it,” she says. “But some just need a bed that they can snuggle up in.”

A scene taken from Netflix’s How to Build a Sex Room’.

Netflix – Courtesy

Expand your sexy horizons

When it comes to adult toys, Rose has found that couples often “stay hard-nosed to certain items,” which she believes is a real shame. “The adult toys industry is always coming up with something new and exciting,” she says, which is why visiting your local sex shop is “like going into a candy store.” You might already know what you like, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you want. “There are some people who are like, ‘I don’t need those toys, I have my fingers,’” she says. “Well, carry on with your fingers, but don’t be afraid to try something a little bit different, a little bit more erotic. Go into an adult toy store, do some research and explore.”

Rose thinks every room must have at least one vibrator. “I think it’s a misnomer that if someone’s using a vibrator, the partner’s going to be redundant,” she says. “In essence, the partner should be getting off on it, just as their other partner is getting off on it.” For those looking to take things up a notch, she suggests glass dildos or butt plugs. “When you say glass people are like, ‘Is that going to shatter inside me?’ No,” she says. “It’s made of pyrex so you can keep it hot and cold for a bit of temperature play.”

Don’t be afraid of wallpaper

Rose thinks wallpaper has suffered a terrible rape over the years. “You say wallpaper to someone when designing a sex room and they go, ‘Oh my god, wallpaper! It’s going to be flowery!” she says. But today’s wallpaper isn’t your grandma’s wallpaper. “You don’t have to go about mixing glue and pasting it up. They’ve now come up with peel-and-stick for those living in a rented apartment,” she says. “And oh my god, the right wallpaper adds so much choice!”

The interior designer describes herself as “a very touchy-feely person, not with other people I don’t know, but with fabrics,” and often uses textured wallpaper to give couples a more sensory experience. There are many other interior designers. How to Create a Sex Room Wallpapers she had used included faux crocodile wallpaper, leather velveteen and faux crocodile wallpaper. She also used a black sisal which is a weaved fabric that’s often used to scratch cats. “It’s got a nitty gritty feel so I sometimes use it where all the BDSM toys are, where all the action happens,” she says. “But it looks luxurious.”

Do not add shock value

Rose adds whimsy to every space she designs. She hopes it will be a delight for the clients. Rose may add boudoir photography or sensual paintings from dripping orchards to the design, as well as penis-shaped hooks. She is a fan of the latter. How to Create a Sex Room. Why? “Because it’s a penis!” she says. “People don’t expect it.” She was actually surprised Netflix let her use so many different shapes and sizes of penises on the show. Her favorite being a set of “big beautiful bronze ones that look like works of art to me,” she says. “Thank you Netflix, for letting those come with me.”

Often, the penis hooks are so well placed that it takes clients a minute to realize that the decorative items they’re admiring are actually hanging phalluses. “I like when people go, ‘Oh, look at that! And then it hits them, ‘Oh my god, that’s a penis!’” That’s why Rose wants her clients to remember that these sensual pieces aren’t only functional, they can be quite decorative. “Something like a stainless steel butt plug could be used as a paper weight and it will have people go, ‘Oh, what’s this?’” she says. “These pieces, especially the more expensive luxury item toys, are absolutely works of art.”

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