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How to Build Your Own Sex Room


When Netflix’s new show How to Build a Sex Room premiered on July 8, viewers had a whole lot of questions, starting with what, exactly, is a sex room? And who is this Julie Andrews-sounding lady telling us us how to build one? The titillating series—which is part home renovation, part sexual education—is hosted by interior designer Melanie Rose, aka the queen of all things eroticism. And honestly, if you’ve ever wondered how to build your very own sex room or designated sex space, well, let’s just say she’s incredibly qualified.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking: A whole sex room sounds…kind of intense. But a sex room doesn’t have to be the sex dungeon you’re probs imagining in your head. Also called “fantasy rooms,” Rose describes sex rooms as sacred spaces. “It’s a room where you can perhaps share an alternative lifestyle,” Rose says. And before you start to get full-on visions of Fifty Shades, “alternative lifestyle” doesn’t *just* means whips and chains (but like, you can totally have that, if that’s your thing). Instead, Rose says it’s simply a space that “widens your horizons [and] opens you up to more experiences.”

If you watched the series, you know that some of the sex rooms were, in fact, your classic dungeons, complete with St. Andrew’s crosses and spanking benches. But others were more serene, with spa-like ambiances and romantic interiors. The goal of a sex room is to ignite your senses, lean into the vibes that make you feel sensual, and help you have the best sex of your life, all from the comfort of your home.

Another thing you probably caught from the show was how different all the people who wanted fantasy rooms were. There were straight couples, gay couples, young couples, older couples, parents, polyamorous couples, and single folks. In fact, that’s what Rose stresses: Sex rooms aren’t for one type of person—they’re for everyone.

So if you’re ready to trade the vibrator in your bedside drawer for a complete sexy playground, you’re in luck. Rose gave us some exclusive tips and tricks for how to design the fantasy room of your dreams. Here’s what she had to say.

1. Prep your space.

      The first thing you need to do when building a sex room is figure out where to put said sex room. For some couples, this means turning their vast, unused basement into a sprawling fantasy room. For others, it means transforming a walk-in closet or their own bedroom into an erotically charged space. If you’re like me and have approximately zero extra space for anything (I literally keep my shoes in a rack behind my door), the latter is probably more likely.

      Whichever route you go—and however much square footage you have to work with—the first step in the Melanie Rose Process is to clean and organize. “You don’t want to be surrounded by clutter,” she explains. “How can you get sensual in a room that’s full of laundry? Your mind is not in the moment. Your mind is like, Oh, my God, I’ve got to put this away.” Distractions are pretty much an arousal ruiner, so clearing out the junk and finding better ways to store and organize your items is key. This way you won’t spend your time staring at the pile of clothes on the floor, and instead, can spend it with your eyes rolled toward the back of your head in ecstasy.

      2. Consider your aesthetics.

      While the show made it clear there’s no one set sex room aesthetic, you might still be unsure on how to land on your ideal sexy vibe. If you’re new to the whole concept (hi, pretty much all of us), this is the stage where things might feel overwhelming, but Rose suggests just thinking about what colors and textures you like. Look around your house, peek in your closet, and see what tones you naturally gravitate toward. Chances are those are the ones that make you feel good.

      Naturally, hues like black, red, and purple are pretty popular, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to strictly “classic” sex colors. If you love a clean white look, Rose suggests adding in lots of texture to the wallpaper and floor. If you want an outdoor aesthetic with greens and browns, think sensual additions like a water feature, succulents, and feathers to up the sultry vibe. Faux fur, velvet, and leather are all your friends here, so have fun with it!

      3. Explore a lil kink.

      Wondering where the sex comes into the sex room? It usually starts with Rose’s little bag of tricks. When sitting down with a new couple, one of the first things the designer does is pull out her purse full of kink-related toys. She then gives her customers the chance to touch, talk, and ask questions relating to the different items in an effort to see what sort of desires they might have simmering below the surface.

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      Since sex rooms are all about opening up new sexual worlds, exploring the types of sex you might be interested is v important. Rose says this is a crucial step because oftentimes, even couples who think they have very vanilla sex lives usually find something new that peaks their interest, like impact play or role play. But unless you’ve hired Rose and she’s sitting in your living room with some tea and some sex toys (lucky!), you’ve gotta DIY this step. Her suggestion is simple: Go to a sex store.

      “Take your partner and really look at the different types [of toys] you’ve got in front of you,” she says. Touch the leather floggers, give each other little slaps with riding crops, feel the coolness of some metal handcuffs, and don’t be afraid to ask the person working the store any questions you have—they’ve honestly heard it all. If that idea sounds daunting, just try to view this outing as a fun date. Have a cocktail, get dressed up, and explore the aisles at your leisure.

      And uh, just an important little note about consent: “Nobody should be pushed into something they are not willing to do,” Rose stresses. This is an all-the-time, forever kind of thing. “If you’re going into the harder end of BDSM, or even if you’re just delving into new territory, consent is the word of the day.” If your partner is interested in something that you aren’t, talk about it! “You’re going to find you’ll meet in the middle with some agreement on something,” Rose says, so keep the lines of communication open and the consent flowing, ya feel?

      4. Invest in some (quality) sex toys.

      Once you’ve done a lil sexual exploring, it’s time to buy some toys and sexcessories for your space. While you can purchase them at the sex store (because you did go on your required outing, right?!), you could also buy some items online after getting an idea of your sexual taste. To help you narrow down the options, Rose says pretty much all couples—whether heterosexual or not—can benefit from vibrators. Since most people with vaginas *need* clitoral stimulation to reach climax, the extra sensation a vibrator supplies might just be the trick to getting that big O.

      If you’re new to the world of sex toys (welcome, we’re so glad you’re here), you might not have realized just how many different types of vibrators there are. From vibrators that mimic oral sex to classic wand vibrators that give you a deep, rumbly sensations, there’s a vibe for every itch. The best beginner vibrators usually focus on external stimulation that’s easy to use solo or with a partner. If you want something you both can enjoy, try a vibrating cock ring or a remote-controlled vibrator.

      Whatever you decide, Rose suggests steering clear of ultra-cheap toys since they a) might not be made with body-safe materials and b) won’t last as long. She suggests middle-of-the-road options or even splurging on something luxurious (her fave high-end brand is Lelo) because yes, you deserve it.

      Oh, and in case you—like every couple on the show—have a sex swing on your mind, Rose cautions you before nailing it up. “If you are going to install anything with suspension, make sure it goes into a ceiling joist. Otherwise, you’re going to have trouble.” It’s best to get a pro involved to avoid any potential pain…or at least any pain you didn’t plan on.

      5. Don’t forget your budget.

      Love the idea of a sex room but don’t have the cash or space to opt for a complete remodel? Totally fine. Rose says there are plenty of ways to get that erotic vibe without maxing out your cards or replacing your kitchen with a sex dungeon.

      One of the easiest places to sexify is your bedroom, and it can actually be done pretty simply. Naturally, you need to first organize and get things in order. Find a space for your toys and lingerie. Tuck your hamper away. Move as much clutter as you can out of the space. Then Rose suggests adding a feature wall to quickly change up the energy of the room. Whether painted or with wallpaper (there’s peel and stick which is *chef’s kiss* for rentals), it’s a simple and low-cost way to revamp your space. After that, she says to switch out your bedding (yes, this is the time to get those million thread count sheets), whip out your scented candles, and add in some textured throws or pillows. “Make it as romantic and sensual as possible,” she says.

      Finally, add in something new, like under-the-bed restraints (most are discrete, velcro, and easy to install) or a sex wedge to give a novel concept without dedicating a whole room or second mortgage to a sex space.

      Ultimately, whether you opt for a full-on sex room or just up the eroticism of your current sitch, Rose says the most important thing is to relax, be in the moment, and enjoy.

      “Approach it with an open mind and have some fun with it,” she says. At the end of the day, sex room or no sex room, it’s all about feeling good and connecting, whether that’s with your partner(s) or with yourself.

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