Romance in Architecture: From Courtships to Courtyards


Next week is Valentine’s Day, a holiday steeped in the celebration of romance and love. The tradition began in the 14th century and in the 18th century, lovers began exchanging gifts such as flowers to proclaim their courtship. 

With the celebration of love upon us, it seems only fitting to highlight romantic elements in architecture. Design, both inside and outside the home, can articulate a distinct and timeless feeling of romance. 

Upon Arrival

A residence’s arrival sequence is the first opportunity to introduce romantic themes. Grand, curving covered archways or even a porte-cochère, intimate portals and pergolas all provide an appealing start to a sequence of encounters and elicit a feeling of anticipation for what’s to come. Traversing a grassy tree-lined allée accented with beautiful plantings can frame and enhance the experience, while visual moments such as gardens or elements of surprise like sculpture or water features can add to the romantic sensibility.

On the Exterior

While the approach is important, exterior elements can also play a meaningful role in establishing a romantic tone. A gently sloping roof, charming window boxes, or a welcoming wrap-around porch all create memorable architectural moments that tug at the heartstrings of memory.

Lighting can also add romance; warm lighting that shines throughout the property on both the interior and exterior can be set such that it glows and radiates romance without overwhelming the property with glaring too-bright hues.

Inside the Home

Of course, a property’s interior can exude meaningful romance as well. Arched openings, reclaimed beams, and coffered ceilings are varied forms that can each project romance in their own way. Rich wood paneling or wainscoting can have a similar effect. Other times, the intimate design of a sitting area a window seat with a stunning view, or a quiet nook filled with custom built-ins and books can elicit a similar response.

Personalized Details

The saying goes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the essence of romance in architecture is no different. Spaces designed for personal experiences like French Doors that open to a hidden garden, a secluded primary dressing room suite, or a private balcony with a breathtaking view can each elicit romantic sensibility depending on the homeowner’s preferences. Depending on taste, the alluring arch of a Palladian window, a Juliet balcony, or the curve of a handrail each holds the possibility of architectural romance.

If thoughts of these details have you reconsidering your own residence, contact us to learn how we might approach the project. In the interim, we invite you to find meaningful inspiration in our portfolio.