Romantic style is seductive, but never vulgar. It’s soft without being saccharine, feminine without frills, and swashbuckling without the glint of steel. Fabrics and drapes are the very essence of a romantic ambiance, yet there are many different ways of achieving the style.

A romantic interior should be flattering and inviting at first acquaintance, and then retain the interest through little touches of wit and the unexpected. A sense of mystery and magic is hard to achieve when decorating a room, but many of these designers have been able to do just that, conjuring up a mellow mood with paint, paper, and cloth, But the one thing they all have in common is the ability to know when to stop, before the effects become excessive.

Curtains and wall hangings are an important part of the romantic look. Interiors are swathed in soft, sensuous fabrics with perfect little finishing touches. Agnes Comar used a wonderful simile in her interview when she said that for her, curtains are the maquillage of a room — and “make-up” sounds so much better in French! Romance is all about putting on the style and making the best of oneself. Romantic also equates with generosity for a style that uses a lot of fabric, layers and, in many cases, a lot of color.

I hope I haven’t given the impression that romance is all about looking back to period interiors that take their inspiration from fairy tales, because it is perfectly possible to be modern and eclectic yet still romantic. The layers make the style work for me, as does the abundance; together these characteristics conspire to create a sense of mystery.