See more of the story

Romance novelists are constantly cooking up ways to make fictional settings zing with chemistry — imbuing a kitchen's surfaces with all kinds of potential once tensions boil over, or evoking the warmth and smell of a fireplace as a symbol for how one character makes another feel.

That's why, when it comes to making your own home the setting of an epic romance, we could think of no better contingent to ask for advice.

Of course, while the herein guidance can enhance a connection, it can't create one that doesn't otherwise exist. "I could have all the rose petals in the world, but if you weren't feeling the person or y'all are in a fight or whatever, then the candles and the rose petals make absolutely no sense," says Tracey Livesay, most recently the author of "The Duchess Effect."

Fill your home with personal details

If you're trying to feel out a connection with someone new, romance authors predict it will help to incorporate your interests and personal history into your decor.

Think about it from the perspective of a potential paramour. "When you go into someone's house for the first time, you're totally paying attention to all of the little details," says romance writer Cat Sebastian, most recently the author of "We Could Be So Good." "And if you're interested in somebody, you're going to pay attention even more," she says. Details like whether they have books — and which books in particular — can point to potential areas of connection … or incompatibility.

For authors, describing a character's home is a great opportunity to show, rather than tell, the reader about them. "When I'm thinking about spaces for characters, they're often … these interesting extensions of the character development I'm trying to do," especially their bedrooms, says romance author Nikki Payne, whose latest book, "Sex, Lies and Sensibility," came out this month. "Does the main character keep clothes under the bed to seem more neat, or are there still high school trophies from their high school days?" Those details illuminate elements of a character more effectively than just stating an adjective.

In real life, if your companion shows an interest in the baubles on your shelf or other details you've included in your space, you can likely take that as a positive development: "There's something really romantic about somebody noticing the effort you went to," says Tessa Bailey, most recently the author of "Fangirl Down."

Think beyond just how the space looks

To make a space feel more romantic, our experts advise paying attention to the other senses, too. Romance novels often set the mood by describing how a character or place smells. Livesay applies the technique in her own life by keeping her favorite lotions and other scented products in the bedroom, which waft into the air when she uses them.

Also consider the comfort level of the space. The cushier your furniture, for instance, the better it is for establishing intimacy. "There [are] couches that you sink into and couches that you sit on," says director and writer Yulin Kuang, whose debut novel, "How to End a Love Story," publishes in April. If you're aiming to help your partner feel at ease around you, the former is preferable.

Blankets, blankets, blankets (and other fabrics, too)

Don't underestimate the value of filling your space with items that are a pleasure to touch. Livesay is a "big fabric person," she says, so the beds in her books have high thread counts and sumptuous duvets. "Those bed linens are going to be lush and soft and comfortable. That is going to make whatever happens there better."

Kuang agrees that "lush" fabrics are crucial, noting that luxurious materials such as silk and taffeta are often used in historical romances. Which isn't to say that more modern fabrics can't be sexy, too: "The fabrics that get called attention to, at least in my work," she says, "are probably linen, and maybe chiffon if I'm feeling frisky."

For Sebastian, warmth and coziness play a big role — so much so that she searches all her manuscripts before submitting them for the words "warm" and "cozy," just to make sure she hasn't overused them. She says it was recently pointed out to her that "I talk about blankets a lot" in her books. "I love blankets in real life, I like them in books, and I want one on every surface in my house and also on every surface I write about." Part of the reason? They create opportunities to show that you care about someone else's needs: "You can … put a blanket on someone else," in a loving gesture.

Incorporate flattering, exciting lighting

When Bailey is crafting a scene in a bedroom, "my number one concern is lighting," she says. "If it's really well lit, I'm not going to get into that mood. I need it to be dim. I need it to be lamp lit. … Maybe the character has Christmas lights or fairy lights on their ceiling — something that adds a touch of whimsy."

Soft lighting, rather than the harsh glare of overhead lights, "makes you feel sexier," Bailey says. "It makes you feel free to try something new."

You can also take advantage of natural lighting. In Mazey Eddings' forthcoming book, "Late Bloomer," one of the first love scenes happens during golden hour, in a room with several mirrors that can bounce around that "sense of goldenness, or warmth or protection," she says.

Lighting can also feel transportive, turning an otherwise normal space into something more thrilling. Kuang used to have a neon light fixture in her bedroom, "which was kind of fun as a mood element because you could turn it on and suddenly I would be like, 'Oh my god, we're in a Wong Kar Wai movie.'" Neon or otherwise, she recommends incorporating some kind of lighting that conjures an immersive atmosphere with the flick of a switch.

And don't forget about the classic glow of candles, which can work just about anywhere in a pinch. Romance novelist Rosie Danan's most recent book, "Do Your Worst," takes place in a crumbling Scottish castle. In one scene, the leads make one of the rooms romantic by bringing in candles and other simple touches. "They make it a room that facilitates romantic connection in a way that the space itself wouldn't have," she says.

Create areas to connect and interact

If you want to be close to someone, make sure the design of your home isn't keeping you apart. "When you look at your shared spaces, are you intentionally creating points of interaction?" Danan asks. Often, creating spots that better facilitate conversation and connection is just a matter of making small changes.

"If you have an island in the kitchen, does it have stools where people can sit and linger while someone else cooks?" Danan continues. "[What about] your couch? Is it overwhelmed by throw pillows? Could you remove some of those and actually make the prospect of sitting together more inviting? Those kinds of questions are, I think, how a romance writer is going to approach a scene."