Home Improvement with Heart — Just in Time for Valentine’s Day

Roses are red; violets are blue — here are romantic improvements that add value, too.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day: home improvement ideas to make you and your home feel, look, and sound sexier.

The sensual shower

What makes your honey feel better than a long, soothing shower? (OK. It’s a rhetorical question.) But showering exactly the way you want it is a little luxury that can set the mood for a lot of love.

Programmable showers ($290 to $3,500) let you digitally determine water temperature, pressure, even type of spray. Pulsating, anyone?

And if you want things to get a little steamy in the bedroom, start in the bathroom with a steam shower ($7,000 to $10,000). You’ll need space to put the steam generator — an adjacent closet will do — and you’ll have to make your shower airtight to trap the steam. Or you can buy a prefab unit ($1,000 to $5,000) that you can install yourself or hire a pro to do the wet work ($500 to $1,000).


Squeaky clean

We know you’ll want to be extra clean and coiffed for Valentine’s Day night, so get ready for the fun with an electronic toilet seat that washes and warms, plays music, and sprays pleasant scents.

A couple of years ago, these deluxe seats were hard to come by. Now, big box stores around the country sell these bathroom accessories that fit on top of your toilet ($150 to $600). They come with a host of features, some with slow-closing lids and germ-resistant seats.

If you want to go whole hog, buy complete high-tech toilets that also include LED lights for late night bathroom breaks and no-touch flush ($450 to $1,100).


Dim the lights

Help romance along by avoiding harsh overhead lights and instead installing dimmers on bedroom lights ($16 to $38) or just replacing a few lamps with lower wattage bulbs.

Not only will dim lighting set the mood, but lowering brightness extends the life of bulbs, saving energy and money — and what’s sexier than that?


Surround yourself with sound

Isn’t it romantic to listen to music in the dining room, bedroom, even the bath?

You can go high-end — and high-effort — and have a sound specialist install whole-house sound, which entails running speaker wires through ceilings and walls ($700 to $2,700 per room), and hooking up a pair of speakers ($100 to $2,000 each pair).

Or, you can save some money and install a wireless system yourself. The music is distributed by a computer and sent via router into small player boxes in each room ($400 per room). This DYI project takes a couple of hours.


Fireplaces turn up the heat

Lounging by the fireplace on Valentine’s Day, sipping champagne, eating chocolate-covered strawberries is a dream celebration. But, let’s get down to earth and just settle for the fire.

If you already have a wood-burning fireplace, sweep it out and perform chimney maintenance so your V-Day doesn’t go up in flames.

If you’re missing a place for flames, you could go all out and add a fireplace. If you have a wood-burning fireplace one but never use it because of the hassle, you can retrofit with a gas fireplace insert that gives you light and heat with just a flick of a switch ($3,000 to $4,000).

Or, if you’re in a hurry, install a plug-in, electric fireplace that supplies a realistic-looking flame and even heat. Installation is a DIY project. Your biggest hassle will be selecting the location — along a wall or stand-alone — and picking the most romantic-looking mantle surround or fireplace shelf (with mantle package $800 to $1,600).