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‘How To Build a Sex Room’ host Melanie Rose was ‘shocked’ by her job at first

On Netflix's "How to Build a Sex Room," the English designer works with couples to craft intimate spaces. Rose recalls her career origin story to TODAY.
Melanie Rose in "How to Build a Sex Room."
Melanie Rose in "How to Build a Sex Room."Netflix
/ Source: TODAY

With shows like “Dream Home Makeover” and the upcoming series “Designing Miami,” Netflix is leaning into their home and design content. But there's one niche market that they haven’t tapped into, until now: Sex rooms.

Enter English designer Melanie Rose, the host at the center of Netflix’s newest series “How To Build A Sex Room,” which hits the streaming platform on July 8. In the eight-episode season, Rose meets with couples who are hoping to enhance their sex lives by building a specific space for intimacy. 

As she explains in the premiere, Rose became an expert at designing sex rooms about 10 years ago.  

“Actually, I was approached by a client of mine and they asked if I had ever designed a sex room before. It was a bit shocking,” Rose told TODAY at a Netflix press event in Beverly Hills, Calif. “And I said, ‘No.’ And I thought about it. Went home. Did some research. And I thought, ‘Why not? Why wouldn’t I go and design a sex room?’”

"I thought, ‘Why not? Why wouldn’t I go and design a sex room?’”

Melanie Rose

She explained that bathrooms and kitchens require faucets, fixtures, cupboards and other typical items that are needed to bring the room together. But she realized during her first renovation experience that creating a sex room required her to think “outside the box."

She’s been hooked ever since, and has been designing these spaces for a decade.

On the show, viewers are introduced to a few couples all in the market for more intimate spaces — whether it's a designated sex room or a revamped bedroom, designed to feel more intimate.

Basically, Rose said, any room can be sex room. For Rose, a sex room can be describes any space “that is almost like a fantasy room, or a room that will give you an experience. That’s what makes it a little bit different from your regular rooms.”

Each episode of  “How To Build a Sex room” features multiple couples looking to elevate their sex lives. They typically begin by showing Rose their desired location for the room before chatting with her about their relationships, and how they want to improve their connection and intimacy. 

Rose is used to clients being open — but these transparent conversations don't usually unfold in front of cameras.

She revealed that her other clients — who do not appear on the Netflix series — have her sign NDAs “because of their profile and the jobs that they have,” preventing her from discussing specific details about previous renovations. 

However, Rose was able to briefly describe one of her most favorite rooms she ever created. It included padded walls fit for role-playing.

On the Netflix show, shortly after the initial introductions, Rose’s clients freely explain to her what they enjoy and what they are willing to experiment with. If a couple seems shy at first, their timidness doesn’t last too long. During each sit-down, Rose unveils a bag filled with sex toys and other items to help the couples feel more comfortable. 

"I’m not there to judge. I just want to give them the best experience.”

Melanie Rose

Her bag of toys isn’t the only thing that makes her clients feel at ease. Rose said that a big part of her charm is her English accent.

After clients hear her mention something risqué in a posh accent, she said, “Suddenly there’s this barrier of like, ‘Phew, I don’t have to hold anything back. I can talk to her obviously about everything.’”

Rose continued, “I don’t judge. I’m not there to judge. I just want to give them the best experience.”

(L to R) Melanie Rose, Taylor and Ajay in episode 101 of Netflix's "How To Build a Sex Room"
(L to R) Melanie Rose, Taylor and Ajay in episode 101 of Netflix's "How To Build a Sex Room"Netflix

The accent, combined with her big bag of toys, prompted client Taylor, who is featured in the first episode with her partner Ajay, refer to Rose as “the Mary Poppins of sex rooms.”

When asked about the moniker, Rose told TODAY, “I don’t mind that title at all, although I don’t think Disney would like it.”  

The bag isn’t a gimmick. It’s the method she uses to understand her clients’ boundaries and how they can better communicate about their sex lives. 

“I’m not just a sex room designer,” Rose said. “I hope (that) through this experience of designing these rooms I can bring couples closer (and) have them be able to talk about sex.”

Rose encouraged those who might be skeptical about the show’s content to watch it with their partner in order to spark a conversation. Just like her clients, she said viewers will hopefully learn that “it’s okay to talk about sex (without) being judged."

Rose said she hopes viewers finish each episode realizing, “It’s okay to go to a sex store and have a look around and buy some adult toys and bring them back into the bedroom,” Rose said. “Then, talk about it with your partner and take them too.”

Finally, in case the show inspires you to embark on an, err, interior design project, Rose has two important tips for creating a sex room: lighting is key and installing carpet is a major “no no.”

For Rose, the special quality of a sex room all comes down to ambience. “It’s why I use a lot of candles and a lot of light on dimmers," she said.