Valentine’s Day is fast approaching—but plans might look a little different this year. Instead of a fancy dinner out, many couples are opting for a date night in. But for some, that can feel like a bit of a let-down. After all, how can you make Valentine’s Day dinner (or any date night dinner, for that matter) feel special, when you spend night after night together at home?
All it takes is a bit of creativity and planning ahead! With a few decor swaps and some rearranging, you can make an at-home date night or celebration feel just as special as a night on the town. So, whether it’s Valentine’s Day, a Galentine’s get-together, or an upcoming birthday, anniversary, or special milestone, we have the tips you need to elevate your night in.
Read on for a round-up of simple tips and small decor shifts to take you from a regular dinner at home to a very special, thoughtful date night in.
1. Tidy Up
Key to making date night feel different from any old evening? A clean home. After all, your favorite restaurant doesn’t have dirty dishes in the sink or toys strewn about the floor, does it? Elevate the vibe of your space by giving it a good clean! So, either the night before or day-of, give yourself some time to tidy up your space so that when dinner time comes around you can sit back and relax.
2. Bust Out the Fancy Stuff
Do you have special dishes, glasses, or cutlery that you only use when you have company over or on major holidays? Well, consider this the perfect opportunity to bust out that special occasion tableware. Use your nice dishes, your best serveware and flatware, and your favorite wine glasses. Have a decanter or wine chiller collecting dust at the back of your cabinet? Date night is the perfect time to elevate your drink presentation as well! Pour your red wine into a decanter for serving at the table, or keep your white wine or champagne chilled, tableside.
Stylist Tip: If you and your partner have a favorite restaurant, try to recreate the vibe of that space at home! Bring in decorative elements and tabletop pieces that visually resemble the restaurant’s ambiance and style.
3. Create Some Ambiance
Nothing says “there’s nothing special happening here” like bright, unflattering overhead lighting on date night. So, make sure you create some ambiance before settling in for dinner! Dim (or entirely turn off) your overhead lighting and light some candles! You can go with tapers, a trio of pillar candles, or even a few flameless votives. Want a little more light? Consider investing in a mood-setting new lamp to place on a buffet or console table!
But ambiance isn’t just about lighting. Queue up some background music, too! Bonus points if it’s on vinyl, played on a nearby turntable.
4. Arrange Some Fresh Flowers
A simple floral bouquet or vase of fresh greenery will help enliven the mood and serve as a beautiful centerpiece while you dine. Want your space to feel even more special? Scatter a few different arrangements of florals and greenery around your room—from the table to a buffet and even your bar cart. (More on that next!)
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5. Prep Your Bar Cart
Plan ahead for what you want to drink on date night, whether that’s a fancy cocktail or mocktail, or some celebratory bubbles. Make sure your bar cart is stocked and styled with the necessities. From there, take it to the next level by sprinkling in little moments of delight that will make mixing drinks feel extra special—like a vase of fresh flowers, flickering candles, a decanter, and perhaps a book of love poems!
No bar cart? No problem. Here are 7 ways to create an impromptu bar!
6. Consider Setting Up Somewhere Special
If having dinner at your dining table feels too “everyday,” consider setting up your dinner or appetizers elsewhere in your home. Don’t be afraid to dine in your living room by the fireplace (how cozy!), lounging by your sofa, or even at your eat-up kitchen counter if you want to recreate the vibe of your favorite bar! (What is it about sitting side-by-side on barstools that feels so romantic?) Any of these relocations will help your date night feel different than the ordinary day-to-day scene.
Stylist Tip: If you set up in your living room, consider swapping in a few special throw pillows and extra cozy blankets to up the cozy and romantic vibe of your space!
Want to give your home’s design some love?