9 tips for a romantic date night at home: no reservation required.


Let’s face it: Dining out on Valentine’s Day can be a downright turnoff — which is the last thing you want when you’re trying to canoodle with your special someone. Crowded restaurants, costly price hikes, uninspired prix-fixe menus and nightmarish reservation snafus can put a damper on anyone’s date night. On top of that, COVID safety requirements may add further complications for you and your sweetheart this year.

Luckily, a night on the town is far from a prerequisite for romance. There are arguably even more ways to sweep your sweetheart off their feet in the safety and comfort of your home. All you need is a little pre-planning, creativity and commitment. 

We’ve asked professional organizers, matchmakers and interior designers to share their best at-home date night ideas. Gratuity included.

Tip #1: Clutter kills the mood.

house cleaning before date nightA messy room isn’t good for much — and romance is at the top of that list. Clutter is linked to feelings of stress and anxiety, neither of which need to make an appearance on a date night at home. “Staying organized can help save time when preparing and keep things stress-free, so you can focus on spending quality time connecting with your partner,” says Ashley Murphy, co-founder of luxury home organizing company, NEAT Method

Pick up random items on the floor, tidy up counters, shelves and tabletops — and put everything away where it belongs. Opening up clear sightlines in your home will help you and your loved one kick back in a more comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. 

Next, get your gloves and disinfectants ready. A dirty home does not make for a cozy date night. A deep clean isn’t required (though if you have the time, go for it), but a good once-over to remove surface dirt is a must. 

If you plan to cook, pay close attention to the kitchen counters and stove. If date night’s going to be outside, sweep the patio or deck along with your table and chairs. Or simply leave it to the pros — contact a house cleaner in your area for a special Valentine’s Day cleaning. 

Related: How much does it cost to hire a house cleaner?

Tip #2: Set your mood lighting.

date night at home ambianceOn your date night, bring the lights down low for a warm, romantic glow. If you have dimmers, this is the time to use them — or if you’re entertaining outside, consider hanging some warm, white string lights.

Of course, some say there’s nothing more romantic than candlelight. “Nothing changes a room quicker” than candles, says Beth Martin, an interior designer based in Charleston, South Carolina. “They are relatively inexpensive, and your room will automatically feel special.” So break out candles of varying shapes, sizes and colors to attain a cozy, warm ambiance.

If you want to add some extra style and personality, decorate your space with items that highlight a certain color palette. You probably already have most of these items on hand.

“You might be surprised how many books, knickknacks and decor you already own that are red, pink or floral,” says Martin. Colorful books, flowers and framed photos of you and your partner together are a good start. Add textural elements that feel good to the touch, like soft pillows and blankets, a tablecloth and linen napkins. 

Tip #3: Turn notifications off.

couple having date dinner at homeYou may not think of your home as the most romantic setting because of everything you have to DO there. Maybe you work from home? Or you’re always taking care of the kids? Perhaps you have a renovation project going on.

Regardless of the reason, one thing’s for sure — home is not generally considered a distraction-free zone. If you’re turning your abode into your perfect Valentine’s Day venue, however, it needs to be — for just one night.

To keep distractions at bay, remove anything that can take your focus away from your significant other. “Put away children's toys and pet toys, get a babysitter, shut off your phones, ban ‘work talk’ for the evening, and focus on each other,” says Sandra Myers, a professional matchmaker and president of Select Date Society. This will help you and your partner create an atmosphere that’s relaxing and stress-free.

Tip #4: Personalize your playlist.

couple dancing to music during date night at homeAny date night at home needs a great soundtrack, so choose music that invites the kind of vibes you and your partner are going for. Check out Spotify for dozens of options across many genres, or get this cheat sheet of the best romantic playlists to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Include some of your true love’s favorites, and if the two of you have a special song, it’s a must.

If you really want to make it a night to remember, go all out. Hire a musician or band to come to your home for a special private performance. 

Tip #5: Create a feast for the senses.

cooking at home for date night inThe food is the centerpiece of just about any special occasion — and date night is no different. Plan a delectable, swoon-worthy dish especially for your loved one. Select their favorite appetizer, main course and dessert so they can revel in the gesture as well as the cuisine.

It can be hard to whip up a mind-blowing meal in one evening, so a little planning ahead will go a long way. If you’re short on time, try prepping anything you can the day before — or, give yourself a break on meal-prep altogether and guarantee culinary success by hiring a personal chef to create your favorites.

Don’t forget to throw in some dark chocolate, chocolate-covered strawberries or the chocolate treat of your choice. You simply can’t do Valentine’s Day without chocolate.

RelatedHow much does it cost to hire a personal chef?

Tip #6: Bring the restaurant ambiance to you.

recreate restaurant at home date night ideaIf you’re finding it tough to get a reservation on the busiest date night of the year, why not create the restaurant experience at home? Keep all the food, fun and fizz — but nix the travel, crowds and lines for the restroom. 

Call ahead to your partner’s favorite restaurant for takeout or delivery. Set out some candles, nice linens and a bottle of your favorite vino or bubbly to set the mood. If you don’t mind a few dishes, use the fancy plates and glassware.

Tip #7: Snuggle up, picnic-style.

date night idea living room picnicEver planned a romantic picnic for two, but the weather had other ideas? Bring the picnic indoors, and leave Old Man Winter out of the equation. Create a space on the living room floor with soft blankets and pillows. Prepare or pick up your favorite picnic foods — like fruit, sandwiches, wraps and crackers — or order a pizza and get a few appetizers to share. 

A picnic at home can be simple yet full of flavor. “You don't have to cook a gourmet meal,” says Myers. “Instead, make a simple charcuterie board with cheese, olives and bread.” And since you never left the comfort of home, cap the night off with a movie or whatever show you and your honey love to binge.

Tip #8: Nature is romantic.

date night idea outdoor patioThere’s something magical about enjoying a meal outdoors — especially if it’s with your special someone. Tidy up your backyard, terrace, patio or deck for a date night alfresco. February means chilly temps in most regions, so amp up the cozy factor with a fire pit, an outdoor heater — or just warm blankets, cozy pillows and body heat. Add candles and string lights for a soft glow, or create a camp theme and roast marshmallows. 

To add to your love story, just look up at the night sky. Learn about the constellations that tell the love story of Perseus and Andromeda in Greek mythology — and see if you can find other constellations on your own. 

Tip #9: Don’t stop at Valentine’s Day.

surprising wife with dinner madePlanning a romantic date night at home can be a memorable way to spend Valentine’s Day. But there’s no reason to limit it to once a year. A “just because” date night at home inspires instant romance for all seasons. 

Whenever you choose to celebrate, Murphy recommends preparing ahead of time to make the date easy and fun. “Keep a stocked ‘date night’ basket on hand with items for a charcuterie board, simple recipe ideas (or list of favorite delivery options), a pretty table setting for two, candles and a bottle of wine, so you are ready to surprise your sweetheart on a whim,” she says.

However you choose to make your indoor date night special for your one true Valentine, Thumbtack can help. Hire our pros to bring the romantic evening of your dreams to life.

Find local pros for your project

Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll show you pros right for the job, with prices.