Transform Your Home Into a Romantic Haven (That Isn't Cheesy)

There are major advantages to spending Valentine's Day cozied up at home. You don't have to brave the frigid sub-zero February temps or the overcrowded understaffed restaurants bursting with balloons and champagne. You don't have to pay a premium for a set menu that's nowhere near as good as à la carte. You avoid the airport lines or traffic jams of quick romantic getaways, and a sweatpants dress code is entirely acceptable. The danger with this very enticing option is to spend the night in the exact same setting doing the very same thing you would on any other given weeknight—eating pizza on the couch while watching Westworld. Not quite the vision of a romantic evening for two…

So how do you avoid monotony while also steering away from the clichés every '90s movie has taught us: red satin sheets, scattered rose petals, Boyz II Men on the stereo? The secret is simply executed little details. Turn up the romance sans Barry White with these elevated Valentine's Day tips for the modern couple.

Heighten All Senses

flowers and a candle for romantic ambience
ACP/Trunk Archive

No need to lay out the bed of red rose petals on Valentine's Day, but you also don't want your home to feel stiff or disorganized. To set the mood, light your favorite scented candle, add a few sheepskin throws around, and make your space clean and enticing.

Byredo Loose Lips Scented Candle
Byredo Loose Lips Scented Candle $80

Turn Off Distractions

a romantic candle-filled fireplace and a bouquet of roses
Joyelle West for Homepolish

Game of Thrones blasting in the background is hardly the tone you want to set for a romantic evening. Turn off all electronics and light a few candles instead. Only your favorite romantic Spotify playlist is allowed—but try a premium membership to skip the ads! While you're at it, clear your space of other distractions like unpaid bills and dirty dishes. The last thing you want on your romantic Valentine's date is to start stressing about everyday life.

CB2 Pillar Candle
CB2 Pillar Candle $10

Freshen Your Sheets

a bed with fresh sheets
Courtesy of Fantastic Frank

No, we're not talking red, black or maroon satin sheets—but if your bedding is due for an upgrade, there really is no better time. Try a soft percale or relaxed linen look in a light hue and perfect your hotel-style tuck to make your bed five-star worthy.

Parachute Linen Venice Set
Parachute Linen Venice Set $399

Add Simple Flowers

a living room with flowers
Douglas Friedman/Trunk Archive

Skip the dozens of red roses or the mixed bouquet from the corner bodega, and opt for a bunch of sculptural proteas or amaryllis blooms for a clean modern look. Fresh flowers are always a joy to have at home, and some varieties don't have to scream '80s slow dance music video.

Bloom That Insta-Great Bouquet
Bloom That Insta-Great Bouquet $48

Run a Hot Bath

a bathroom with clawfoot tub
Thomas Loof/Trunk Archive

Running a steamy bath isn't cliché unless it's in a triangular spa bath with mirrored ceilings. In other instances, it's just really enjoyable. Stock up on seriously luxe bath products (not bubble gum–flavored bubbles from the dollar store). What you save on a dinner night out on Valentine's Day, you can splurge on a luxe bath experience.

Susanne Kaufmann Mallow Blossom Bubble Bath
Susanne Kaufmann Mallow Blossom Bubble Bath $70

Have Robes Ready

a bathroom with robes
Courtesy of Artist Residence

If you do opt for the long hot bath, have plush robes at the ready. To replicate the luxe hotel look, choose them in a crisp white shade. Having them monogrammed will add an extra-special touch to the occasion.

Williams-Sonoma Solid Hydrocotton Robe With Piping
Williams-Sonoma Solid Hydrocotton Robe With Piping $129

Hang Suggestive Art

a bedroom with suggestive art
Courtesy of Fantastic Frank

Time to leave subtlety behind. Nothing sets the mood in the bedroom quite like provocative art (and new lingerie). Keep it in good taste with black-and-white photography or a beautiful line drawing. 

'Kiss 6' by Deerdana
Deerdana 'Kiss 6' $280

Light a Fire

a fireplace with a roaring fire
Nicole Franzen

If you have a fireplace, now's the time to use it. If you don't, a simple scented candle will do—no need to set your place on fire with a million votives. Accessorize the occasion with plenty of soft throws and cozy pillows.

Cire Trudon Spiritus Sancti
Cire Trudon Spiritus Sancti $15

Turn the Lights Down Low

a bedroom with the lights turned low
Brittany Ambridge

No one feels the romance in a room that's lit like a dentist's office. Turn off all overhead lighting and use only lamps and sconces at eye level. If your light sources are not on dimmers—and by the way, they should be—turn them off entirely, and set the mood with candles instead.

Louis Poulsen Lighting AJ Wall Sconce
Louis Poulsen Lighting AJ Wall Sconce $760

Looking to escape for a romantic getaway instead? Here are ideas of where to stay.

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