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 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
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.
Turn Off Distractions
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.
Freshen Your Sheets
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 a relaxed linen look in a light hue and perfect your hotel-style tuck to make your bed five-star worthy.
Add Simple Flowers
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.
Run a Hot Bath
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.
Have Robes Ready
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.
Hang Suggestive Art
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.
Light a Fire
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.
Turn the Lights Down Low
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.
Looking to escape for a romantic getaway instead? This is where you should stay.