How to pull off the ultimate stay-at-home date night
The winter months don’t lend themselves to great outdoor adventures. For most of us, it’s time to snuggle up on the sofa and spend long nights in watching classic movies and drinking a good bottle of wine.
Winter can also be a really expensive time of year, with Christmas gift buying, New Year’s Eve parties and increased energy bills all taking a toll on our wallets. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still arrange a romantic evening, even if you’re feeling the pinch. Think less Netflix, more games or home spa vibes.
If you need a bit of inspiration for a stay-at-home date night that will impress your other half without the need to leave the house or damage your bank balance, here are a few good ways to pull it off.
Think about your romantic theme
Movie nights are fine, but it’s nothing you won’t have done 1,000 times before. For your ultimate stay-at-home date night, think a little bigger. You could arrange a three-course candle-lit dinner, where the food and drink are themed to fit with a great holiday you’ve both had. You could have an indoor picnic with antipasti and card games, or paint along with Bob Ross via a streaming service.
From wine and cheese tastings to video game marathons, craft nights to blanket forts, the possibilities are almost endless. Ditching technology in favour of playing board games and card games can be a great way to reconnect – among lists of theme ideas, the option of creating a ‘fake powercut’ with nothing but candlelight is often suggested. Pretend the power is out, giving you a prime excuse to build a fort, light some candles, play guessing games and tell spooky stories in the dark.
If a spa experience is more your style, make sure there are fluffy robes and slippers at the ready. You could even schedule a champagne bubble bath into the equation! Or if you have a fireplace, why not toast marshmallows over it for a camp-out feel?
Set the mood with lighting and decor
It’s said that a change of scenery can be as good as a getaway, but how do you manage that when you aren’t leaving the house? Easy. Re-imagine your home as a rustic restaurant, a serene spa or other romantic setting.
If you have lights that can be dimmed then you’re at an advantage, but a simple alternative is good old-fashioned candlelight. Otherwise, fairy lights provide less of a fire hazard if your house is a little cluttered, and can also look just as great when the main lights go out.
Exactly what decor to opt for will be dictated by the activity or activities you’ve decided to instigate, but work on making your home feel a bit more magical than usual. You might want to dress the dinner table with flowers and scatter features, hang lanterns from picture hooks, or add aromatherapy oils to an oil burner for an additional sensory uplift.
To get the ambience just right, make sure you do at least a little advance planning. To truly nail a stay-at-home date night, everything needs to be just right; avoid running around at the last minute making compromises on decor if you can help it.
Be prepared with good food and drinks
Whether you’re cooking a lavish dinner from scratch, or laying on a kid’s-party-style mini buffet, it’s important to ensure that the food doesn’t let you down. If you don’t want to spend all night in the kitchen while your partner enjoys the romantic setting of another room, stock up on gourmet prepared foods that you can leave in the oven to cook while you enjoy pre-dinner drinks.
Tasting nights and picnic themes are really easy on this front, because you can just set out meats and cheeses, breads, dips, olives and other nibbles, to pick at as the evening goes on. To ensure that there’s still a sense of luxury, round off a simple spread with an extravagant dessert for afters.
Of course, food is only one part of the formula for a perfect date night. If you aren’t confident in picking the best bottle of wine from your local shop, or simply want to find something a bit more luxurious, the internet is here to help. Browse boutique wines online and think about what will work best with the meal you’re serving. If in doubt, pick a few potential winners so that your partner has options – you could even pair a different bottle with each course.
Decide whether or not to make it a surprise
Lastly, decide whether you’re going to get your partner involved in the planning, or if you want to surprise them with your loved-up night in when they get home. Planning a fun activity can be almost as enjoyable as actually doing it, but seeing the look on someone’s face when they discover a great surprise is also undeniably satisfying.
About the author: Tabby Farrar runs the travel and lifestyle blog JustCantSettle.com