The familiar saying goes: “Home is where the heart is.” With that in mind, why venture elsewhere for Valentine’s Day? While some may hustle for dinner reservations and plan costly getaways, you can unwind and savor a romantic evening in the embrace of your own home.
Whether you’re hosting Valentine’s Day in your home in Minneapolis, MN, an apartment in Des Moines, IA, or turning your cozy abode into a heartwarming retreat in any other part of the country, the key is to commit to doing something thoughtful – like an online cooking class, a cozy rom-com binges, or turning up the competition with games.
For those in search of inspiration, this Redfin article features some of the most memorable at-home Valentine’s Day ideas to transform your stay-in celebration into the most romantic experience of the year.
1. Prep for the celebration
Get ahead for Valentine’s Day by prepping everything beforehand to ensure a seamless celebration without last-minute stress.
Have everything set beforehand
Michelle Williams, food blogger of Coffee And Champagne recommends cooking together in a curated, thoughtful way, which requires some planning. She says, “There is a fine line between thoughtful and lazy when it comes to a cooking date, so make sure that there is no mistaking how incredibly romantic you are. First, have your table set before your loved one walks into the room.”
“Put out your dishes, napkins, wine glasses, and candles. Next, make a dessert you know they love ahead of time to show that you’ve already taken the time to make something. After, buy all of the ingredients for your dinner and have them portioned out — mis-en-place — for an easy tandem cooking process. Lastly, buy two great bottles of wine — one to enjoy together while cooking and the other one should pair well with your dinner,” explains Williams.
Show your love leading up to Valentine’s Day
Unlike many other holiday celebrations, Valentine’s Day comes and goes quickly since it’s only one day of festivities. Make the most of the season by sharing the love a few days before the 14th.
Lifestyle blogger, Krystals Mind Blog weighs in on this topic. “Valentine’s Day is all about sharing love and sometimes the simplest acts can form lasting memories. To make this year’s Valentine’s Day special, cut out cute, little paper hearts and write down what you love about your person on them. Leave the hearts in intentional places where they will see them throughout their day, such as the dashboard of their car, their favorite coffee mug, their hair brush, etc. Do this leading up to Valentine’s Day to give that person something to look forward to.”
Decorate with handmade crafts
For Valentine’s Day, the best heart decorations are the ones you make by hand. According to Wendy Lattof, Owner of Create & Escape Creative Studio, “One way is to incorporate heart-shaped decor pieces throughout your home, such as heart-shaped photo frames or a gallery wall adorned with photos of your loved ones. If you’re feeling crafty, consider creating your love-themed DIY projects – perhaps a heart-shaped wreath for your front door or a banner for the living room.”
2. Build an unforgettable bouquet
What would Valentine’s Day be without flowers? Learn how to design a personalized bouquet that suits your needs and your loved one’s desires.
Opt for dried florals
“Dried florals have become very popular and the best thing about them is that they can last for years,” explains City Scents Floral & Home. “They can also make a space feel more modern and elegant. Start with a few tall elements, like pampas grass or branches. Add some texture and color, using things like preserved or dyed eucalyptus. Let the setting define the character of the piece and don’t overthink – have fun with it.”
Choose two or three varieties
Make sure to mix it up to add more visual interest to your creation. “Adding flowers to your home can make it feel more welcome and inviting,” says Fleur de Lis Florist. “You don’t want to place them directly in the sunlight and be sure to refresh the water every other day. Pick two or three varieties that you like and arrange them in three stem clusters. Use vibrant colors to contrast with neutral decor to make a big impact.”
Pair unexpected colors
Don’t be afraid of colors you wouldn’t expect to see together, like oranges and pinks or deep blues and purples.
“Any variety or color of flowers will bring life and beauty to your home and can accentuate any decor, shares Josef Reiter, owner of Botanica Floral Design, a carefully curated floral, plant and lifestyle boutique in Portland, OR. But you can create different moods and vibes by the color(s) of flowers you choose. A monochromatic palette brings a soothing, relaxing vibe while a mix of bright colors will add a touch of fun and energy. There are an infinite number of beautiful color combinations to create so don’t be afraid to experiment and pair some unexpected colors together and see what happens.”
3. Begin the night with a themed cocktail
Indulge in the romantic spirit of Valentine’s Day with a delightful array of themed cocktails crafted to add a touch of love and flavor to your celebration at home.
A gorgeous bubbly cocktail
What better way to celebrate the giddiness of a love holiday than with a bubbly cocktail?
“Valentine’s Day sips are all about bubbly, flowers, and a gorgeous garnish,” expresses Carolyn Pascual White, founder of the Social Sipper, a site dedicated to helping others start a career in photography. “A classic French 75 made with gin, champagne, lemon and sugar is a great base for a Valentine’s celebration at home. I’m currently loving a Rosé French 75 or the Bubbly French Blonde – a twist on Taylor Swift’s recent favorite cocktail. Presentation can make your drink even more romantic. Try a festive glass, edible flower garnish or my personal favorite – a cupids’ arrow garnish made with heart gummy candy and a toothpick.”
A boozy strawberry vanilla drink
Strawberries and vanilla create a drink that practically blushes. Here’s how to make one, according to a notable recipe blogger.
“Homemade strawberry vanilla bean infused vodka is our favorite (and most delicious) way to make just about any Valentine’s Day cocktail extra delicious, shares Lexi, co-founder of the Crowded Kitchen, a vegan and vegetarian recipe blog. “Simply add 1 cup of sliced strawberries and 1 vanilla bean (sliced in half lengthwise) to a quart-sized jar and top it off with vodka. Let it sit for at least 3 days or up to a week before straining, then enjoy in a simple spritz or another vodka-based cocktail. It has the most stunning red hue and it’s a special way to show someone you care.”
4. Cook a romantic dinner
Endless possibilities await when it comes to choosing the cuisine for your home-cooked meal. Here are a few ideas to spark your culinary inspiration:
A unique twist on mole might be just the trick for a special Valentine’s Day meal. Executive Chef and Founder of Aura Cocina Mexicana, Chef Graciela Montaño recommends the special White Mole, also known as Mole of Love or Wedding Love. “This delicious mole is prepared with almonds, peanuts, pinenuts, white sesame seeds, golden raisins, and other exquisite ingredients. Discover the art of preparing this delightful dish in our Authentic Mexican Cooking Experience.”
Arguably, one of the most romantic types of food is Mediterranean, so why not indulge in something that involves pasta, cheese, or bread for your special day?
“Make Valentine’s Day most memorable is to dive into the art of cooking together with your loved one, a practice deeply rooted in the Mediterranean way of life,” explains Felicia Rajnoch brand manager at Neolea, specializing in Mediterranean food products. “Create your dishes with pure and fresh ingredients, adding a generous sprinkle of love. With your favorite music playing, candles casting a warm glow, all that’s left is to savor the moment. Seeking recipe inspiration? Try this amazing focaccia recipe.”
Argentinian and Uruguayan
Spice it up with cuisine from a South American culinary destination like Argentina or Uraguay.
“My chimichurri sauce recipe holds a special place in my heart, particularly for Valentine’s Day, due to its remarkable versatility and flavor that transforms steak, chicken, or fish into a romantic, gourmet meal,” shares Jessica Randhawa, creative director of The Forked Spoon.
“The vibrant blend of fresh herbs, garlic, and tangy vinegar in this chimichurri not only enhances the natural flavors of the meat but also adds a touch of elegance to the dining experience. Preparing this easy sauce at home takes five minutes at home allows for a cozy and intimate setting, perfect for a Valentine’s celebration and my go-to choice for a memorable and flavorful Valentine’s Day dinner.”
Enroll in a cooking class
Elevate your Valentine’s Day celebration by enrolling in a cooking class together, turning your dinner into a delightful culinary adventure. You’ll grow closer to each other while learning a valuable skill that will continue to pay off.
“We recommend beginning with fresh caprese salad skewers,” says the BiteUnite team, offering food classes all across the U.S. “For the main course, savor the tenderness of grilled filet mignon and the delight of asparagus bundles wrapped in prosciutto. Conclude your evening with the sweet decadence of chocolate fondue served with an assortment of dippables. Enhance the experience with a choice of classic red wine or the effervescence of champagne.”
5. Play games together
Whether you’re celebrating with your significant other, family, or a group of friends, here are some engaging games to play that will have you talking, laughing, enjoying some friendly competition, and maybe even getting to know each other a bit better.
“Whether you’re playing head-to-head with your significant other, or playing with family and friends, game night is an easily overlooked opportunity for memorable quality time,” says Ryan Billingsley, offering fatherly thoughts at Dad Suggests. “And if you’re looking for a fitting theme, look no further than the modern classic Love Letter – one of our favorite card games that works great for kids and adults.”
“Spice up your Valentine’s Day with a dash of playful competition, shared laughter, and the joy of connecting over cards,” says the team at CardzMania, offering free online games. “Choose classic favorites or explore new adventures together. Humorous emojis, chill tunes, or a video call for distant lovebirds can set the mood for an unforgettable game night. So, shuffle the deck, deal the love, and let the games begin.”
“Hearts, a classic card game, is an ideal choice for Valentine’s Day due to its symbolic resonance with matters of the heart,” explains Paul Dunlop founder and editor-in-chief at Cool Old Games, your destination for everything related to classic games. “In the game, players aim to avoid capturing certain cards, like the Queen of Spades, mirroring the careful avoidance of heartache and pain in relationships.”
Neal Taparia of Hearts.co. also recommends the classic game. “You can play with two players, where you trade cards to avoid getting Hearts. The person with the lower score wins. It’s fun, and a great way to spend time with your significant other.”
“Valentine’s Day can be a great time to get together with people you care about,” states Andy Matthews, founder, editor, and event manager at Meeple Mountain, a resource for board game news, reviews, lists, and more. “And what better way to spend time together than by playing board games? Team-based party games like Wavelength or Green Team Wins let you work together with your mates, and Ca$h ‘n Gun$ offers competitive fun. Or, if your evening is one-on-one, then consider two-player-only games like Patchwork or The Fox in the Forest. No matter what you play, everyone wins when board games are involved.”
Not that it’s a competition, but relationship-building games take the cake on February 14th. “What we love most about playing a game on Valentine’s Day — or any date night for that matter — is that it’s more than just fun and competitive,” remarks Ryan and Alex Duo Life, guiding couples to fuel their love with fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle.
“Games are relationship-building tools that improve communication, expression, and just give you an all-around-good-laugh. Plus, studies show that playing board games increases oxytocin release, known as the ‘love hormone,’ fostering trust and bonds while reducing stress and fear. Our top picks for couples include Love Lingual and Talk, Flirt, Dare for romance, or Codenames: Duet for cooperative play.”
6. Tap into your creative side
“A Valentine craft kit can transform your home into a haven of creativity and love,” explains Craft Kits 2 Go, providing a large variety of craft kits for every occasion. “Crafting with friends and family allows you to create personalized decorations and themed gifts, infusing your home with sentimental touches and the shared experience enhances the intimacy of your home, making it a special place filled with warmth of handmade expressions of love.”
Here are some fun crafts you can make together in the spirit of love:
DIY V-day sign
“Valentine’s Day is a special occasion to celebrate love with your dear ones, and in our home, crafting is a cherished tradition,” explains Hunter Kouture, a destination for all things crafting. “One of the most enjoyable activities I share with my kids is creating a DIY paint kit sign together. The entire process, from designing the sign to bringing it to life, is a source of joy, creating lasting memories that we treasure.”
Mika, owner of Mai Zen Life, a community for unique personal growth, creative discovery, and zenful reflection shares, “What we love about candle kits is that they’re meaningful gifts that create lasting memories and offer a personalized experience.”
“If you’re looking for a unique Valentine’s Day gift, rooted in the history of Saint Valentine, look no further than this DIY decorated jar,” says Nicole Bolin, owner and chief creative officer at Stencil Studios in Scottsdale, AZ. “This Valentine’s Day gift is something you can create at home with only a few simple supplies, including just an empty jar, a folded slip of paper, decorative string or twine, paper for the scroll and heart cut-outs, and a paper doily.”
Paint your own stencil
“There are countless fun ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home. Consider buying a stencil craft kit, curated to engage your kids during this loving season,” comments Alison Witt, owner of Create Art, Party In a Box, empowering kids to imagine, create, and explore. “With all supplies conveniently delivered to your doorstep, it’s a hassle-free option for busy parents and perfect for sparking creativity in your little ones. Crafting these kits is pure joy and the final results are adorable. Your kids will be amazed by how cute their creations turn out and will love showing them off.”
DIY heart garland
“Elevate your Galentine’s Day with DIY Heart Garland,” suggests Lindsey, owner of Woodsy Craft Co in Oregon. “Gather your friends for a craft-filled celebration and indulge in the joy of coloring eight unique hearts using vibrant paint markers. Create a stunning 6-foot garland adorned with delightful felt balls, utilizing the provided needle and thread for a personalized touch. Whether adorning your mantle, doorway, or wreath, the possibilities are limitless for adding a touch of handmade love to your Valentine’s Day festivities.”
Upcycled table decor
Laura Duris, owner of CraftLab Seattle, specializing in crafted events, emphasizes their passion for using upcycled materials whenever possible and recommend a craft repurposing wine corks and bottle caps.
“Take a few colors of paper (we used Valentine’s colors for this one) and create hearts of various sizes and fold them accordion-style from top to bottom. Then Insert a small bamboo skewer through the middle of each heart and spread it out along the length of the skewer. Push the skewer into the top of the wine cork. If your wine cork is a little wobbly, take your bottle cap and glue it onto the bottom for a little extra stability. And like that, you have a super cute upcycled Valentine’s Day craft.”
7. Set the mood with scent
The artful selection of scents can significantly influence the mood and ambiance, playing a crucial role in creating a romantic atmosphere, especially on Valentine’s Day. Here are a few scents that can help set the mood, depending on what feelings this love holiday conjures up for you.
Luxurious tropical escape
“The fragrance we’ll use this Valentine’s Day is Retreat while we cook a meal together and watch our favorite movie,” says Jessica Simon of Mississippi Candle Co. “Retreat is a luxurious tropical escape with luscious coconut, sweet pineapple, and tangy orange will whisk you away to a beach paradise. The harmonious notes of coumarin and jasmine are balanced by the soft embrace of musk, heliotropin, and vanilla.”
Fruity and uplifting blend
“For Valentine’s Day, Love Potion has certainly captured my heart,” states Caitlin Marsters, of Candeo Candle. “A blend of grapefruit, cherry blossom, apple, and peach — fruity and uplifting with just a touch of spring blossoms to round it out. It’s the ultimate mood-setter for a romantic bubble bath or a cozy evening spent with that special someone. Who knows? It might just put a spell on you.”
Warm and inviting notes
A favorite Valentine’s Day scent is Love Potion, says Lisa Coyer, co-founder of Coyer Candle Co. “This is a nice combination of fruity mulberry and tart notes. The warm and inviting ribbons of purple and red dyes are swirled together in perfect harmony making this a great gift for someone you love.”
Floral and oceanic notes
Radek Dockal, owner of ScentWick Candles says, “when you think of Valentine’s Day, you think of flowers, and a candle that combines soft floral notes of orchids with oceanic notes of sea salt, grounded with light musk and amber, is perfect for Valentine’s Day.”
Sweet floral with earthy undertones
“Our favorite fragrance for Valentine’s Day is our blend of rose petals and lavender in our Love Wish Wax Melts,” shares Tabatha Manuel, owner of Calming Flames. “This scent combines sweet floral notes of rose petals intertwined with the earthy undertones of lavender, creating an enchanting fragrance that uplifts your mood and eases your mind. This alluring, yet soothing scent creates a relaxing atmosphere that not only honors Valentine’s Day, but also encourages self-care.”
Sweet and sultry scents
“Our absolute favorite scent for Valentine’s Day is our Black Cherry Merlot,” says Kristen Deweese, owner of Honeydew Candle Company. “The scent provides the perfect romantic ambiance. With sweet and sultry notes of black cherry, bright raspberry and velvety merlot, this scent screams romance and plays well with the red theme of the day.”
Warm vanilla and light musk blend
To celebrate the season of love, Melanie Harris of Green Koala recommends the Cozy Cashmere candle. “This comforting blend of warm vanilla and light musk is sure to create the perfect ambiance for a romantic evening in with your loved one, or a much-needed night of self-care. Love doesn’t always have to come wrapped in bows and celebrated with champagne, sometimes a cozy night in for some Netflix and Chill is all we really need.”
Romance and floral bliss
“Step into a garden of timeless romance with the intoxicating fragrance of fresh cut roses,” suggests Taja Collection, a home goods store in Miami, FL. “La Vie en Rose is more than just a fragrance, it’s a poetic journey through the heart of a rose garden, encapsulating the delicate beauty of the timeless red rose and dew-kissed petals. Let this captivating scent infuse your surroundings with romance and floral bliss. Reminder: our fragrances are always non-toxic and free of phthalates. You can also repurpose your jar when you’re done burning your candle and fill with your favorite florals.”
Pear, bergamot and magnolia fragrance
“Our ‘Love Me’ scented candle is our absolute favorite scent when celebrating Valentine’s Day,” states Nascents. “It is the perfect way to create a sensual atmosphere at home, while enjoying the intimacy of a day all about love.”
Sweet and rich aroma
“Strawberry Cheesecake is the perfect Valentine’s Day scent,” says 4:44 Candles. “The sweet aroma of strawberries blends perfectly with the richness of cheesecake. This creates a warm and inviting mood for a romantic evening.”
8. End the evening with a homemade dessert
Indulge in something sweet with your sweetheart as the perfect ending to your Valentine’s Day. Though a box of chocolates always makes a nice gift, a dessert you have to prepare together feels more romantic.
Chris Nease, publisher and content creator at Celebrations At Home suggests, “For an exceptionally romantic experience, there’s nothing quite like sharing a meal with your hands over a shared platter, and a dessert fondue with dippers is the perfect fit for Valentine’s Day. The ease of preparing the dips adds to the charm, creating an interactive experience that intimately brings couples together.”
Celebrate Valentine’s Day at home this year
Food, wine, art and travel blogger Christy Majors sums up celebrating Valentine’s Day at home perfectly. “Whether part of a dynamic duo or embracing a sophisticated single status, Valentine’s Day is a celebration for everyone. Be your own best valentine by treating yourself to flowers, a heartfelt card, and a special home-cooked dinner – perhaps indulging in King Crab Legs and caviar.”
Whether coupled, fabulously single, or somewhere in between, relish the luxury of love by falling in love with life all over again – because, after all, home is where the heart is. Our tips for a cozy Valentine’s Day are a good place to start as you start preparing your celebrations.