The key to a sparks-flying date night right under your own roof? Setting up a romantic dinner table at home, because nothing ruins the vibe like a pile of laundry waiting to be folded or your kids’ toys strewn throughout the room. You’ll want to fully commit in order to make the most of your evening—and that means thinking about more than the food you’ll be eating. Here, we break down quick and easy tips for making your next at-home date night rom-com-worthy.

Make the world go away

Turn off the TV, stash your phones in another room (ringers off!) and close the doors to other rooms. If you have an open-concept home, turn out the lights in adjacent rooms. It’ll help hide real-life distractions (including that stack of dishes in the sink) and transform your space into a more intimate setting. It’s an easy hack to set the mood and helps the two of you focus on each other.

Set the (audio) scene

Music is, of course, important when it comes to setting a mood, but tread carefully when you pull up your Spotify account. You’ll want a genre you can both agree on (this isn’t the time for rivalling musical tastes), with a relaxed sound and minimal lyrics. We love to throw on something instrumental, like the sweeping score from a fave movie or some jaunty jazz bops that won’t distract from the conversation.

Light it up

Sorry, but there’s just no way to make the harsh glow of fluorescent bulbs cute. Amp up the ambience for your one-on-one time by dimming the lights and putting out some candles. After years of tea lights and votives, we’re loving the long, tapered trend—that’s why Misette’s hand-painted candles are tall and sleek. Who can resist a candlelit dinner for two?

Treat your table like a canvas

While your dinner table is a functional necessity, it’s more than a utilitarian decor piece. Think of it as a blank canvas waiting to be decorated. Opt for artistic dishes to plate your food and chic linen napkins for that restaurant vibe. Think about your glassware, too. Part of the fun is bringing out “the good stuff” that you forget to use day to day. Mix and match tumblers, goblets and coupes to suit whatever you’re pouring. Finally, add flowers—even if it’s just a few stems from your own garden—in a vase (or your prettiest pitcher in a pinch!) to bring everything together. The goal? A tablescape so pretty you almost won’t want to disrupt it by sitting down to eat.

Go slow-mo with courses

Whether you’re ordering from your fave local restaurant or whipping up your go-to recipe, your dinner deserves the VIP treatment. Instead of packing it all on the same plate, serve each course on different plates for full impact (Afterall, food always tastes better when it looks picture-perfect, right?) Bonus: It’ll slow down the pace so you and your date can soak it all in.

May 13, 2021 — Amy Burstyn Fritz