Maybe you’re not in the mood to get dressed. Maybe you and your partner don’t have the money to splurge on a night out. Whatever the case, trust me when I say that you do not need to leave your house to have a good time with your partner.
At-home dates are just as good—and maybe even better, says sex educator Leah Carey. Especially since they can give off more cozy, romantic vibes than what a crowded bar would.
But you have to have a game plan ahead of your at-home date night. Carey says that in order to be successful, “the goal should be to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Turn off your phones and anything else that might interrupt you with reminders of the outside world. Create a cocoon where the two of you can connect for a few hours.”
You also shouldn’t feel the need to go all out and spend tons of money either. The true intention of an at-home date is quality time. And, depending on what you and your partner enjoy, “the thought and effort of making an evening at home special can be even more meaningful than a night out at a restaurant or show,” says therapist Ciara Jenkins.
So with that being said, here are a few at-home date ideas that you can totally steal for when you want to surprise your special someone. You’re welcome.
1. Prepare a special dinner
If your partner is the one who typically finds new restaurants or likes to show off their cooking skills, treat them to a nice home-cooked meal every once in a while. Try a recipe that you’ve never done before and pull out a nice bottle of wine for the occasion. Bonus points for lighting up a few candles and bringing out your best plates.
2. Have a movie night
Yeah, yeah, yeah, watching a movie may be something you do every night anyway, but why not add a lil something? Build a fort, light some candles, put together a cheese board, and watch your movie. Make sure to tailor the experience to your partner’s preferences, advises Jenkins. “This demonstrates that you’re listening, you want to please them, and want to have a nice evening together.”
3. Take your date outdoors
If you’re one of the lucky ones who have a backyard or balcony, take your date outside. Whether you’re cooking a special meal or hosting a movie night, bring it out into the fresh air and enjoy being under the stars together. Make sure to pack the food into a cute picnic basket and put your wine in an ice bucket.
4. Spend the evening in separate rooms
Although this might sound counter-intuitive, this might make it easier to talk about those topics you’d rather not look at someone when talking about. “Think about how easy it is to let down your guard and disclose things you would rarely say face-to-face when you’re getting to know someone new on the phone or through an app,” suggests Carey. Think of it as being two contestants on Love Is Blind.
5. Institute a no-touching rule
If you want to level up the intimacy, avoid touching each other throughout the evening. Find other ways to connect with each other and tease the hell out of your partner. “If you spend a few hours concentrated on exciting your partner without touching them, it’s going to get really hot when you finally let your hands and mouth take over,” says Carey.
6. Build pottery together
Buy a cute pottery kit (like the ones from Sculpd) and give it a go. Not only would it be spontaneous, but it would give you a chance to try out a new hobby. I have high hopes that it would turn out like the scene in Ghost with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. (IYKYK.)
7. Be part of a remote escape room
Turn your Friday night into a game by signing up for a virtual escape room, such as the ones provided by the Escape Game. You’ll work together, which = teamwork, and if you’re one of those competitive couples, winning will be that much sweeter.
8. Buy a dating subscription boxes
A subscription box like Date Box Club will make planning your date nights way easier. You’ll find everything you need for your night in, and you only spend a set fee each month. If that’s too PG for you though, there are also some subscription boxes specifically meant for spicing things up in the bedroom.
9. Host a game night
If you feel confident that your relationship will survive, try a game night with your partner. You can show off your competitive side, while also being fully present in your date with your person, suggests Jerry Han, chief marketing officer behind PrizeRebel.
10. Have a date night cooking show
Dan McCormick, director of partnerships and senior content strategist for Perfect Brew, suggests putting your imagination to work and pretending to be in your very own cooking show for your next date. If you have a big enough kitchen, you can both dress up in aprons, come up with a joint recipe, and document your night as you would on TV.
“You can turn what would’ve been a normal dinner into a really great bonding experience where you and your partner try new recipes, make yummy food, and have fun in the process,” suggests McCormick.
11. Learn how to make cocktails
Instead of going out to a bar, try learning how to make your favorite cocktails at home. Not only is it going to be cheaper in the long run, but it’ll be a cool party trick for when you get together with friends.
You can make things even easier by simply ordering a cocktail kit online from Cocktail Courier and letting them do all the hard work. All you need to do is get some nice cocktail glasses and make a cheese board to snack on.
12. Give back
Diane Lebson, CEO of Evergreen Philanthropic, suggests spending time with your partner either making sandwiches for the homeless or putting together care packages for those in need. “You can do these at home and use it as an opportunity to engage your partner in conversation about what causes matter to you, past experiences of engaging in charity, and projects you might engage in the future.”
13. Make your own beer
If you’re not one for cocktails, why not try your own beer-making kit? Brewvana offers all the products you need to make your own beer while also hosting a live online class to give you some tips and tricks. You can also choose to make this into a group date activity or a little one-on-one experience.
14. Do a DIY marriage retreat in a box
This DIY Retreat activity comes with two guide books, conversation starter cards, and note cards to share cute love notes with each other. It’s specifically designed to improve your communication, share your commitment with each other, and simply get to know each other all over again. People change and your relationship should evolve with it as well.
15. Visit a virtual museum
If one of you is a total history geek and making it to your nearest museum is not an option, bring the museum to your home by setting up an interactive experience. Many museums around the world offer this experience, and you don’t have to travel thousands of miles to see some of the most inspiring pieces of art in the world.
16. Redecorate your home
Whether you live together or separately, working together to improve your living space is always a great bonding experience. Pick out some paint, supplies, order your favorite take-out, and get to rearranging your furniture.
17. Recreate your first date
Depending on what your first date looked like, you could recreate the meals you had, make the dessert you shared, or have an impromptu Spotify concert in your living room. Find a way to make your first date adaptable to an at-home setting.
18. Paint and sip
Personally, I’ve always wanted to go to a paint and sip, but the thought of showing my poor painting skills to strangers is not my thing. However, the idea doesn’t sound too shabby in the privacy of my home, with my partner, as we proceed to down bottles of our favorite wine. The best part about this idea is that you can either show off your competitive side by choosing to paint the same image or you can show off your skills by painting something that comes from the heart.
If you’re lucky enough to have some outdoor space, take out some blankets, a few beers, and lay back to stare at the stars and moon. Bonus points if you can actually spot a few constellations or planets.
20. Journal together
Journaling together might make talking about the Hard Things much, much easier. Seriously, buy a couple’s journal and fill out a few pages and prompts together. This could turn into a weekly activity.
21. Have an at-home spa day
After a long and stressful day or week, surprise your partner with an at-home spa. You can have a bath together or move things to the bedroom and give each other massages. Make sure to light up a few candles and have your favorite cocktails in hand.