Maybe your country is in lockdown.

Maybe your cold-weather city’s indoor dining is still closed. Or maybe, with everything going on (gesticulates wildly), you’d simply prefer to stay in. Whatever the reason: this year, many of us are forgoing grand plans on the town for a quiet Valentine’s Day at home.

But that doesn’t mean the night needs to be void of romance. Far from it. In fact, by removing some of the common stressors around the holiday—no overpriced pre-fixe menus or months-in-advance reservations required at Chez Toi!—you may even have a wonderful time.

Let Robin Standefer help you get there. Besides heading up the design firm Roman & Williams along with her husband, Stephen Alesch, Standefer is behind the New York City restaurant La Mercerie, a beloved date spot thanks to its cozy velvet booths, delectable French food, and impeccable design. Below, she shares her best tips on how to spend a romantic Valentine’s day at home.

1. Set the mood (and the table)

“Be sure all of your senses are activated,” says Standefer. “Make a playlist, cook foods that smell amazing, and turn your table into something delightful.”

Here’s her Valentine’s Day tablescape 101: “Set the table with small and large plates and bowls, and glasses tall and short,” she says. “Collect all the little dishes you have and add a few more to make a beautiful spread. Be sure everything is red and pink, shining in a host of white plates.”

Some of Standefer's tips Use fruits as colorful accents and bake a fun dessert with your family or significant other.nbsp
Some of Standefer’s tips? Use fruits as colorful accents and bake a fun dessert with your family or significant other. Photo: By Gentl & Hyers

2. Adorn your home with natural hues

Whereas Valentine’s Day decor is often an unfortunate Pepto Bismol Pink or radioactive red, Standefer says to seek out more natural blush tones when decorating. “Use colors from nature. We always love reds, plums and purples as an accent and punctuation to raise the temperature on our table,” she says. Those, by the way, can be expressed through flora and food: “A pop of color can come from flowers,” Standefer explains. “Plum, fig and cherry are best expressed in the real deal . . . fruits!”

Dried Echinops Flowers

$22

AFLORAL

Clear Bud Glass Vases

$6

WORLD MARKET

3. Let there be light

An easy way to create an excellent ambience? Candles. “Keep candles lit all day—even in daylight. Put them on your table and in your windows from day to night to make your home full of love and light to share with your neighbors, as they do in Sweden in the winter,” she says.

Kaneko Kohyo Bowl

$59

RW GUILD

Reed Candlesticks

$280

RW GUILD

4. Treat yourself with sweets

Valentine’s Day is all about indulging in lovely confections: chocolates, candy hearts, and so on. But instead of buying them, why not create a Valentine’s Day dessert together?

“Bake something, or dip a cherry or strawberry that’s red and sweet in sugar, syrup, or chocolate,” Standefer suggests. “Do it together with your one and only, or your kids or your mom. Enjoy the process.” (If you are in need of some direction, let us suggest Simone Rocha’s heart-shaped cake.)

However, we get it—not everyone wants to spend time in the kitchen. If that’s you, “splurge on a rich and sweet dessert, one too hard to make at home,” Standefer says. “It’s a way to support your local restaurants and add it to your table at home.”

Ghost Highball Glasses

$96

MAXID

Hawkins New York Cocktail Napkins

$20

FOOD52

5. Play dress up

“Even if you stay home, dress up your space, your table, and also yourself. It’s a great reset,” says Standefer.

La Vie en Rose Tablecloth

$195

LOVESHACKFANCY

LoveShackFancy Cardigan

$385

NET-A-PORTER

 

Source: vogue.com