By Amelia Quint
When you’re planning a date, sometimes there’s pressure to go out or make reservations at an impressive spot, but your time together doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. In fact, you might not even need to leave the house! Date nights at home can be just as romantic as elsewhere, plus you can take the opportunity to really focus on each other while staying cozy (house slippers allowed!). Ahead, here are 15 of our favorite at-home date ideas for when you want to stay in.
Try out an art project
If you’re a couple who loves activities, you can easily try a new project at home. Buy canvases and paint, or a clay kit, or knitting materials—really anything that speaks to you—and then learn how to craft together and let out your creative sides. You can even give each other your finished work as a keepsake from the date.
Create a relationship scrapbook
To make an arts and crafts night even more romantic, make the activity of the evening creating a scrapbook that represents your relationship. Include ticket stubs, inside jokes, photos, and any other special memories. The result will be something that both of you can cherish.
Make each other cocktails (or mocktails)
Try your hand at making cocktails (or mocktails) with your partner—but make it a bit of a challenge. Maybe you each make a couple of cocktails and determine which is the best, or maybe you give each other a “surprise” ingredient (like blackberries or bitters) and challenge each other to make three different drinks using the ingredient. May the best drinks win!
Be your own five-star chef
Instead of splurging on going to a restaurant, why not turn your kitchen into a Michelin star-worthy experience? If you’re on a budget, shop your pantry and get creative with the menu. You could attempt a daring recipe or recreate a dish that means something to you.
Create a sweet masterpiece
If preparing a whole meal together sounds like too much of a challenge in the kitchen, you could make date night all about baking one elaborate dessert that neither of you have tried before. You can divide up the tasks, and no worries if the end product turns out to be a total disaster—you’ll have fun doing it either way.
Make it a theme party
Everyone knows a party is better with a theme, so instead of just going to each other’s place, choose one and commit to the bit. Not sure where to start? Have a nostalgia night complete with snacks and TV shows from years past. Or, transform your living room into a campsite, complete with s’mores and a pillow fort.
Play board games
Playing games when you’re dating is never a good idea—that is, unless it’s game night! A little friendly competition is a great way to learn how your date responds under pressure. Challenge them to anything from a chess match to a video game duel.
Have a game night
If board games aren’t really your thing, you could still have a game night, but with more active games. Put up a dart board, set up a beer pong table (no beer needed—water works too!) or order a few water balloons to have fun like kids again.
Go on a scavenger hunt
If you’ve been looking for the perfect opportunity to shower each other with cute gifts or sweet notes, a scavenger hunt is a clever way to do it. Write clues that’ll reveal something interesting about you, or test their knowledge of your favorite things. Or, put a trivia spin on it! It might take some advance planning, but it’ll be totally worth it.
Host a living room film festival
Instead of just your average movie night, pick films or shows that’ll give you and your date plenty to talk about. It’s a great chance to introduce them to a character who you saw a little of yourself in, or a soundtrack that’s been your hype music for years. And an added bonus? A movie marathon provides lots of quality time to cuddle up!
Gaze at the stars
There’s something undeniably romantic about looking at the stars together. Download a stargazing app to help you locate constellations and planets. Even better, align your stargazing session with a meteor shower and wish on shooting stars. Also, it’s the perfect time to ask your date about their astrology chart!
Turn your bathroom into a home spa
If you’ve both had a hard week, indulge in a relaxing spa night together. Light candles or incense that’ll set a soothing mood, laugh at how silly each of you looks in your face masks, and if you’re feeling up to it, give each other massages. You could even do a few yoga poses or try meditating together.
Dance the night away
Whether it’s a homecoming-style slow jam or complete choreography, it’s always fun to get close to your date on the dance floor, even if it’s just in your living room. Turn on a playlist of your favorite songs or watch a tutorial for a style of dance you’ve always wanted to try.
Have a photoshoot
Want to remember the good times (and how good you looked in that outfit)? Taking pictures together during date night is the perfect way to do it. Put on an all-out production, or keep it simple for a photobooth-style keepsake. Plus, you’ll have something cute to post when you make things social media official or celebrate a major relationship moment.
Read a story
Lots of couples watch movies or listen to music together, but there’s something more intimate about sharing your reading list. Take turns sharing a romantic story or poem, pick a nonfiction book that’ll spark deep conversation, or do a dramatic reading of your favorite ghost story from when you were a kid.