Date night looking.. expensive? 14 home date ideas to make Valentine's Day special

Remember, love doesn't need to cost the earth.

home date ideas
(Image credit: Getty Images / Roc Canals)

It may be the month of love but dinner at your favourite restaurant is, well, off the cards this year for many. That's right - home date ideas at the ready, as the cost of living crisis has hit most of us hard.

According to research by Creditfix, 71% of you intend to spend less on your Valentine's Day dates this year, and we don't blame you. Times are tough - that said, you can still have a romantic time without spending your hard-earned cash.

That's where home dates ideas come in - more affordable, arguably less stressful (especially if you're prone to dating anxiety) and more intimate, too. Plus there's less pressure on what to wear for a first date as you're in the comfort of your own home (and can totally change if you change your mind on the 'fit). 

Fun fact for you: date nights have actually statistically been proven to make couples happier, with one study from the University of Virginia finding that couples who spent an evening a week focusing on their other half were 3.5x more content than those that didn't.

Don't miss our expert guide to dating advice for women and what to talk about on a first date, while you're here.

Home date ideas: 14 to try this Valentine's Day 

1. Plan a cocktail making class

This is a money saving winner. As much as we love a spenny decadent cocktail, they can add up. So instead of spending all your money on cocktails in a bar, why not try them at home? 

You'll need a cocktail shaker, sweet garnishes and a bottle or two of your favourite beverage. While it may seem like an expense, it's still a significant amount cheaper than, say, a bar. That's the best thing about home date ideas - you've got no excuse to not have a fun date night every week. 

Try this: In the lead-up to the date, give each other the challenge of creating the best cocktail board based on their favourite colour, song, band, or spice. Nothing like a little bit of healthy competition. We'll let you decide what the winner gets in return... 

For Valentine's Day, you can go red with a Select Spritz. It's super simple to make together and trust us, you will want to keep making them all night. Or if your date's favourite colour is purple, I found the perfect purple Italicus cocktail on TikTok. Now that's how you impress your date.

Select Spritz recipe: 

Pour 90ml Prosecco over ice and stir in 60ml Select Aperitivo and 30ml Soda Water. Garnish with an olive - simple but beautiful.


♬ Dream - The Pied Pipers

2. Set up your own outdoor cinema

As far as home date ideas go, this one requires you to have a bit of outdoor space (or a big enough bedroom or lounge to make it feel like you're outside). Whether you have a projector that you can rig up, a laptop you can bring outside, or a TV you can push against the window, you shouldn't need to buy anything for this cute date night other than drinks and snacks.

As for the furnishings - deckchairs, bean bags, rugs and plenty of cushions are a must. Warm drinks and hot water bottles are also encouraged.

Try this: Why not get creative in the lead-up to the big evening and design your own ticket stubs inviting your other half to the outdoor cinema? You could also make Pick n Mix sweet bags or design old-fashioned popcorn boxes from cardboard, for added effect.

Home date ideas: An outdoor cinema

3. Cook a candlelit dinner

You don't have to go to a restaurant to have a romantic dinner. Far from it - get a little inventive, again, and you can enjoy a special meal from your own home. All you need is the kitchen or dining room to yourself, candles (essential) and dinner (even more essential).

Sure, it might sound fancy and like a lot of work, it really doesn't need to be. If you don't fancy cooking, opt for a candlelit takeaway or order a food delivery box.

Try this: Put one one of your favourite outfits, play some romantic music and get ready for a special evening with your loved one. Chocolate strawberries, anyone?

Home date ideas: a candlelit dinner

4. Make breakfast in bed

Home date ideas don't get much more romantic than breakfast in bed. All of the most iconic lovebirds love a breakfast in bed, (we're looking at you, Allie and Noah from The Notebook). And while it isn't strictly a nighttime activity, enjoying a cup of OJ and a some flaky pastries in bed on Valentine's morning could be a fun way to show your other half you care.

So, what ingredients do you need to achieve the perfect breakfast in bed? Any of the following will make a delightful breakfast treat:

  • Coffee or tea
  • Fresh orange juice
  • Croissants or pastries
  • Eggs Benedict or Royale
  • Avocado on toast
  • Granola and yoghurt.

Home date ideas: breakfast in bed

5. Plan an ice-cream date

The ice-cream date is a rom-com classic. Re-create it at home by getting a few flavour options ready, and making the perfect sundae together. 

Show your other half you care by getting all their favourite toppings in and creating a sundae station in your kitchen. All you need is Three tubs of ice cream, one big sundae cup. Bowls of toppings: chocolate sprinkles, cherries, crushed Oreos, smarties - whatever your date desires.

Try this: Set each other the challenge of making your date's perfect sundae. Once you've finished making it with love, feed it to them while blindfolded.


♬ MOESHA - Earlly Mac

6. Try your hand at a cookery class

Fun idea: why not get cooking as a way of spending quality time with your other half?

You can pay to cook along with a professional live, or, if you're on a budget, there are loads of tutorials on YouTube and Instagram - we're a fan of Gordon Ramsay's carbonara, Gizzi Erskine's stuffed crust pizza and Jason Atherton's chicken and chorizo casserole. Alternatively, you can't go wrong with this recipe for Meghan Markle's go-to banana bread. Yum.

Best home date ideas: Young cheerful spouses enjoying morning time together

7. Watch the sunset together

We're all super busy which often means missing simple joys, like sunrises and sunsets. So, why not use your date night as an opportunity to rediscover them?

Try this: Grab your loved one, a couple of beers or glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and remember to wrap up warm. Then, whether you head to your garden or a nearby park, go and take in every second of it. Or, if you've got more time, why not give one of the best UK hikes a go to soak up some nature?

Home date ideas: A couple watching a sunset

8. Create your own at home spa

Like the sound of a romantic spa day from home? Us too - plus you'll save big £££. We're talking manicures, pedicures, a luxurious bubble bath and more. Your other half won't know relaxation levels like this.

Try this: follow our at-home tips from a top facialist to get your glow on.

Home date ideas: Woman applying clay mask on her boyfriend's face. Young loving couple taking care of skin at home

9. Get crafty with pottery

Not quite a scene from Ghost but personalised pottery is an at home date idea we can get behind. Creative, fun and gives you something to remember the perfect date with. An at home date idea that's much more cost effective than a IRL pottery class. Plus, a lot more intimate and room to get messy.

Try this: Carve in each others initials or date you met. 

10. Have a picnic

Sure, it might not be summer yet, but that doesn't mean that a picnic is off the cards (just remember lots of layers). Not the best weather? An indoor picnic works just as well, too.

Try this: For the full effect, you'll need a picnic blanket to sit on and a hamper of snacks. You can head to a shop and pick out your favourite bits, or create your own Smorgasbord-style platter - we're talking olives, pickles, salads, cheeses, crackers, and charcuterie.

Home date ideas: a picnic

11. Plan a massage

Not sure how to be intimate with your partner or mix up your sex life? Massage can be a great place to start, and a great home date idea, too.

It's fun, it's romantic, and you'll learn a new skill. Don't miss our guides to tantric sex and bondage for beginners, while you're here.

Spa of The World™ French Lavender Massage Oil£15, The Body Shop

Spa of The World™ French Lavender Massage Oil
£15, The Body Shop

The Hydragun Quiet Massage GunHydragun, £269

The Hydragun Quiet Massage Gun
Hydragun, £269

Total Body RelaxerThe Body Shop, £10

Total Body Relaxer
The Body Shop, £10

12. Set up an art class

Even if you're not the most creative, channeling your inner Kahlo and Rivera can be a relaxing and alternative date night idea.

Try this: either find a painting you love online and paint or draw your version of it by hand, or go freestyle and draw what you fancy. You could even draw or paint your partner, and they, you.

13. Plan a games night

Why not try a games night for your home date? We're talking a couple's quiz, charades, Scrabble and more.

Try this: Write lots of prompt questions on small bits of paper and pop them in a jar. Then, taking it in turns, you and your partner can each answer a question about the other. Question ideas include:

  • Favourite memory with each other
  • Funniest memory of each other
  • Favourite thing about each other
  • Song that always reminds you of them
  • Food that always reminds you of them.

Home date ideas: Board games

14. Create a candle

Making a candle together at home is up there with one of the sweetest date nights. Getting creative with your date is a great way to get to know each other more and keep the conversation flowing.

Try this: Spend time making a candle together, then light it over an intimate dinner. 

So there you have it - fourteen simple, cheap, and effective home date ideas for any budget.

Still stuck for ideas? Our edits of the best Valentine's Day gifts for her, Valentine's Day gifts for him, and Valentine's Day sex gifts, not forgetting the best flower delivery services, will help.

Ally Head
Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.

With contributions from