We all know that not only can dating be hard... but that coming up with creative, fun, and unique date ideas can be even harder.
And we also all know: both of these are true, regardless of what point you're at in a relationship:
1) If you're with someone new, you know that you have to put in some extra effort/time to keep things interesting.
2) If you've been with someone for a while, you know that the standard dinner date or takeout/Netflix can get old quickly.
But that's why at-home dates are so great:
Whether it's your first date or your 50th anniversary, some of the most special moments can happen right in your own home. And not only is the effort that it takes to set one up an incredibly sweet thing to do for her... but it's unique, uncommon, and (if you do it right) it's not something that she expects.
...And as an added bonus: you'll find that 'taking her in' is also a lot cheaper than taking her out.
So... in this guide, we're going to give you 7 easy, but powerful steps to help you create a romantic, at-home date that will have her swooning.
7 Steps to the Perfect, Highly-Romantic, At-Home Date
Fundamentally, an at-home date is no different than a normal date. And in our guide the foolproof formula for a perfect date, you learned that a great date needs two things:
1) A meal (see steps #1 - steps #3)
2) An activity (see steps #4 - #7)
Let's get into them:
Step #1: Convert Your House Into an Upscale Restaurant
Guys... Step #1 is probably the most important one on the list.
Your goal is to create a space that makes her forget that she's in your house... and that makes her feel like she's in a relaxed/comfortable, yet classy restaurant. Give yourself at least two hours to get set up (you don't want to be rushing around at the last minute).
Here are 4 quick things you need to do:
1. Your living conditions say a lot about you. Make them say nice things.
Before you do anything, clean your house thoroughly. Do the dishes, make sure the bathroom is fresh/fully stocked, and clean your bedroom. And most importantly: get rid of any weird smells (start by doing your dirty laundry and taking out the trash).
2. Transform your table into one she'd that find at a romantic restaurant
You don't need much. The essentials are a nice tablecloth, comfortable seating, and quality dishes/silverware. These few things are what makes an ordinary night so special... so don't skimp. If you don't have any of these essential items, either suck it up and buy them or ask a friend to help you out.
Pro tip: add a candle to the middle of the table + a vase with a flower in it (the vase doesn't have to be fancy... and you can pick a flower from outside).
3. Set up your drinks + bar
All you really need is two decent bottles... one red, one white. It's classic/classy, and it gives her an option. Now, if you want to step it up, get things for cocktails (just stick to one or two classic cocktails (like an old-fashioned, Martini, or Negroni)).
Pro tip: make the cocktail for yourself while you're cleaning up the house. That way you'll know what you're doing, plus it'll help you loosen up before the date (just make sure it's not too strong).
4. Make a romantic-dinner-date playlist
What's dinner without some alluring music? Go with low-key instrumental music or better yet, play music that matches the cuisine you're serving.
Pro tip: since the dinner I recommend making below is Italian, go with some Italian violin classics or someone like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, or Michael Bublé.
Step #2: Grow her the appetizer + herbs
Guys... not only dowomen love a man who can cook, but they love a man who can grow something.
So, for the perfect at-home date, combine the two: grow her the appetizer and herbs.
Now: I know you're thinking "I'm not a gardener" or "That's way too hard"... but with hydroponic growing, it's simple, affordable, and incredibly easy. To grow food in your own home, all you (basically) have to do is plant seeds, move them to your hydroponic system, and turn it on (I've been using one for the past few months (this one), and from here on, I will always have something hydroponically growing at my house).
So... what should you grow for your romantic at-home date?
1) The appetizer (a salad): lettuce is super easy to grow hydroponically (it's one of the most commonly grown hydroponic vegetables). It's perfect for an at home date because you can quickly pick it, wash it, and serve it (all while she watches in admiration).
2) The meal's herbs: Both fresh basil/parsley make a great garnish for pasta dishes (I recommend making pasta in Step #3). Pick the one you think you'll use more.
A Note from the Editor, Kyle:
Root Farm sent me one of their innovative hydroponic systems a few months back, and I've been hooked ever since. Now: I want to say... before they sent me one, the idea of hydroponic growing was definitely intimidating to me. But after using my Root Farm for the past few months... not only did I realize how easy it is, but (like I mentioned above) I will always have something hydroponically growing in my kitchen.
These are (of course) my results, and yours may vary... but check out my Root Farm system and my chive growth:
Seed-starting. Just add your seeds into the provided plugs + add water.
Transplanting. Once I saw roots, I moved the plugs to my Root Farm, added water + nutrients, and plugged in the system.
Root Farm was kind enough to send over a few images (below) of what lettuce looks like growing in their system:
And get this: aside from the actual plant-growth time (which was a few weeks), the whole process of planting/setting things up took me under an hour! Guys... if you're interested in growing your own food (or interested in impressing a girl with a romantic at-home date), I highly suggest you give Root Farm a try:
Step #3: Cook her an (easy) three-course meal
First... why should you cook for her?
Well, #1: studies show that women are more attracted to a man when he's working in the kitchen, than when he's doing stereo-typically 'manly' things (like using a hammer or drill)... and #2, and even better: you don't need to be a Michelin-star chef to create a mouthwatering meal that you'll both enjoy.
See... by keeping the meal/dishes simple, you can make something that's not only tasty, but that also looks impressive and difficult to make.
Here's an easy and delicious three-course meal:
1. Start with a salad (as an appetizer)
Make a salad that has a name, like a Caesar, Cobb, or Greek (to keep the same theme throughout the meal, I suggest Caesar).
For the salad's lettuce, see Step #2 above... and for the dressing, just buy a pre-made one. And remember: presentation matters, so make sure your salad is served in a nicer, bigger bowl, with tongs for serving.
2. For the main course, make pasta
Not only does Italian food have that romantic allure, but making a good pasta (from scratch) is also surprisingly simple.
Now: can you cook spaghetti, then pour a jar of pre-made sauce over it? Yes... but come on. That's neither romantic, nor impressive to her... and it usually doesn't taste that good. And when you keep it simple, making it from scratch is also relatively easy... so why wouldn't you?
Here are my 3 favorite, beginner-friendly pasta dishes:
- Penne alla Vodka (my favorite recipe)
- Crock Pot Spaghetti (my favorite recipe)
- Classic Marinara (my favorite recipe + add meatballs from TJs)
Pro tip: the key to good Italian pasta is... 1) patience, 2) high-quality extra virgin olive oil (TJs has a few great ones), and 3) real, non-Kraft, Parmesan cheese.
3. Finish with a dead-simple dessert
You can definitely make something if you want... but I would suggest a store-bought dessert for two reasons: 1) making a full meal + desert can come off as trying too hard, and 2) it's so much easier.
So... I suggest something simple and basic, but that's still really good. Here are 2 ideas (that go well with the meal):
- Ice cream with fresh berries
- Frozen cheesecake
Step #4: Go for an After-Dinner Stroll
Okay, so this isn't technically in your house, but I'm counting it anyways.... because, we've all been there:
You just enjoyed a hearty meal (like a bowl of great pasta) and you're feeling sleepy, lazy, and lethargic. And while it's completely normal to feel tired after eating, it's not exactly the best transition into your special date-night activity.
So... go for a quick, relaxing walk together. This not only helps prevent you from falling into that post-meal fog, but it also helps with digestion and gets your blood flowing. sourcePro tip: have a destination in mind, within 15-20 minutes of your home. It doesn't need to be anything special... just a spot where you can sit, talk, and watch the sun set or gaze at the stars. A local park is a great option. Pro pro tip: Bring a blanket and a bottle of wine.
Step #5: Play a Game (Activity Idea#1)
A little friendly competition can really bring two people together... and games are a great at-home date activity for 2 reasons:
Reason #1: a good game is the perfect backdrop for relaxed, casual conversation (see the pro tip below)... and reason #2: games are not only one of the most fun things to do with a girl, but they're also one of the most underrated/underused.
Here are some of my favorite two-person game options:
Pro tip: while you're playing, ask her some funny conversation starters or funny questions to get to know her. It'll keep the mood lively, and by the end of the night you'll both know each other better and have a more understanding, deeper bond.
Step #6: Get Artistic (Activity Idea #2)
An artistic activity is a great choice because not only is it unique/not something she'll expect... but it's also something a lot guys don't want to do (and when you do something that you don't want to... for her, it's a highly-romantic, sweet thing to do).
...And as an added bonus, creating some sort of art/craft together gives her a physical reminder of that special night.
Here are 2 of my favorite artistic, at-home activities:
- Painting. Buy a couple easels, canvases, some paint, and some brushes... and go to town (you can make it more fun by doing portraits of each other).
- Ceramics. Get self-hardening clay (like this one) and use your fingers to mold and shape.
This activity should really be reserved for more long-term couples. The reason why? If you set up both the romantic dinner above and this creative activity... it comes can come off as way too much for a new relationship.
Pro tip: just like above, ask her some conversation starters for couples, or good questions to ask your girlfriend. These will create a lively conversation and add a fun secondary activity, on top of your more artistic one.
Step #7: Activities to Avoid (Bad Activity Ideas)
Guys... we're going for the perfect, romantic, at-home dinner date... so there are a few activities that you absolutely don't want to do:
- Movies/TV. Did you know that average American wastes about 5 hours/day watching TV? Be better, and show her you're better.
- Clean up. This is meant to emulate a romantic date night out. Do you do the dishes when you go to a restaurant? No... so leave them for tomorrow.
- Not having an activity planned. If you don't have a fun thing to do with your girlfriend planned, not only does this make it less of a 'date', but you'll also likely end up wasting the rest of the night on your computers/phones (which is neither romantic, nor a date).
And those all make sense, right?
Again, we want this to be a special, romantic night... so don't do something that you wouldn't do on a non-at-home date.
Okay guys, with those 7 steps for having a perfect at-home date in mind... here's something important to keep in mind:
Don't get too stressed trying to create the perfect night. Be relaxed... and create a relaxed, fun, and welcoming environment. That's the most important part. Take the rest as it comes, and let the night unfold naturally.
Remember: she's coming over because she wants to hang out with you. Everything else is just a bonus.