There’s nothing more annoying than spending an entire date night deciding on what to watch. Sound familiar? Bingeing on Netflix and takeout might seem like the only option for an at-home date night, but that’s actually not the case. So, if you’re someone who continuously relies on the “Netflix and chill” approach, then it’s time to spice up your routine. Honestly, it’s not just a great way to show your S.O. that you care, but it also keeps things from getting stale in the relationship.
So, you’re probably wondering, if a night in doesn’t involve a meal or a movie, then what else is there? That’s a good question because after reading some of the existing suggestions surrounding this topic I thought it looked a little bleak too. For instance, when was the last time you heard a couple rave about an amazing at-home date night building forts, or recreating a bookstore in their living room, or actually writing down the story of how they met?! Never.
I decided to tackle this topic by doing a little brainstorming of my own and gathering suggestions for at-home date night ideas that I would actually be excited to try and share with others.
So, step one for having an at-home date night is set yourself up for success. For instance, if you already know your S.O. is particularly resistant to trying new things, or if you feel unsure of how to make an at-home date night stand out from a typical night in, then try these eight helpful tips from lifestyle blogger, Kita Bryant.
Break out of the norm: It’s easy to get into the rut of the same old games, the same old movies, etc. Set something like a new movie or game aside for a date night so that you have something new to experience. The worst enemy of a good date is doing the same old thing which can get boring and be very unexciting.
Don’t be afraid to go all out: Often times when you hear a date night at home, people think simple or uneventful. That’s just a common misconception. Even if you don’t have a ton of money, that’s doesn’t mean the night can’t be big and exciting. You don’t have to sit down and watch a movie. Be kids again, build a blanket fort, play Nerf guns with each other, whatever you want! Break out of the box!
Be spontaneous: Sometimes not setting plans for the date makes it less stressful. Just prepare for the date as the date is happening. Making it random can add an air of mystery and excitement.
Prepare mentally: If you’re cranky coming home from work or after dealing with kids all day, prepare yourself to put that aside and make the night relaxed. Stress and worry will always be there but there’s no reason to let it ruin your date night.
Set the mood: If you’re going for a romantic night, set the mood. Light some candles, put on some music, whatever does it for you. Use it as a time to just bond. If you want a fun and exciting/playful environment, put on some upbeat tunes and set the lighting and such to reflect that. It’s amazing what the environment can do to aid in moods.
Put the phones down: I admit that I’m addicted to my phone but specifically for business. Most people are on their phones a lot because phones cover a lot of tasks other than just communication for us. However, don’t let the outside world creep in on the night. Forget the phones and have your own little world.
Surprise each other: Bring home something they’ve always wanted. Or, do something they’ve always asked for. Any little special thing like that will make the date night successful right off the bat.
Just be lazy: If you’re both super tired and literally just want a day where you do nothing, find a show you’ve always wanted to watch together and binge watch it. It’s inexpensive but feels super fun and irresponsible.
Next step, find an activity. Be sure to pick something that you both can enjoy. Here were a few of my favorites:
Wine & Cheese Tasting: Pick up a few new cheeses and snacks and choose a bottle of wine, beer, liquor (or non-alcoholic beverage), something special you’ve been wanting to try. If you don’t feel like leaving the house, then try a monthly wine club or alcohol delivery app.
Game Night: Decide on a game you both would enjoy like, a crossword, puzzle, Scrabble, Boggle, or board game. There are actually quite a few two-player card games, like this one for couples or this one that’s customized to you and your partner.
Get Crafty: Bust out the crayons, paint sets, coloring books, cocktails, and “paint me like one your French girls”...too much? Try a Youtube painting tutorial or just freestyle and see where it goes. Remember, you don’t have to be Bob Ross to get your paint on.
Sunsets & Stargazing: If you have the luxury of outdoor space, grab a blanket and a thermos of hot chocolate, whiskey, or whatever you fancy, and make a date of it. Try planning a night that coincides with a particular lunar phase or celestial event.
Plan a Trip: Share your top five vacation destinations and start planning your next trip or just a weekend getaway. Even if you can’t settle on a date or a place, just sharing what’s on your bucket list is a great place to start.
Have a listening Party: Make a special cocktail and turn on some tunes. Everything sounds better on vinyl.
Sports Night:Watch a professional sports game together. It’s a lot more fun when you pick a team to follow. If sports aren’t your thing then ask for a tutorial, and if you’re into a particular sport, teach your S.O. about it.
Still not convinced that an at-home date night without Netflix can be fun? Here are some additional tried and true suggestions from real-life couples:
“So, my boyfriend and I love hot sauces (I know, it's pretty lame), so we recently got a DIY hot sauce kit off Amazon. It was really fun to make! We don't cook, so it's nice to find new ways to get into the kitchen. Also, since they need to ferment, we bring the bottles to the table some days so we can check them out and see how they're coming along.”- Sarah, 24 years old, New York City, New York
“My boyfriend and I shucked oysters together one night and it was actually a blast!” - Emily, 26 years old, Los Angeles, California
“My favorite at-home date night is a lazy evening where we make an easy dinner. I love learning to cook something new together that is a little more complicated than our go-to’s. We love stargazing in our backyard and sitting around our fire pit with music and cocktails. We also love to play “Jeopardy!” so we watch it on Netflix and compete against each other to try and answer the questions.” - Kristen, 28 years old, Portland, Maine
“I went on a date with a woodworker/personal chef, who invited me to his place on our second date and served me a home-cooked meal on a homemade table. It was a bit much but charming in a rustic way.” - Dan, 36 years old, New York City, New York
“I love sitting on the patio and having a drink, ordering food, and watching a movie or try making a new recipe together.” - Sabrina, 32 years old, Los Angeles, California
“We usually cook something together and hang out, or pick a topic to Google and learn/chat about. We also love drawing.” - Mary, 29 years old, Austin, Texas
“Make Italian food and watch an Italian film.” - Sarah, 32 years old, Los Angeles, California
“My husband is a graphic illustrator and loves everything comic related. It’s not my cup of tea but sometimes we will order in and binge-watch comic book movies.” - Duane and Toy, Park Forest, Illinois
“My husband and I made up a “game” where we each make playlists and then switch off. We can do this for hours. He listens to some of my music and I listen to his. I feel like I get to know him so much better through his music choices.” - Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed psychologist and board certified neurotherapist
“Painting with your significant other can be fun and bond you even more. Watercolors are really easy to clean out of clothing, so feel free to get a little frisky. Plus, you get to keep your creations and show them off as a happy reminder of good times together. If one of you is more into video games than the other, then this is a great way to show off your skills without anyone rolling their eyes. A little competitiveness can be great for a relationship. Just make sure neither of you is getting too competitive.” - Therapist Adina Mahalli (MSW
At-home date nights without Netflix are a great way to get intentional about connecting as a couple, they just take a little extra thought.