Planning a Valentine’s Day for Two

18493048_SYou can always go to a nice restaurant for dinner, pick up a Hallmark card, and look forward to your favorite chocolates and maybe some roses.

This is such a common approach to Valentine’s Day that restaurants will be crowded, roses cost a fortune, and even chocolates are so much pricier than they should be when they come in a heart-shaped box. How about a celebration for the two of you that is as individual as you are instead? The simple ideas below can help you plan a great evening.

Set the stage: Candlelight is never out of place. If you have a fireplace, be sure to light a small fire for the ambience. Fresh flowers are always nice, but pick something unusual rather than roses. How about orchids or daffodils?

Make it unique: Do you always eat at the kitchen counter? Then how about setting the dining room table for two? You could always plan to sit on the floor on pillows at the coffee table or throw a blanket on the floor in front of your fireplace or a window with a view. How about dining outside with just candlelight to make the space feel like yours alone?

Plan for two: Make a meal of small bites of finger food, with a variety of favorites for both of you. Add a bottle of sparkling wine if you drink, or some sparkling fruit juice or water if you don’t. Be sure to include a favorite dessert. Include foods that bring back memories of previous events in your shared lives.

Remember: This is a special time to share memories of your life together. Tell each other stories, and take the time to remind each other why you fell in love in the first place. You may find yourself creating the best Valentine’s Day ever.

Warm Up your Dining Table

With autumn bringing family holidays, adding some special touches to your dining table or buffet can turn a simple dinner into something special. A fall-themed centerpiece or other elements also provide additional warmth to your home. Here are a few ideas.

Table runners: Catalogs, home shops and even discount stores all can be great resources for lovely table runners. Place a runner on your table and add a couple of candlesticks and brighten up your dining room very simply. Add placemats and dinner is ready. Table runners also work well to embellish simple tablecloths. Switching a runner is one of the fastest ways to change a room’s mood.

Flowers: Chrysanthemums – either in a pot or a vase – say fall easily and inexpensively. Place a few pots on either side of your buffet or one large vase in the center of your dining table. For a simpler and easy look, cut flowers shorter and put in a series of juice glasses. Use rubber bands to hold the stems together – making the small flower arrangements appealing and organized.

Centerpieces: Don’t limit your ideas to flowers and candles. Gourds, a bowl of mixed nuts, fall leaves – real or silk – and some apples or pears can be combined with baskets or pottery bowls and platters to create a tablescape that catches the eye. Just add place settings and you’re ready for a party or family gathering.

Candles: Whether you choose tall tapers or small votives, candlelight adds warmth and charm to any room. if you are concerned about fire and small children, look for battery-powered LED lights that mimic flames.

With just a few minutes and a little thought, you can turn your dining room from a place to eat to an inviting and appealing space. Take the time to make your dining table special and your family and friends will appreciate the result.