Sometimes there’s nothing better than a night in with your better half. But when staying in becomes your only date night option, a little inspiration goes a long way in keeping things fresh and preventing Groundhog Day.
We’ve rounded up 10 fun at-home date night ideas that go beyond your standard ‘dinner and a movie’ situation, so you and your partner can reignite the spark by reinventing what it means to date at home.
1. Movies through the decades
Turn an everyday activity into a special ritual by choosing a decade and a few of that era’s most iconic or cult films to work your way through. You’ll need a comfy couch and endless popcorn for this one. NB: snuggles are guaranteed.
Feeling the 90s? Hoo boy, you’ve got options – everything from Forrest Gump, Titanic, and Pretty Woman to Romeo + Juliet, Fargo, The Big Lebowski and Fight Club. The 80s has gems like Dead Poets Society, Rain Man, The Breakfast Club, Blade Runner and Die Hard. The 70s includes classics like The Godfather, Alien, Star Wars, Jaws and The Exorcist. The 60s brought us flicks like The Graduate, Lawrence Of Arabia and Psycho.
You get the gist—no matter the decade, there is so much cinematic goodness waiting to be experienced.
2. The bowl of secrets (and dares)
A cute way to deepen your knowledge of one another and have a bit of a laugh is to write 20 questions and dares on little pieces of paper, fold them up and throw them into two separate bowls. If someone gets a question wrong, choose a note from the ‘dare’ bowl as penalty.
These don’t need to be earth shattering secrets or uncomfortable dares either, it could be as simple as “what’s my favourite cooking utensil?” and “breakdance for 30 seconds to ‘It’s Like That’. And If secrets and dares feel a little precarious, ditch the dare bowl and instead write down 20 questions about one another. These must be answered, even if you pull your own question.
3. Critical thinking card games
Sometimes it’s better to remove each other from the equation and have someone like Flex Mami ask the hard questions. ‘ReFlex: A Conversation Card Game’ will throw all sorts of interesting topics into the discussion mix so your night will be stimulated by critical thinking.
Topics span love, life, death, politics, religion, career and psychology and will give your couple the framework to rise above small talk and get stuck into the juicy stuff.
4. Themed cooking night
This won’t be your usual spag bol or meat and three veg situation. On themed cooking nights, you both choose a culture and deep dive into creating both an ambience and meal that transports you to that location.
If Tokyo, Japan is your choice, for example, get dressed up as if you were really going out for a night in Shinjuku, put on a fun background playlist (like this one) and make your Japanese meal of choice—sushi, ramen, curry, yakitori, chanko nabe, tempura. Pull out the saké and don’t forget a Japanese dessert (mochi, anyone?). Finish the night off with a bit of living room karaoke.
5. Bring your favourite fancy restaurant to you
If cooking from scratch sounds like the last thing you want to be doing on date night and you’d rather have help from the professionals, take advantage of the pivot many high-calibre restaurants have made in the last year to make dining in feel like dining out.
You can now get signature multi-course meals from your city’s best restaurants delivered at home, accompanied by a set of instructions so you can plate up like a pro. Whether you use a service like Providoor (for those in Sydney and Melbourne) or go restaurant-direct, this option supports local while filling your bellies with the good stuff.
Just be sure to do justice to your culinary masterpiece with quality drinks, a lovely table setting on your Koala Serenity Dining Table, candles or soft lighting, moody music and dress to impress.
6. Paint a pair of portraits
You don’t need to be a regular Van Gogh to enjoy putting brush or pen to paper. In fact, in the spirit of Matthew Johnson’s season of The Bachelor, it’ll be far more entertaining if you aren’t.
This idea is all about getting your creative juices flowing. Paint each other’s portraits and even pop them on your Instagram story with a poll to see which depiction is voted winner. You can think outside the box on this one and paint in the style of Picasso or Matisse, too.
7. Get sentimental
While this might sound mushy at first, it really is a surefire way to dial up the romance factor on date night: write a love letter or poem about your SO and read it out loud to each other. If you’re shy, you can swap and read them yourselves.
8. Digital double date
If you know that you both need the excitement only an injection of other personalities can bring, schedule a double date night with another pair. Fire up Zoom, Uber each other half of the meal you’re cooking like you’re having a Potluck, play a couple rounds of trivia and let loose.
9. Build a fort and camp out in your living room
Blanket forts are magical no matter your age, especially when fairy lights are involved. For the ultimate in comfort and nostalgia, build a fort with our Cushy Sofa Bed using flat sheets and string lights, so you can set up a romantic glamping night in with the whole shebang – wine, cheese boards, chocolate and more.
10. Enjoy an indoor picnic
We might be allowed out for picnics again but we can’t always predict the weather. If you’re living in a smaller space, it’s totally possible to transform your living room or spare room into an idyllic picnic spot.
Layer down fabrics like sarongs or blankets in fun colours and scatter ample cushions around. If you have a picnic basket, great. If not, fix up a few grazing platters and boards, grab a chilled bottle of vino, add those fairy lights you used for your fort and eat your dinner par terre.