Romancing the home for Valentine’s Day

Set the mood for Valentine’s Day by creating a romantic atmosphere in your bedroom with pillows and soft lighting.

Mount Pleasant couple Lauren and Joseph Messina have traveled all over, experiencing hotels and restaurants across the globe. So when it comes time to set a romantic mood, they like to re-create memories of favorite travel spots during cocktail hour ... right in their own home.

“We dim the lights, have music playing and get out the wine glasses, mixed nuts, cocktail napkins and light a candle,” Lauren Messina said. “Even if it’s only for an hour, we’re taken back to our favorite spots.”

It’s proof that romance doesn’t have to include a four-course meal out or a night’s stay in a five-star hotel. You can set the mood right in your own living room, kitchen or master suite. So if a cozy night at home sounds better than a night out on the town, there are easy ways to transform your space into a personal love nest.

Messina, the interior designer and wedding planner behind Lauren M Creative, said one of the first steps to making your home more romantic is to tidy up and remove the clutter.

“Nothing’s romantic about kitchen counters being full of bills and empty food containers,” she said.

Even if you stash everything in a box under the counter and deal with it later, she said, the idea is to give your house that “hotel feel” and make it clean.

Once the house is tidied up, move on to the accents.

Forego any harsh, overhead lighting and instead opt for lamps and candlelight for a feeling of warmth, Messina said.

Bobbi Jo Engelby of Domain Interiors & Design recommends Votivo candles, which are long lasting and come in fragrant scents such as honeysuckle, lavender chamomile pear and Moroccan fig.

“A new candle, a new scent just seems to change a room,” Engelby said.

Pillows and throws are an easy and fairly inexpensive way to change up a living room or master bedroom while adding soft touches for a romantic feel.

“I’m a big advocate for pillows,” Messina said.

She even suggests floor pillows to create a perfect spot for cuddling. And if it’s chilly outside, putting them in front of the fireplace immediately creates a cozy atmosphere.

Engelby’s shop carries a popular pillow line from Designers Guild in London. With their intricate floral designs, the pillows add a touch of springtime romance to any room.

In addition to the pillows, Engelby suggests laying out a throw or blanket for a living room picnic.

Light the fireplace, pour a glass of wine and snuggle under a blanket.

Suddenly, you have the perfect date night right in your own home.

Flowers may seem cliche but they really can brighten a space and give a room a fresh, romantic feel (again, think about a hotel room with fresh flowers on the table).

For long-lasting romance, select high-quality silk faux flowers, Messina said.

She recommends heading to the local craft store for faux hydrangeas. Select a simple, square vase and gel water (boil the water and pour it into the vase where it hardens to look like real water) and suddenly you have a realistic looking vase of hydrangeas for your romantic night at home.

You also can select flowers that remind you both of a special occasion: a wedding bouquet, a first date or special trip. Just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean roses are your only option.

Engelby also suggests potted plants that can live on either as houseplants or in your flower garden. Shop the local garden center for a pot of cyclamen. Its heart-shaped blooms come in pink and red, making it a perfect pick for Valentine’s Day and well beyond.

One of the greatest benefits of celebrating Valentine’s Day at home is the opportunity to add those unique, personalized touches that make your special day truly special.

Whether you’ve been married two years or 20 years, you can pull out your wedding album or set out a few framed photos from when you were dating or first married.

Engelby suggests digging out an old love letter. You could even put it in a frame or make it part of a scrapbook for a personalized Valentine’s Day gift that can decorate a coffee table or bookshelf. Find a few souvenirs from your honeymoon or a special vacation.

“Add personal photos of you and your spouse and family,” Messina said. “Make those bookshelves really mean something. Adding mementos is always a good idea.”

A romantic evening at home can be about making some new memories while reminiscing about special times from the past.

“It can be crazy during Valentine’s Day, so it’s just fun being able to stay at home and doing things you don’t normally do all the time, like breaking out the crystal and the champagne glasses from your wedding,” Messina said. “It doesn’t have to be your anniversary to do fun things like that.”