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Long-stemmed roses, redtablelinens, an expensive tasting menu at a stuffy French restaurant: There's nothing inherently wrong with partaking in these Valentine's Day clichés. But if you've opted to stay in this year in favor of a low-key celebration, how can you make your humble abode feel romantic without veering into the cheesy lane?
We asked design experts for their mosttasteful tipsfor bringing that lovin' feeling into your home. Here are the eight best ways to decorate for this heart-themed holiday.
That's right—have a conversation with someone who lives and breathesgorgeous blooms. You know roses sell for top dollar this time of year, so to save some cash (and avoid being totally on the nose) steer clear of this obvious choice and pick something sentimental in an unexpected color.
Julie Coraccio, a professional organizer with Reawaken Your Brilliance, recommends fragrant lilies or wildflowers.
"Find something that looks like you picked it from your yard and has a carefree sense," she says.
Pick up the pants, socks, and other items on the floor—especially in the bedroom—because there's nothing likeclutterto really crush a romantic vibe. If you're short on time and want to make your house appear spotless, you can corral laundry in the hamper, stack books neatly on a shelf, and run thevacuumover therug.
Tall tapers are classic, but they tend to look a little stuffy. Plus, while some claim to be dripless, others look like a hot mess after a few minutes and can end up marring yourtablewith wax.
The fix? A low-slung arrangement of thick pillars, or a line of small tea lights down the middle of yourtable.
Coraccio likes to use a variety of shapes and sizes, as it sets a romantic scene and serves as a nice backdrop. Arrange them in a tray or on glass pillars, and add fresh rosemary or eucalyptus between each one.
Just as red and green decorations during Christmas are expected (and sometimes dreaded), adorning your home with cloying rosy colors for Valentine's Day is sort of a turnoff. Instead, embrace your and your partner's favorite shades for yourtablesettings.
Get out the silverware and your prettiest plates—and by all means, use clothnapkins.
Karen Gray-PlaistedofDesign Solutions KGP likes patternednapkinswith large-print flowers because they're trending now. Linens with embroidery always feel special and not over-the-top. Or look to natural fabrics such as jute or a soft burlap.
As for a centerpiece, Andrea Correale, a caterer and founder ofElegant Affairs, recommends a monochromatic approach.
"For a romantic, stylish design, use one type of flower and create full, tight arrangements in small vases," she says.
Once you've tidied up, light a scentedcandleor set up a diffuser. While some fragrances are overtly sensual (amber and vanilla come to mind), Coraccio recommends trying something unexpected like lavender, jasmine, or cinnamon.
You can also skip the priceycandlesand make your own fragrance.
"I love to simmer apple cider with cinnamon and cloves on the stove for a warm, delicious scent," says Correale.
A crackling fire on a chilly winter night is the height of romance. If you're lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, Gray-Plaisted recommends placing acoffee tableby it as a place where you and your loved one can gather for a game of Scrabble, a homemade cocktail, or a quiet conversation.