12 Valentine's Day Dinner Essentials if You're Staying In

Because really, who can get a reservation on V-day?


There's no getting around it, Valentine's Day is just around the corner. At this point, you and your S.O. probably have come to some sort of consensus about how to celebrate. (If not, get on it!) One of our favorite Valentine's Day date ideas relies heavily on one very important, very simple fact: It's nearly impossible to get a reservation for a Valentine's Day dinner. Maybe you can get seated at your restaurant of choice if you plan over a month ahead of time (but really, who's doing that?), but for those of us who seem to procrastinate on reservation making, you'll need a backup plan. And the perfect backup plan is, of course, to have a nice dinner at home! Luckily for you, we've rounded up all the Valentine's Day dinner essentials you need for a romantic night in.

If you're a couple who loves to cook, maybe you can make a meal together over a good bottle of wine. If neither of you likes cooking, then order takeout from somewhere fancy and set up a beautiful candlelit dinner table (with real plates!). Or if you're really feeling fancy, you can hire a personal chef to come cook you a meal—real luxury!

Here are some of our favorite must-haves for your romantic Valentine's Day dinner at home—whether you're cooking or someone is cooking for you!

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ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide

Courtesy of ChefSteps

If you're committing to cooking a Valentine's Day dinner, consider getting a sous vide beforehand to test and use the night of (and after!). The best part about a sous vide (besides how easy it is to use) is that when you're having a romantic evening, you can just set it and forget it instead of being active in the kitchen the whole time. What we love about the Joule is its size (smaller than most other sous vide) and that you can control and monitor your food on your phone the whole time, instead of getting up to check every couple of minutes!

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $179

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A Bouquet of Flowers

Courtesy of UrbanStems

You can't really do Valentine's Day without flowers. Besides acting as a romantic gesture (although no shame if you buy them for yourself!), they round out your at-home dinner tablescape.

SHOP NOW: UrbanStems, $80

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Food52 x Dansk Generations Bakeware

Courtesy of Food52

The importance of aesthetically pleasing oven-to-table bakeware is often undervalued, in our opinion. The ease of taking something directly out of the oven and only having to transport it to your table (without transferring it to another vessel for presentation) truly makes a difference in timing and gives you one less thing to clean up.

SHOP NOW: Food52, starting at $30

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A Delicious Bottle of Wine

Courtesy of Kim Crawford

Pair your yummy home-cooked Valentine's Day dinner with a favorite bottle of wine (we love this Kim Crawford rosé)—and maybe grab a second bottle so you have some dinner-cooking fuel.

SHOP NOW: Drizzly, starting at $10

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Morgan Lane Serena Cami and Esti Shorts

Courtesy of ShopBop

When dinner devolves slowly into an inevitable migration towards the couch for watching a movie or binging a favorite show, slip into something that's actually more comfortable (but also a little sexy!).

SHOP NOW: Shopbop, $298 and $238

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Cannoli See Myself With You Valentine's Day Card

Courtesy of Urban Outfitters

If you're not a fan of serious or overly saccharine cards, you're in luck—you can't throw a stone and not hit an adorable pun-based illustrated card these days.

SHOP NOW: Urban Outfitters, $5

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H&M Washed Linen Tablecloth in Dusty Rose

Photo Courtesy of H&M

Since pink and red are the Valentine's palette we know and love, try dressing your table up with a tablecloth that's a couple of steps back from a printed heart pattern and get something you can use year-round that still feels Valentine's Day dinner appropriate, like this linen dusty rose.

SHOP NOW: H&M, $60

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Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK Stereo Turntable

Courtesy of Audio-Technia

Play some tunes on your turntable if you're a record couple (just seems more fun than a playlist!). If that's not your scene, pull out your bluetooth speaker. Either way—music is a must.

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $99

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Otherland Black Velvet Candle

Courtesy of Otherland

What's a romantic evening without some old-fashioned candlelight? Nothing kills the mood faster than overhead lights that are way too bright, so turn on some soft lighting and light some candles (regular tapers for dinner, and a yummy scented one like this for post-dinner drinks and eventual couch time).


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Porcelain Paper Plates

Courtesy of Food52

These may look like your standard paper plates, but they're actually porcelain (gasp!). Although the temptation to use actual paper plates so you have less of a mess to clean up after dinner may be STRONG, we promise you'll regret not treating your romantic Valentine's Day dinner with the TLC it deserves if you use disposable plates.

SHOP NOW: Food52, starting at $36

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The Coziest Blanket, Ever

Courtesy of ChunkyWoolStudio

After a couple glasses of wine, a delicious meal, and a comfy couch, you'll be ready to get as cozy as possible—which is where this very chunky knit blanket comes in. Hope your S.O. doesn't run hot!

SHOP NOW: Etsy, from $42

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Meater Meat Thermometer

This pretty amazing meat thermometer is pretty exciting stuff in the cooking and grilling world. Cordless and wifi/bluetooth compatible so you can control it and keep an eye on it from your phone (you know, so you don't have to worry about checking it when you should be relaxing and drinking wine with your SO), we're totally into this new kitchen tool.

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $97.48

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