Using Decor to Set the Mood for Valentine's Day

Decorating for Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean lots of red hearts & flowers. Check out these romantic décor ideas that celebrate love without getting too feminine and frilly.

By Ande Waggener


What is the best Valentine’s décor? The best decorations for Valentine’s Day are the ones that have deep meaning without going so far over the top that the average guy wants to run for the hills.


Face it. Valentine’s Day is usually a bigger deal for women than it’s for men. Sure, men enjoy love and connection as much as women do, but I’m not sure many men are that into red hearts and flowers. My man sure isn’t.


The best Valentine’s Day décor, therefore, doesn’t involve filling your house with the color red or plastering your walls with hearts. You can have romantic décor that celebrates Valentine’s Day without the usual frills and flowers.


Here are five ideas for Valentine’s Day decorations that will not only get you in the mood for the day of love but can also help you create romantic rooms and relationship-enhancing decor you can enjoy year-round.


Create a Meaningful Photo Array

You probably have photos that represent a wonderful time you shared with someone you love. Whether the photos are selfies or landscapes, now’s the time to get those photos off your camera and onto your walls. Print out photos as 5x7s, 8x10s, or even larger copies. Then mat them, frame them, and hang them in a cluster on the wall. If you love the color red and want to stick to the usual Valentine’s Day color scheme, you can mat the photos in red. But you don’t have to. Use whatever color you want. Remember, these decorations aren’t for anyone but you. What means something to you and your Valentine is what matters.




This photo array represents a trip my husband and I took to our favorite place on the Oregon Coast. They may not say love to anyone else, but they do to us.


Frame Expressions of Love

If you don’t have photos that represent a special time, you can still display some love. Instead of pictures, frame expressions of love. Find a print with a saying that represents how you feel about your Valentine. Then frame it and hang it.




If you’re feeling creative, you can do something even better than framing a print. Write a love poem. The poem can be serious, or it can be lighthearted. As long as it expresses love, it can be part of decorating for Valentine’s Day. Handwrite it or print it out. Frame your poem and hang it or set it out. Although you can frame your poem with a Valentine feel, if you use a more generic frame, the poem can become a permanent décor item.


If writing poems isn’t your thing but you’d still like to use Valentine’s decorations you make yourself, get out some Scrabble letters and express yourself more simply. Mount your word art on a fabric backing (yes, you can choose red), frame it, and display it.




Turn Ordinary Objects into Love Notes

Some people find writing love notes easy. Some people, not so much. Don’t worry. If you want to decorate your or your honey’s space for Valentine’s Day using love notes, you can do it easily.


Look for objects that represent how you feel about your love, and let the object be your message by placing an appropriate note next to it. If you can’t think of anything to say, quote a song. And get punny. For instance, you could place next to a bottle a note that quotes Jim Croce’s lyrics: “If I could save time in a bottle / The first thing that I'd like to do / Is to save every day till eternity passes away / Just to spend them with you.” Or put a note next to the stove that says, “You light my fire.”


Look for objects that can speak volumes.




A plain old rock can communicate what someone means to you.




Even a doorway can make a moving declaration.




Connect Romantic Symbols

Instead of using the ubiquitous hearts to decorate, find something that stands for love in a little less direct way. Subtle symbols of what someone means to you can be far more impactful than paper hearts.




This display, for example, is one my husband made for me before we married. It says, “I want to give you the moon, make you my bride, and explore the world with you.” Clever guy. It won my heart.


Get Plushy

Okay, so we need one little nod to the usual Valentine’s expressions. Plush or stuffed cloth hearts and Valentine’s Day themed plush toys are a delightfully fun way to easily say, “I love you” and create a little Valentine’s spirit in your home.


My husband buys Valentine’s plushies for me because he says he wants to give me something that lasts longer than chocolates and flowers. We’ve been together for 17 years, so I have quite a collection. I always get out a couple of them and combine them with some stuffed cloth hearts (rice-filled home-sewn hearts) to create a Valentine’s Day-themed tablescape for a candlelit dinner. Plush toys with hearts are about as on-the-nose as we get with Valentine’s decorations.




Hopefully, these ideas will inspire you to decorate your home for Valentine’s Day in fun new ways.


And please keep in mind that you don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to celebrate Valentine’s Day or decorate this way. You can apply all these décor ideas to any relationship you have with anyone you love, be they a lover, friend, family member, or even yourself. The point is to use décor to celebrate love and connection, and the beauty of these ideas is that you can incorporate most of them into your surroundings every single day. There’s no reason to confine love to one day out of the year.


Images used with permission, courtesy of Ande Waggener

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