We (Heart) Home: 5 Home Improvement Ideas to Get Your Valentine in the Mood

by Matt Schmitz
bottom half pictured of couple holding hands while painting a room

Did you happen to notice all those red, chocolate-truffle-filled boxes shaped like a certain vital organ closely associated with love, lining the endcap displays at every supermarket and convenience store? Well it ain’t a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. It’s your annual reminder that it’s time to dial up the romance with your significant other and show ’em that you can still bring it in the passion department. Some good news for homeowners cohabitating with their paramour: If home is where the heart is, home improvement really gets the ol’ blood pumpin’.

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According to a new survey by WalletHub, Americans intend to spend $21.8 billion this year on Valentine’s Day revelry, about $165 per person. As your conventional candlelight-dinner-out options are likely pandemic-limited right now, and for that very same reason you and your partner have been mostly stuck at home anyway, why not invest that holiday dough in a household improvement designed to bring you two lovebirds closer together — both figuratively and physically?

Here are five home-improvement ideas sure to arouse those amorous impulses in your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day better than any aphrodisiac:

1. Start Swingin’

Getting cuddly means getting close, and a porch swing makes for an inviting excuse to sidle up next to one another under a warm blanket with a nice bottle of red, hold hands and enjoy that gentle sway with bae. According to Home Depot, estimated installation time is just 2 to 4 hours, so this one is doable even in the 11th hour — plus it’s not that expensive, with the swings themselves starting as low as 70 bucks.

No porch? No problem. “There are several options available for swings that come suspended in their own frames, or with an arched or flat-topped arbor from which to hang them,” Home Depot notes.

2. Rub-a-Dub in the Hot Tub!

Wanna really turn up the heat on your Valentine’s Day? Everything you need to know is in the song from that old Saturday-night sketch. A nice, steamy soak in a hot tub can be both relaxing and recreational. Installing a home spa obviously is going to require significant time and money — $6,900 on average, by Fixr’s estimate — so no Feb. 13 panic purchases. The actual install is relatively quick, but you need to first determine whether it’ll be located inside or outside and if you have space, plus ventilation, foundation and electrical concerns, as well as scheduling delivery.

According to well-known hot tub brand Jacuzzi: “After mulling over these aspects, deciding whether you want an indoor cozy addition or an outdoor hot spot may come down to a simple personal preference.”

3. Double Your Pleasure

You don’t need to sit next to each other in his-and-hers clawfoot tubs at the beach like the couple in that TV commercial to bathe in your love for one another. Installing couples shower heads is a surefire way to share the warmth. A new shower head typically costs less than $200, but keep in mind that installing a second head will be pricier, particularly if it requires special plumbing work to accommodate it.

Normandy Remodeling in suburban Chicago advises those considering a dual shower head to verify that the household has strong enough water pressure to accommodate the second stream, that the water heater can keep up with the increased demand, that the heads are positioned at a height that accommodates both occupants, and — most importantly — that there’s enough room.

“The first, most important consideration for a his and her shower is whether or not the space can allow for it,” Normandy Remodeling designer Leslie Molloy stated, noting that the ideal shower size for this purpose is 8 feet by 4 feet. “You want to make sure you can both ... fit comfortably. If it’s too small, you’ll be crammed and bumping elbows.”

4. Come On, Baby, Light My Fire…

There’s something seductive about watching fire dance in the night while cozied up next to your best gal or guy. And when it’s one of those fashionably modern gas-burning fire pits filled with glass-diamond beads or lava stones, maybe it even takes your mind back to that awesome oceanside boutique hotel you stayed at that one time when you still had that intense new-couple infatuation. Why not reignite those old flames by installing one on your patio or in your backyard?

You can purchase a gas fire pit for anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, install it yourself or go the pre-fab route where all you need to do is hook it up to a propane tank like your barbecue grill.

“The easiest way to build a gas fire pit is to purchase a manufactured drop-in fire pit kit,” according to HGTV. “The kits usually feature a bowl shape and come ready to install into the fire pit enclosure of your choice. You need to create the enclosure, which can be as simple as stacked bricks, cinderblocks, or concrete pavers.”

This, of course, will require you spend your Valentine’s evening outside — February can get awfully chilly in much of the country — but between the fire and your flame, we’re sure you’ll find some way to stay warm.

5. The Gift Card That Keeps on Giving

According to WalletHub’s Valentine’s study, Americans are expecting to collectively spend $2.1 billion on gift cards so that the apple of their eye can purchase the object of their affection for themselves. Well, if the one that you love loves do-it-yourself projects around the house, consider getting them a gift card to their favorite big-box home-improvement store — and then show them our list of suggestions as to how they might spend down that card balance.

Consider a flexible/extendable mini flashlight for seeing in tricky spaces, touchscreen-friendly work gloves, a magnetic wristband for keeping track of loose screws and nails and such, a personalized hammer, a digital tape measure, a new tool kit and much more. You might even be able to convince them to blow it all on the tools and materials needed to finally do that DIY project you’ve been asking them to take care of … everybody wins!

It should be noted, here, however, that WalletHub’s survey listed “tools” at the least-desirable V-Day gift, with nearly a quarter of respondents indicating as much. (We feel attacked.)

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