Designers say subtle home accents like valentine-themed small glass hearts can be used to express affection for family and friends.
Photo by Marilyn Campbell
Whether planning a dinner party for friends, a romantic meal for two or a breakfast surprise for children, local designers say simple accents can create a festive atmosphere on Valentine's Day. First on the list of suggestions: originality.
"I feel that things like oversized balloons and little bears with stuffed hearts have been overdone so much that I would maybe stay away from those," said Angela Phelps of Le Village Marche in Arlington. "Look for things that are more creative."
One way to make guests or family feel special is with lightly scented conversation heart candles and soaps. "They're cute and quirky," said McLean resident Penelope Bell of the Dandelion Patch in Reston, Vienna, Leesburg and Washington, D.C. "I would put them in a powder room for guests if you're having a Valentine's Day gathering. You could display them in a small soap or cylindrical glass vase."
Designers say subtle home accents can be used to express affection. "You can display Valentine's-themed glass plates that can be used to hold candy or a little glass heart," said Judy Philactos of Periwinkle in Washington, D.C. Small glass hearts can be grouped or scattered on an accent table as an expression of love.
Phelps recommends Valentine-themed vintage postcards, which can be used for more than correspondence. "[These] glittering greetings are fun for decorating as well."
Philactos strings lace-trimmed, heart-shaped Valentine's Day cards to make a garland that can be hung on a mantle to add burst of color. She also loops a ribbon through the cards and hangs them on a metal photo tree to create a Cupid-worthy accent piece.
Decorative candles can create an air of romance or festivity. "I've used pink, lightly scented bubbled glass candles," said Phelps. "If you put three or four of those together, I think they look really, really nice."
When it comes to the table, Phelps suggests moving beyond red.
"I think if you are decorating a table for a romantic dinner, you can never go wrong with candles or fresh flowers," said Phelps. "You can do a white theme with little bits of red. [Valentine's Day table settings] don't always have to be all red, and it doesn't always have to be roses."
Floral designer Gerry Rogers of Petal's Edge Floral Design in Alexandria says floral options are plentiful. "February is a great time of year for flowers. We're starting to get a lot of spring flowers back in," said Rogers "Things like anemone and tulips and sometimes even peonies and sweet pea. Gerbera daisies can be a playful or colorful choice, and orchids are great for someone who likes something a little more exotic."
Potomac-based floral designer Evelyn Kinville suggests looking to nature for inspiration. "You can create an arrangement that looks like you went out for a walk in a woodsy area and found some nice vines and grasses," said Kinville of Behnke's Florist in Potomac. "You can mix those with roses or hydrangeas. These arrangements make nice accents for end tables or coffee tables."
There is an abundance of choices for even for the youngest celebrants. "Valentine's-themed cupcake liners are nice for children," said Phelps. The cupcakes can be displayed on a wide-rimmed, footed cake plate and tied with a colorful ribbon.
Some designers say no Valentine's Day is complete without candy, and it is possible to get creative with sweets. "There are heart-shaped candies made from marzipan or coated with a red-hued, white chocolate shell and filled with Calvados or raspberry ganache," said Philactos.