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5 ways a smart home can help you prepare for Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day nearly here, you might be scrambling for ideas — especially if you’ve put off plans until the last minute. The good news is that your smart home can help with Valentine’s Day planning, whether you’re trying to set the mood, prepare a delicious meal, or just keep that special gift safe till you get home.

Use smart lights to set the mood

For a truly successful Valentine’s Day date, you have to set the perfect mood. Smart lights are the key to doing this — after all, no one wants to eat dinner under harsh fluorescents. Candlelight is better, but if you don’t want to light a bunch of candles (or you aren’t allowed to because of your apartment’s rules), Philips Hue can help.

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Hue Labs has a feature called “candlelight romance” that causes your smart lights to flicker just like candles. It can create the same ambiance without the fire risk. If you have Philips Hue smart lights, just go into the app and activate this setting to use its features.

You can do more than just set the flights to flicker. Colored smart lights can be set to more sensual colors, like purple and red, and you can adjust the brightness level in advance. Take the time to play with your light’s settings until you find the level that works for you, then make it a preset. That way, you can just ask your smart assistant to make the lights romantic, and voilà — you create the effect in moments. You can also ask your assistant to make the lights romantic right as you walk in the door for added effect.

Use smart speakers to play the perfect love song

Is it really Valentine’s Day if you don’t play “Strangers in the Night” at one point or another? Frank Sinatra (with a dash of John Coltrane) is the perfect background music for a romantic dinner, but no one wants to fiddle with a record player to start the music.

Instead, just ask your smart speaker to play the music for you. Create a playlist ahead of time on your streaming service of choice and give it a unique name. You can include all of your favorite romantic songs and have them play in the order you want — bonus points if you include the song that was playing the night you and your spouse or partner met.

Google Nest Mini on wall
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Depending on your smart speakers, you can sync them up and play the song from all of them at once, creating a surround sound-like effect throughout the room.

Let smart appliances help you cook the perfect meal

Noted grief counselor Alan Wolfelt said: “Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” Cooking is an attractive skill, but not one that everyone has. If you’re culinarily challenged but want to try your hand at whipping up a delicious meal for that special someone, smart home technology can help.

A smart display like the Echo Show can help you find thousands of different recipes and walk you through each one. This helps you stay on track with the recipe without losing your place. Some of the recipes even include pictures of what each step is supposed to look like.

Just a reminder: Make sure to read the entire recipe before you start cooking, and get all of your ingredients together and ready ahead of time.

A device like a Wi-Fi-connected Instant Pot can help you cook almost every meal imaginable — even yogurt! The Instant Pot combines a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and other kitchen appliances into one relatively compact space. It’s also forgiving, so you can make a few mistakes and still end up with a delicious meal in the end.

A smart vacuum can handle pre- and post-date cleaning

Nothing kills a date faster than walking into a dirty apartment. Don’t fall prey to this common mistake. If you don’t have time to vacuum, a robot vacuum can help clean your floor while you’re away.

Something like the iRobot Roomba i3+ can vacuum your floor and automatically empty the vacuum itself when it finishes. If it fills up before it completely cleans the home, then it will empty the dirt container and pick up where it left off.

iRobot Roomba i3 Plus dirt disposal unit
John Velasco / Digital Trends

If you happen to spill the croutons on date night, the vacuum can handle that, too, but maybe wait till the next day before cleaning — the sound of a vacuum cleaner isn’t the most romantic noise in the world.

If your home is mostly hardwood and you need to mop, don’t worry — there are also robot mops that can sweep and mop your floor, leaving your floors as shiny as the day they were installed.

Make sure your gift is safe with a smart security system

If you’re having that special gift delivered, the last thing you want is for a porch pirate to snag it. You can ensure the safety of your special someone’s Valentine’s Day present with a smart security system. A video doorbell from Ring or Nest will keep an eye on your porch, while security cameras both inside and outside of your home will alert you to any suspicious activity.

There’s no need to worry about privacy, either. You can set up a routine that disables your security system when you come home. There won’t be any record of your Valentine’s date on your cameras, so both you and your date can enjoy your privacy.

Ring Indoor Cam Cover front view
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Of course, if you mess up dinner (or give them flowers they’re allergic to), the lack of any record might be a blessing in disguise.

Don’t sweat Valentine’s Day. Making reservations is difficult, and the limited prix fixe menus are often overpriced and only half as delicious as the normal menu. Spend this Valentine’s Day at home, away from the crowds, and let your smart home help you prepare.

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