It's true that eating dinner, which is so often a social event, can seem a bit lonely solo.
But with the right care and attitude, sitting down to a meal prepared and eaten by you and only you also can be a truly pleasurable experience.
In fact, it can feel downright luxurious.
From choosing a menu to suit only yourself to indulging in dessert curled up by the fire, you can create the experience you crave.
These ideas can inspire you to make more of your night at home alone.
Eat wherever you like
If you are dining alone, your first thought may be to perch at the kitchen counter or plunk yourself in front of the TV—and if that's where you really want to be, go for it.
But don't discount sitting down at the dining table, at the breakfast table or even outdoors.
Do whatever you need to do to make the space more comfortable and inviting: clear away clutter, lower the lights, drape a sheepskin over your chair and light candles all around.
Treat yourself as you would a good friend who just popped by for supper
Just because you are on your own doesn't mean you have to dive right into hard-core cooking as soon as you walk in the door.
Put yourself in a cheerful mood and relax a little. Imagine you were entertaining a good old friend. Pour yourself a favorite beverage, set out a few easy tidbits to munch on, turn on a little music and look over your recipe.
Cook what you like...especially if no one else does
Speaking of recipes, have you thought about what to make for yourself?
Forget about frozen dinners and go with something you can get excited about.
If your family and friends have different tastes than you, consider this your big chance to indulge in whatever you love—stinky cheese, fresh fish, spicy curry or anything else you don't usually get to have but wish you did.
For the ultimate recipe inspiration for solo dining, check out The Pleasures of Cooking for One by legendary editor Judith Jones (Jones was Julia Child's editor, among others).
Enjoy the process
Even if you don't love cooking, it can be more enjoyable if you let it be. Take your time. Read your recipe carefully before beginning and check to make sure you have everything you need.
Pay attention to your senses as you cook: the sound of sizzling onions in the pan, the scent of fresh rosemary under your knife, a slurp of soup from the pot to taste.
Set yourself a beautiful table
Arrange a little vase or bowl of cut flowers, set your place with a cloth napkin and place mat or tablecloth, and use a nice glass.
Light candles or twinkle lights, and turn down the overhead. The setting doesn't have to be fancy to feel special; even a small effort (placing a single bloom in a bowl of water, for example) will make your meal more of a pleasure.
Try a mindful meal
It is surprisingly difficult to focus solely on your food. Have you ever tried it?
With busyness and multitasking being the norm these days, it is a striking experience to zero in on one moment and experience it to the fullest.
To try a mindful meal, savor each bite, focusing on the scent, taste and texture.
Take your time ... and whatever you do, don't look at your phone.
Savor a good book or catch up with the newspaper
On the other hand, there is something delicious about reading during dinner. Especially if you are a parent who is usually bombarded by questions and requests during the nightly meal, immersing yourself in a good read can be flat-out fabulous for a change.
End on a sweet note
Take yourself to a different spot for your after-dinner treat. Whether you opt for a complete dessert course or a mug of hot tea and a square of chocolate by the fire, the feeling of treating yourself is the important thing.
This story originally appeared on Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish. You can find it here.
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