|img credit: make it cozee|
It's definitely a sign of the times that rather than getting invited to house parties any longer, over the last few months I've been invited to a few house-warming parties instead (next it will be baby showers I'm sure...) So when I was asked by TSB to share some tips for throwing a housewarming party (and doing it on a budget) - I was keen to get my thinking cap on.
I've been lucky enough to own two flats and a house over the last seven years or so. Sadly (tiny violins at the ready) we didn't really hold a housewarming party at our current house as we moved half-way between my friends and family and Tom's friends and family, so we didn't really have any friends where we lived to invite! Nonetheless I still have a few tips I've picked up from holding two of my own and having been invited to several other house-warming parties lately that I thought might be useful for anyone who might be planning on buying or renting a new home in 2015.
001. Do it before you decorate. My biggest tip is to hold your housewarming party before you do any painting or decorating, and especially before you lay any new carpets or flooring (if you are). There's nothing worse than getting anxious about red wine being spilled on your immaculate new cream carpet - instead, hold the party when you've still got the green patterned carpet down that's heading for the dump. The same goes if you're allowing guests to go in the garden - avoid any stress over muddy shoes by leaving old flooring down, or laying sheets if you have recently decorated.
002. Rope friends in to decorate in exchange for drinks! I know of several people who've combined their housewarming party with asking friends to help paint or lay decking or carpets etc. Bribe your close friends with some beers and a barbecue (maybe not in this weather) and then invite the rest of your friends round once the job is done.
003. Repurpose old items for party props and accessories. An old piece of chipboard can be painted as a menu board, decking planks can be used to make a 'party here' sign, and glasses you were planning on throwing out could be used one last time at the party to ensure your best glasses don't get broken.
004. Find a spot for coats and bags. If you haven't got a coat closet, tidy coats and bags into a spare room or onto a bed to ensure your main 'party area' doesn't get too cluttered.
005. Have a guestbook or notes jar for guests to leave well wishes and tips. I love the thumbprint idea below; such a fun way to remember who came to your party! I've also seen jars that can be filled with small notes from friends leaving tips for how to enjoy your first home. A fun thing to look back over on your 'moving in' anniversary (ours is 15th March - we will have been in this house for four years by then, no excuses for not having finished all the DIY!)
006. Have lots of accessible bins throughout the house, and a big bin bag in the kitchen. Let's face it, you don't want to spend any longer cleaning your lovely new home than you need to, so encourage guests to bin their empty bottles and napkins with lots of bins and a big bin bag in the kitchen.
007. Clear your fridge if you've already stocked it. If you've got as far as the first food shop then try and clear some room for all of the drinks your guests will bring. If there's no room then find another place - filling your bath with cold water and ice is another option if you're having a lot of guests.
008. Use candles and diffusers to mask the smell of new paint (or an old home!). If you think you might be painting right up until the moment your guests arrive, make sure you open lots of windows and burn some candles to mitigate the fresh paint smell (same goes if you've bought a project house that smells a little musty!)
009. Ask for decorating tips or local contacts. At one party I went to recently the hosts took us on a tour of their new home - there were a few rooms they were really stuck with so it was fun to chat with them about their plans and share a few of our own ideas. If you're new to the area but have friends who live locally, take the opportunity to ask them if they know any great local painters/decorators/builders etc so you can start building up some contacts.
010. Save your money for home-y bits by doing food on a budget. If you're having a smaller gathering then you could always suggest getting take-away or asking people to bring something small like some crisps and dips, to avoid spending out of your renovating budget on catering for the party. Most people won't mind stopping at a shop on the way for some snacks that you can add to the 'spread'.
What are your tips for throwing the perfect housewarming party? If you're planning on buying your first home this year then there's lots of guidance on mortgages (and more) on the TSB website.