Last updated: February 14, 2023
Congratulations! You just moved into a new house or apartment and now you want to have a housewarming party.
Inviting friends to help warm up the space is good luck for your new home. It is also an excellent excuse to get people together and make new friends. You’ll have a great housewarming party when you bring in your different friend groups: colleagues, classmates, neighbors, etc.
I’ll show you exactly how easy it is to plan and host a successful housewarming party. Keep reading for all the details including an easy checklist.
Why you should trust me: I’ve coached dozens of people on how to host housewarming parties and have hosted hundreds of cocktail parties in New York City, Austin Texas, and around the world. I even wrote a book about it, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party.
Who to Invite
Follow these guidelines for picking who to invite to your first party.
- Do: invite friends, neighbors, classmates, colleagues, and their significant others.
- Don’t: invite important new relationships or critical work contacts.
The two most important things to do here are to invite people at least two weeks in advance (I call this the party runway), and then to collect their RSVPs to create a commitment and social proof.
Guests don’t care if the floor is sparkly clean. But it’s a good idea to tidy up before you invite people over.
Clear off surfaces and organize stacks of books or albums. Make sure everything has a place and put it there. Find a container for random clutter and stash it in a spare room or under the bed.
Imagine yourself as a visitor in your home. Walk through the front door and imagine where your eyes will be drawn. Make sure those spaces are inviting and neat.
Make Some Simple Signs
A few small handwritten signs can help make your house party feel more welcoming to guests.
You’ll also reduce the number of interruptions by over 50%, ensuring that guests will know where the bathrooms are located.
- Bathroom location(s), put a “BATHROOM” sign on the outside door
- Trash, put a sign saying “TRASH’ nearby
- Shoes off? Make a simple sign near the front door
- Create a simple “Welcome!” sign to place near your door
Make a few of these handwritten messages to provide directions and motivation to your guests as they approach your party. Tape them somewhere visible: on your mailbox, door, or stairs leading to your home.
Here are some photos of some simple welcome signs that people who have read my book and have used at their parties:
Keep Decorations Simple
If you have outdoor space, a string of lights is a must: perfect soft lighting and festive decoration all in one!
For indoors, keep decorations simple. It’s festive to have a few balloons and maybe a simple garland strung up across a doorway. Fresh flowers and bright plants are always a nice touch.
No need to go overboard! Your guests will be comfortable experiencing your home in its authentic state, without a lot of chaotic decor.
Give Tours to Your Home
Since the reason for the party is your new pad, you should offer to show guests around when they come! People love to see where their friends live, and you will enjoy hearing your friends “ooh” and “ahh” about your new space.
Showing your home is also a good way to start a conversation and learn something new about your friends or neighbors. Owning or renting a home is something we all have in common.
Nick's note: This is a draft article that I'm working on because so many people have asked me how to host a house warming party. Do you want to host a party and use my book? Send me an email to [email protected] with what you were thinking about and maybe I will send you a free copy.
Consider a few games
Some activities at your housewarming party would be a nice way to break up the conversations and help your friends make new friends. In addition to icebreakers, think about maybe doing some of these modules.
New house scavenger hunt
Ask guests to find the answers to questions about your new home like how many windows are in your home or what color the front door is.
Neighborhood scavenger hunt
You can print a scavenger hunt list off the Internet or make your own. Guests search for items on your list–a for rent sign in the yard, for example–then take a photo. When the set time runs out, everyone meets back at your house to share photos.
Pick a room in your home then have your guests note the items inside the room. After a few minutes, escort them out and tell them to write down every item they remember. The person who correctly remembers the most, wins.
Depending on your space and number of guests, outdoor games can be a fun idea. Giant Jenga is a big hit. You could also organize an informal tournament to encourage more people to play.
TIP: Offer prizes to the winners. Give gift cards to home furniture stores or a restaurant chain. It will inspire friendly competition. You could even award candy bars or local beers.
Light a Candle
Scented candles are a nice touch, but don’t overdo it! One scented candle is nice to put in the guest bathroom or front hallway. Too many scented candles can be cloying.
If it’s a comfortable day, don’t underestimate the power of opening the windows! Guests will appreciate the fresh air. It can get a little warm once everyone is gathered inside.
Play Soothing Background Music
A little bit of background music helps guests get comfortable. Take time to make a playlist before guests arrive. It’s worth it to have a stream of good tunes coming through. Choose an appropriate volume so guests can easily talk.
Fun tip: Set it up so there is different music playing in the bathroom! This can be a fun and unique touch to your home. Use a Bluetooth speaker or radio to play a unique song on loop or a clip from an audiobook, so when guests go into the restroom they’re entering a different “zone”.
Try to Relax and Enjoy!
A housewarming party should be fun and simple. Remember: the essence of a great party is that you are there to enjoy yourself and connect with others.
Bring in your friends together is a special skills. All of your friends will want to celebrate your new home or apartment.
Have you hosted a housewarming party? Do you have any tips or suggestions to add to this list? Send me an email and I will add it to this article.