Housewarming Party Etiquette and Tips

When you’re moving into your brand new house, you’ve no doubt got plenty on your mind to worry about before you can even begin to think about having a housewarming party. The period of time after moving can sometimes be the most overwhelming with all of the unpacking that needs to be done. If this is your first time moving into a new home and throwing a housewarming, you may be doubly overwhelmed. But remember, everyone at your housewarming is looking out for you and wants you to be happy on your move-in, so get together your support network and get help in throwing a great housewarming party.

Housewarming Etiquette

If you’ve never thrown a housewarming before, you may not be totally up on the proper procedures and protocols for a housewarming. Here are a few minor things to keep in mind while you are setting up.

Housewarming Dos

  • Definitely greet your guests at the door! This may mean designating tasks to friends and family who are helping you out, but you definitely want to be at the door to thank the guests who are coming to welcome you to your new home.
  • Provide food and drinks, but don’t do anything too over the top. Stick to finger foods, though make sure there is plenty of everything so people can have as much as they want. You can also offer more substantial dishes, but be sure to position lots of trash cans around the house. As people are walking around inspecting your new home, they won’t want to carry their paper plates and cups with them everywhere or accidentally leave them in some room, so make sure they have plenty of places to get rid of trash.
  • Do make sure that the living area is clean and that any unpacked boxes have been stored out of sight. Try to have enough unpacked that your home at least looks inviting and presentable.
  • Do provide both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, unless you and your guests do not drink alcohol. For guests that don’t drink alcohol curate coffee with a beautiful french press.
  • Do put on music and provide comfortable sitting areas.
  • If kids are invited to your housewarming, do provide an area that is specifically for the kids like the basement or backyard, depending on the weather. Set up a TV with a stack of movies, video games, toys, etc. Do hire a babysitter to attend to keep an eye on the kids. Do allow the babysitter to put out a tip jar if he or she wants to.
  • Do send out invitations with specific information: time, address, phone number, whether or not kids are allowed, whether or not it is a potluck, whether or not gifts are welcome, etc.
  • Do send thank you cards!

Housewarming Don’ts

  • Don’t put up decorations. This is a party but unlike a Christmas or wedding party, it’s not typical to hang decorations as they will obscure your house, which should be the focal point of the party. You should be excited to show off the newly decorated rooms and hear your guests’ feedback.
  • Don’t go over-the-top on food, drinks, or entertainment. But do decide if you want it to be a potluck in advance and say so on the invitation.
  • Don’t expect gifts. While it is customary to bring a small housewarming gift, it is not considered mandatory, so don’t get disappointed if people don’t bring gifts!
  • Don’t be rude if people show up with children even though they weren’t invited. If you can, find some space where the kids will be comfortable watching a movie while they wait. If it’s really not possible, gently suggest that the party is not set up for kids and you think it would be better if they figured something else out.

To Have or to Avoid the Registry?

There is some debate these days about the etiquette of having a gift registry for a housewarming. General consensus says that requesting housewarming gifts from your guests are only appropriate in the following cases:

  • You did not have a formal wedding or you skipped the registry. In this case, people may have wanted to give you gifts anyway and will be excited to finally get to do so.
  • This is really your first time being on your own and you are having a hard time getting together all of your furnishings.
  • You are having a hard time getting everything you need to get for personal or financial reasons. For example, if you’ve recently gone through a divorce, you may have lost some of your furnishings as well as some of your financial security.
  • You request that those who want to give gifts instead make donations to an account to help you buy furnishings.


If you do decide that you want to have a registry, you should be sure to list it on your invitation and to explain the circumstances of your having a registry. For example, some people who might find it impolite to have a registry might be more understanding once you explain that you did not have a wedding registry and so never received many of the basic furnishings many people acquire at that stage.


Similarly, if you do not want to receive gifts, make it clear on the invitation that those who do want to give gifts can instead make donations to an account you have set up. Whatever you do, you should be certain to show your gratitude for any kind of gifts and absolutely send thank you cards!

Starting Off on the Right Foot

Your housewarming is all about starting off right in your new home and neighborhood. Be sure to invite your new neighbors and old friends and don’t be afraid to ask for help! There’s nothing like getting together for a party as a community to make you feel nicely welcomed.