Why You Should Charge Guests an “Entry Fee” — And 11 Other Housewarming Party Ideas

published May 3, 2024
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a living room with a green velvet sofa, accent pillows, greenery, and shelves with decor

While packing and unpacking is kind of the worst, there’s a lot to celebrate about moving into a new home. Gather your friends and family to break in your new home with the ultimate housewarming party — and maybe end up with a few (solicited or unsolicited) housewarming gifts. It doesn’t have to be a stressful-to-plan or stuffy affair: There are tons of fun, quirky, and memorable housewarming party ideas out there, no matter what size your home is. Here are 12 of our favorites.

1. Have a “draw yourself” guest book.

If you love the idea of a guest book with a creative twist, take a cue from this TikTok and invite your guests to draw themselves on a poster board or big piece of paper. At the end of the party, you’ll have a quirky keepsake that’ll remind you of all your favorite people (bonus points if your friends are artists). 

2. Let guests stock the bar.

This might not be the most original housewarming party idea, but it’s a classic for a reason. Have your guests bring a bottle of their favorite wine or liquor to start your collection — and if the party runs dry, you can dip into your new stash. 

3. Make it a painting party. 

Does your new home’s interior need a fresh coat of paint? No worries! Just host a painting party instead of a traditional housewarming party. Of course, because you’re having your guests do the dirty work, it’s polite to at least provide some beverages and a few pizzas. When the party’s over, you’ll be left with freshly painted walls and a home filled with new memories. 

4. Make a group gallery wall.

Here’s another fun idea that’ll instantly make your new place feel like home: This TikToker, in an ingenious move, requested that party guests each bring one piece of art. The result was a totally unique gallery wall. Check out the finished product here.

5. Bond over a game night.

What better way to break in a new place than with a game night? Opt for board games, charades, cards, or whatever floats your boat. You could also shake things up with a vintage parlor game

6. Host a petite picnic. 

You don’t need a huge backyard to host an outdoor get-together. If you limit your housewarming party to just a few of your closest friends, it doesn’t get much more effortlessly cool than a cozy balcony picnic. 

Credit: Lana Kenney

7. Have a bring-a-book party.

Few things make a space feel cozier than a home library. Short on books? Have your friends bring their favorites to fill your shelves (bonus points if they inscribe the inside cover with a housewarming message). 

8. Fill your spice rack.

Here’s a practical idea for home cooks on a budget: Ask your guests to bring their most-used ground spice, dried herb, or flavor extract for a gift that keeps on giving. You’ll think of your friends every time you make a delicious dinner. 

9. Host a family-style potluck.

There’s no need to cook (and certainly no need to cater) when food is your housewarming party theme. Have your friends bring their signature homemade dishes and leave out a few blank recipe cards and an empty recipe box. If there’s ever a lull in conversation, your guests can jot down their favorite recipes and you’ll end up with an incredibly sentimental memento. 

10. Charge an entry fee (sort of). 

This TikToker charged her housewarming party guests an entry fee — but instead of money, she had them bring one household item they didn’t need. The items she ended up with were the perfect mix of practical and sentimental

11. Have a cookie decorating competition. 

This works especially well if your housewarming party happens to fall during the holidays (two birds, one stone). It can be a competition if you want, or a just-for-fun activity if you know your friend group is a little too competitive for that

12. Turn it into a karaoke party. 

Create a shared playlist on Spotify and send the link to all your invitees. They’ll add their favorite karaoke songs, you’ll secure a microphone, and the housewarming party will be a hit. If you like a theme, insist that all the song titles include “house,” “home,” or something of that nature. The playlist can be a guest book of sorts to keep and listen to for years to come.