Welcome to our home! While it’s a far cry from complete, our new apartment finally feels like it’s OURS… and we’re inviting you to our virtual housewarming party to take a look at all we’ve done so far. Head to my Instagram (@JustineSantaniello) to check out some of my favorite composed nooks.

Speaking of housewarming parties, we are in the midst of planning ours. It’s a lot different than those I’ve thrown in apartments-past…and that’s probably because the space is so much bigger and more “grown up” than any I’ve ever had. I imagine it’s a lot like what a first time home buyer goes through – I simultaneously want everyone to come see it but I also feel a little insecure about it  since it’s not done! Unlike Instagram shots, I can’t exactly hide the empty second bedroom or the bare walls in the entryway.

Along with the planning process comes a LOT of questions. “When is the right time to throw the party?” “Should the space be ‘done’?” “How many people can we comfortably fit in the apartment?”

But, if you’re planning a housewarming party, you’re in luck! I’ve taken some key learnings from my experience and put together the best tips to alleviate stress and help you pull-off the perfect introduction to your new home:

Tip 1: SET THE TONE. Choose a vibe for the party you want to throw. Will it be a sit down dinner? Maybe a casual daytime drop-in’s where everyone comes and goes as they please? Or simply a night of bubbles and bites? When choosing, think of what will be easiest for you to prep for, what type of party your space is best suited for, and what will allow you to actually enjoy instead of simply playing chef and bartender all night. And don’t forget to share an “RSVP by” date so you have an idea of how much food/alcohol to buy.

Tip 2: TO GIFT OR NOT TO GIFT? If you have gotten married or moved in the last two years, I say let the guests off the hook. When you send your invites (I’m partial to e-vites for a housewarming party, especially for an apartment) be sure then to specify  “no gifts required”. If you have not gotten married or moved recently, I say bring on the gifts! You can always use something when you first move in. Some of my favorite gifts to give or receive include: potted plants, cleaning supplies, gift cards to Target/Lowes/HomeGoods, and flowers in a nice vase (two gifts in one!).

Tip 3:  STRATEGIZE THE SET-UP. Arrange food and drink stations (whether they are elaborate or semi-homemade) in the areas that best show off your space. Do you have killer views? Set up the bar in front of the windows. Loving your new kitchen island? Focus the attention there with bite-sized apps.

Tip 4: PLAN GROUP TOURS. If you do end up having a bigger get-together, you don’t want to be stuck playing realtor all night long! Once everyone has arrived and settled in set two times to give everyone the tour this way you only have to do it twice at the start of the party and then everyone can relax and just enjoy your space.

As for us, we decided that even though our space isn’t fully decorated, the main entertaining spaces are pretty much done, so that means now is as good a time as any to throw a housewarming party. We will just turn the spare room into a coat closet. That reminds me, I need to get one of those upright coat hangers…

Have you hosted or attended housewarmings in the past? Share your hosting tips and best housewarming gift ideas in the comments below or tweet me at @JNSantaniello!

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