Bread and salt. Wine. A broom or sack of flour. Honey, pineapples, even bluebirds — a symbol of happiness — have been bestowed on people moving into new homes over the centuries.
Fall is a busy time for relocating, and many people have recently done so because of pandemic-related changes in work, school and home life.
So if you’re looking for some modern housewarming presents to go with (or instead of) the traditional ones, we’ve got some suggestions from interior designers for both new renters and new owners.
At the front door
Baylee Floyd, an Orlando, Florida-based designer with the online platform Decorist, suggests giving your friends a welcome mat. “A front door mat is always a great gift — I get custom, monogrammed mats made to help them really make their place feel like home,” she says.
Etsy.com and others offer customizable mats, or you can shop Grandin Road, Frontgate and Birch Lane for initialed coco mat designs.
Elysia Home’s Letterfolk doormat comes with a bag of 75 hexagonal penny tiles, so the new renters or owners can create their own welcoming message.
Leia T. Ward, founder of LTW Design in New Canaan, Connecticut, likes the idea of giving a little connectivity.
“An Alexa or an Echo (may) seem random,” she says, “but it’s great for those extra spaces that homeowners typically don’t tend to buy smart speakers for, like a patio, garage, home office or bathroom.”
If the newly moved are going for a boho décor vibe, consider Natural Life’s hand-painted wood flower hooks, which could go next to the door, on a porch wall or really anywhere.
For the walls
Seattle designer Elizabeth Herrera suggests a customized house portrait. “Upload a special photo to www.minted.com, and they’ll create a letterpress or standard printed drawing,” she says. You can choose frame style, mat and size when you order.
If the recipients have moved to Chicago, New York City, San Francisco or Texas, Minted’s designers have created cool toile papers for each of those cities, offered in framed pin boards perfect for kitchens or home offices.
Chatbooks, which lets you connect your Instagram or camera roll to create photo books, prints or cards, has a wall-tile option too. Have the images printed on square canvas frames with moveable adhesive backing; perfect for renters.
City dwellers might love a soft plush pillow in the shape of a tropical leaf or succulent, from Green Philosophy Co; they’ve partnered with nonprofit Trees for the Future, so pillow and throw sales support planting initiatives worldwide.
Another eco-friendly idea: The Polished Jar offers reusable bottles for personal and house products like soaps, lotions, etc. Choose plastic or glass, and you can further customize with a snazzy metallic or matte black pump, plus a waterproof label. Available singly, or in bundles that include a stylish tray.
Bring some pleasing fragrance into the new home with Otherland’s Manor House Weekend soy-based candle collection. The fall version has notes of smoky maple, cardamom, toasted nuts, pear and apple.
Cooking and entertaining
Knife blocks and cheeseboards are classic housewarming gifts. If you want to take it up a notch, consider Crate &Barrel’s monogrammed serving board made of mango wood, marble, and inlaid brass for the initial. The retailer also has Schmidt Brothers Cutlery’s tabletop and wall-mount knife holders, crafted of warmly hued acacia wood.
Or consider Material Kitchen’s reBoards, cutting boards made of recycled plastic and sugarcane, and offered in a rainbow of beautiful hues.
KitchenAid’s Artisan Series limited edition Light and Shadow stand mixer has the “wow” factor; the base is a creamy milkshake hue, and the bowl is matte black, textured with a studded design that’ll have your recipients wanting to feature it front and center on the kitchen counter.
That milky hue is also offered on a slim yet powerful semi-automatic espresso machine, blender, and coffee grinder from KitchenAid.