By Gina Montefusco
So you’ve got the new digs, and now you want to throw open your door to all of your nearest and dearest. Newlyweds, especially young ones, often have all the ingredients for a good housewarming party—a new home, a need for quality time with friends—except they don’t have much in the way of actual décor.
Since it’ll take some time, not to mention money, to get a house full of furnishings, take matters into your own hands: Have your housewarming bash do double-duty by turning it into a decorating party. Get your buddies to create or redo your furniture by painting, embellishing or fixing up diamond-in-the-rough pieces. With some brushes, patience and creativity, you can have your friends and work them, too.
You provide the food, a festive atmosphere and maybe even some prizes for exceptionally creative work. They’ll provide great ideas and personal touches for your home. Not everyone will be able to paint a Picasso on your kitchen table, but there are enough options for folks of all skill levels to have fun.
What you’ll need
What can be done
What can’t (or shouldn’t) be done
Get creativeSome friends will be able to find their inner Van Gogh more easily than others will. Your less artistically inclined guests can paint a base color on a chair or table. They can also pick out fabric and re-cover a pillow or seat cushion, if they know the basics of sewing. If they want to add a decorative touch to furniture, they can paint on a favorite quote, trace a stencil, dab on paint with a sponge (creates a cool marbled effect), or make a simple pattern or design.
Let more creatively advanced friends go to town with a paintbrush—provided they comply with whatever limits you set. You and your husband are the ones who will look at the furniture day after day, so by all means restrict colors and paintings if you wish. But budding artistes can adorn tables and chairs with scenes, pictures and patterns involving flowers, suns and moons, fruit or anything else that strikes their (and your) fancy.
If you want the whole group to work on one big project, consider making a crazy quilt, which in the Victorian era was a popular way to use up odd bits of cloth. Each guest can select pieces of fabric that you’ve provided and stitch a square together, embroidering and decorating if they want to. Everyone’s squares can then be sewn together (just make sure there will be enough squares to end up with a normal-shaped quilt). For more info on crafting a quilt, check out the quilting site on About.com.
Party timeSince your friends are working for your home, make sure you make it worth their while. Create a party atmosphere with music, games and food. You can provide prizes for the most creative or best effort and may want to make a small pillow or vase for each guest as a party favor. Above all, a housewarming party is an excuse for friends to have some face time. “A lot of time, guests just come to have the time together,” says Lisa Canby, owner of I Made This! What better reason could there be?
About the Author
Gina Montefusco’s work has appeared in the features section of the Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch. She is a former editor-in-chief of The Breeze, James Madison University’s campus newspaper.
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