Traditional housewarming parties always struck us as stuffy. So we opted for a laid-back fete that can be had stat -- even when you're still knee-deep in bubble wrap. With a menu requiring only kitchen basics (handy when the Cuisinart is still MIA), and a few simple touches to your new place (using moving materials!), everyone will be toasting your home, sweet home.
tips + how-tos
DAY-AHEAD TIME SAVERS
- Mix ingredients for Tom Collins (wait until the party to add club soda).
- Prepare toasted garlic bread for Greek-Style Bread Salad with Creamy Lemon-Caper Dressing
- Toast walnuts for Baked Brie with Toasted Walnuts
- Prepare mango-caper relish for Swordfish with Mango-Caper Relish (reserve basil until just before serving).
- Bake puff pastry for Mango Napoleons.
If freshly coated walls have left you with extra paint, use it to turn glass jars into DIY vases. A day or two before the party, coat the rims of the jars with paint, then let them dry outside. By party time, you’ll be more than prepared for the bouquets your guests are bound to bring.
Don't shove boxes into another room -- turn them into tables. Arrange like-size boxes about 3 feet high (two medium moving boxes should do it) to create a makeshift buffet table or cocktail "bar." Use shorter boxes for end tables. Hide your handiwork with tablecloths or spare sheets.
Before you consider spray-painting packing peanuts orange and passing them off as cheese curls, try this: Fill garbage bags halfway with them, then knot the tops of the bags. Place on the floor knot side down for DIY "bean"-bag chairs.