Everything You Need to Know About the Housewarming Registry Trend

Housewarming registries are the newest wishlist trend. Here's the etiquette for setting one up.

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When you receive a wedding invitation in the mail, the first thing you likely do is log on to the happy couple’s website to peruse the engagement photos and suss out the dress code, yes, but also to scroll the registry.

Wedding registries are a given, a billion-dollar industry, an excuse to ask for those ridiculously cute, often ridiculously expensive furnishings. Same goes for baby registries. But beyond that, we haven’t heard much of registries…until now. Housewarming registries are a hot, new trend among millennials. Here’s why they’re getting so much buzz.

What Is a Housewarming Registry?

As with wedding and baby registries before it, a housewarming registry is a list of desired items, such as household goods, appliances and decor, made by a new homeowner (or renter) for family and friends to then purchase on their behalf.

Crowdfunding has become more commonplace in the past couple years, and the newish trend of housewarming registries is just another example of leaning on community to help meet a need. As if closing on a property weren’t enough to break the bank, new homeowners then need to furnish the whole place. That’s where presents from friends and family come in handy.

The Great Housewarming Registry Debate

There is much debate around housewarming registries. One side says they’re tacky and impolite. Proponents ask why the onus should be on loved ones to outfit someone else’s home.

But many others come to registry owners’ defense.

Although creating a wedding, housewarming and baby registry, especially in a short amount of time, might be a bit over the top, housewarming registries are a reasonable option for those who choose not to get married and/or have children.

Another argument: The transition to full-fledged adulthood is undeniably difficult, and leaning on your inner circle for support—emotional support, financial support, you name it—is part of our cultural backbone. Unmarried and childless people deserve that kind of support, too, especially as those categories grow. Currently, 44% of millennials are married, and many are choosing to tie the knot later in life, say, after homeownership.

And, hey, if you’d return the favor for a friend or family member when the time came, what’s so wrong with asking for a little help? Plus, spelling out exactly what you need from someone might not be as off-putting as you’d expect. According to research done by Mintel, 70% of people, ages 18 to 34, prefer to have a wishlist from someone when shopping for gifts.

Our verdict: There are plenty of reasons to have a housewarming registry as long as you follow some rules of etiquette. (Read on.)

Tips for Your Housewarming Registry

Family and friends coming together for a birthday celebration.Flashpop/Getty Images

If you’re interested in crafting a housewarming registry, follow the etiquette tips below. (Then check out these table etiquette mistakes you might be making.)

Register at the Right Time

Fewer than 50% of millennials own a home, according to an Apartment List analysis of census data, which means the majority are renting. And many of those rentals come with short-term leases.

If you’re moving once every year or so, refrain from creating a housewarming registry until you settle into a home for the long haul. Don’t make an annual tradition of asking your friends for gifts, especially when the longevity of the use for said gifts is TBD.

Pick Smaller-Ticket Items

A housewarming registry wouldn’t be the place to ask for a fancy refrigerator or money for new hardwood floors. Stick to smaller essentials rather than frivolous knickknacks. Think of the housewares that are typically on a wedding registry and go from there. Some ideas include a Dutch oven, blender, stand mixer, knives, towels, mattress topper, throw blankets, fire pit, etc.

Aim to include items at varying price points, and set and stick to a max (say, $200).

Here are some great housewarming registry ideas to get you started.

Wait for Them to Inquire

Housewarming registries typically come hand in hand with a housewarming party. But whether you’re sending out invitations over social media or in the mail, don’t include information about the housewarming registry directly on them—this might be viewed as overly forward.

Partygoers shouldn’t feel pressured into splurging. Instead, wait for guests to ask what you want or whether they should bring a gift, then send them the link to the registry. It’s likely the info regarding your housewarming registry will spread through word of mouth from there.

Put on a Great Party

If you’re asking people to spend a pretty penny on you, don’t then skimp on the celebration. Host a party where guests feel mutually appreciated and welcomed into your home. There should be food, drinks, decorations, a clean space and great company. Consider the soiree a preemptive thank-you for the gifts and all your friends’ and family’s support throughout the move. Planning an engagement party? Check out these engagement party etiquette.

Where to Register

A handful of retailers offer either a housewarming registry option or a general wishlist/registry option. Look into offerings from Target, Amazon and IKEA for all your registry needs.

Check out these housewarming gift ideas to get your list started!

Annamarie Higley
Annamarie is Taste of Home’s Shopping Editor and previously worked on the brand’s magazine and special issues. It was during this time she tapped into her love language, gifts, and spearheaded the print holiday gift guides in 2021 and 2022. She’s thrilled to continue creating gift guides full time for the shopping team, in addition to testing and reviewing products, spotlighting viral gadgets and editing freelanced content. A midwestern transplant from the San Francisco Bay Area, she enjoys hiking, crafting and—you guessed it!—shopping and cooking.