Buying a first-time homeowner the right housewarming gift is actually a minefield. Choose wisely and follow our guide...
So your friends have just moved into their first home. They've managed to reject most of the hideous furniture that has been offered to them by the neighbour's brother's mother-in-law and are excited to put their own stamp on the place.
Now you've got to buy them a housewarming gift and, having heard them whine about all the dreadful bits and pieces they've already accumulated from college days and elderly relatives, you're starting to feel backed into a corner. I mean, you think this blanket is nice, but now you're not sure.
Here are a few safe bets when it comes to house-warming gifts that are useful, definitely not hideous and won't step on your friend's own style.
Simple, thoughtful and has a finite lifespan so it won't feel like too much of an imposition, a candle is an ideal housewarming gift. Go for one made of natural ingredients like soy wax (no nasty limonene) and with a clear glass container so the light can flicker around the room and give the bare walls of a new home a bit of warmth. Field Apothecary Flora candle, €40, Industry & Co
Unless you’re going to buy a full set of wine glasses or mugs, avoid buying single drinking vessels. Moving into your first home where you can put nails in the walls and fill your cupboards with whatever you like is a big deal. It’s a big, very adult deal. You don’t want to start with the mismatched tableware (although you know this is inevitably where you’ll end up).
If you do want to get them something along these lines, a French press, decent teapot or a pretty milk jug is a good buy. The requirement for matching holds less for these items and also hits the adult vibe. Win-win. Rebecca Killen porcelain pourer, €30 each, Irish Design Shop
Prints are a risk but you should be able to get away with something striking and graphic in a monotone that won't interfere with the rest of the decor. If you do opt for a print, make sure you get it framed before you gift it. Otherwise, it will just join a pile of to-be-framed prints that gets shoved under the stairs and never framed. Home limited screenprint, €80, Niamh Gillespie Design
If you're not brave enough for a candle, the safest of all bets is nice soap. It won't permeate the room with its scent but it is a nice little luxury after scrimping and saving to buy or renovate a house. Go for an Irish-made soap bar that's packaged in cardboard – it's minimal waste and supports local business. Lemongrass & Cedarwood soap bar, €6.95, The Handmade Soap Co
Anyone who has just moved into their first home knows one thing – it’s definitely not perfect. Whether you’ve been renovating and just can’t live with the in-laws any longer or have decided to move in and tackle jobs room-by-room, you know that this house is going to be a work-in-progress for years to come. A large planner where they can jot down shopping lists, yet another plumber's number or the measurements for the maximum size coffee table will go down very well indeed. Falling petals weekly desk planner A4, €14.95, Dusty Boy Designs
Plants are an excellent addition to a bare house when you’re still trying to fill it (and figure out exactly what your interiors style is). It also makes for a thoughtful, non-invasive house-warming gift and gives some personality with a pretty (yet muted) plant pot. Collected flower pot, €55, Article Dublin
It always seems to be mid-recipe when you realise it asks for a pestle and mortar. Anyone who has spent an afternoon crushing cardamon seeds into a powder knows how often you cursed yourself for not picking one up last time you were in TK Maxx. How quickly we forget. This one from Jamie Oliver is made of rough granite and so can be used for breaking up garlic cloves too. Jamie Oliver granite pestle and mortar, €32.95, Arnotts
Featured image via Ferm Living
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