So your friend signed a lease on a new apartment or, after years of sharing a bedroom wall with their kitchen, just got the keys to their first proper house. Wherever they’ve landed, kind friend that you are, you want to get them a thoughtful housewarming gift. But which direction do you take? Do you go with something that matches their aesthetic, or something you use yourself and love? Is it a functional gift, or one that sets a mood? Should you choose something for the bedroom, the kitchen, the bathroom, or the living room? It can be a lot to think through.
To help you find housewarming gifts that will make your recipients think of you long after you give them, we asked 21 homeowners and renters — including some with day jobs as interior designers, musicians, and chefs — about the best housewarming gifts they’ve ever received, as well as ones they’ve given that have gone over well. Their 59 ideas below include options for practically every budget and home size. To make it even easier on you, if you have some sense of what you’re looking for, click on on any of the links below to jump to those specific products.
Gifts for the kitchen — the heart of many homes — were the most popular among the people we talked to. According to chef Jeremy Blutstein, the best housewarming present you can give is cast-iron cookware — specifically cookware from Lodge, which makes the cast-iron pan that Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo said is the best thing she bought in the last decade. “It will last a lifetime,” Blutstein told us, citing the cookware’s superior heat-retention and durability. Blutstein adds that Amazon offers a “crazy deal” on Lodge pans, pointing us to this under-$200, five-piece set that includes a griddle for pancakes, a Dutch oven for roasts and bread-baking, and a skillet you can use to make fish, steak, and vegetables.
If you just want to go with one Lodge piece, this is the pan Corsillo swears by. “I use it every day, would buy it over and over again, and enthusiastically recommend it to everyone I know,” she writes.
Perhaps you want to give one pan, but would prefer it be a bit more stylish. The Always Pan, according to New York–based stylist Mecca James-Williams, is “one pan that can do everything,” making it worth its higher price tag. Because it functions as eight different pieces of cookware — the pan comes with a spatula and steaming basket, is both as deep as a saucepan and as wide as a skillet, and can be used to sauté and fry — it’s also a great way to reduce clutter in a new kitchen.
This equally design-y Caraway cooking set (which comes with a handy storage rack to help minimize clutter) comes recommended by interior designer Victoria Lee Jones, who says she gave it to a friend after that friend moved into her first home. “She cried,” Jones tells us. “We never imagined we’d go from the college dorm to getting excited about a new cookware sets for our homes.” While pricier than the other cookware on this list, the set includes a non-stick frying pan, saucepan, sauté pan, and Dutch oven — or every vessel a home cook might need to prepare most anything. As Jones points out, “our pots stay with us,” so investing in a nice set like this means whomever receives it can likely use it in any home they may go on to occupy down the line, too. “This set in particular,” she adds, “is extremely stylish.” If you do choose to gift it, your lucky recipient will probably appreciate knowing they have the same pots and pans as Taraji P. Henson.
A few folks we talked to recommend giving salt-and-pepper shakers. “One of my best friends sent these to my apartment shortly after I moved in,” home decorator Carrie Carrollo tells us of this set of enamel shakers in a checkerboard pattern from New York–based ceramics maker MacKenzie-Childs. “I was in the thick of decorating, looking for accents to bring the space together, and surprisingly, these changed the entire look and feel for the best.”
Canyon Coffee founders Ally Walsh and Casey Wojtalewicz say one of the best housewarming gifts they got after moving into their current Echo Park home is this brass pepper mill. Made in Greece, the mill grinds whole black peppercorns for that “freshly cracked” taste. Beyond its functionality, Walsh also loves how it looks on a dinner table.
Another functional piece for the kitchen that can double as table décor is this charming bottle opener from Danish design house Georg Jensen, which counts no less than the Queen of Denmark among its clients. Furniture designer Ben Kicic says it’s what he plans to give the next friends of his who move, after spying it in the home of another pal. “I immediately asked about it,” he says. “The bottle opener has a strong graphic element, but because of its size, it’s not too loud or overbearing. And clearly it works as a conversation starter.”