Thoughtful & Affordable
23 Of The Best Housewarming Gifts Under $20 To Help Your Friend Feel More At Home

Fun finds that will help them settle into their new place.

by Emma Coburn
Swedish Dishcloth Set and a Bodum Bean Cold Brew Cooffe maker

It’s possible you took the last few years off from hosting — and attending — housewarming parties. It’s also possible that many of your friends have moved during the pandemic, despite the craziness of the housing market. So if you’re getting back into the swing of things and feeling lost when it comes to picking out the best housewarming gifts that your loved ones will actually use, here’s some inspiration.

These 23 gift ideas range from coasters and kitchen gadgets to candles and games — and nothing on this list costs more than $20.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Scary Mommy’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.


For The People Who Love Cheese Boards

Sure, they probably already have a cutting board or two. But these three hand-washable bamboo cutting boards are attractive in addition to being useful, and will come in handy if your host(s) plan to do a lot more entertaining.

Helpful Review: “I purchased this 3pc cutting board set as a housewarming gift. My friend loves it. She gets a lot of use from each of the boards. From food preparation to serving cheese. Each has provided its own unique feature. I would highly recommend.”


For The People Trying To Ditch Paper Towels

These Swedish-style dishcloths are perfect for people who are trying to reduce waste. Made from cotton and wood pulp, they’re sort of like a mix between a paper towel and a cloth dishtowel — and they’re absorbent like a sponge. There are tons of whimsical patterns (including holiday-inspired ones), and they can be cleaned in the dishwasher or washing machine.

Helpful Review: “I never thought I’d fall in love with a dishcloth, but I have. These are absolutely fantastic little miracles. At 92 years of age, I am cleaning my kitchen like a pro. First, I ordered plain colors, then found the designs, and I can’t shout out how great these are. No more nasty-smelling hands after using dishrags. These are also pretty and will order for my daughter and daughters-in-law. Please keep making the designs, and I’m using these till I’m 100.”


For The People With The Best Playlists

These coasters are cute from afar, and on closer inspection, you start to see the humor, too: The song titles are jokes like “Rest on me!” and “No marks on the table.” In other words, they’re a no-brainer for friends with a sense of humor about everything except their new furniture.

Helpful Review: “Bought these coasters as a housewarming gift for my 60s-80s record producer/musician dad a few months ago. I was worried that they would have flimsy paper labels with no protection from moisture, but so far, so good! They look great. He loves them, and all of his music-loving friends love them.”


For The People Who Love Breakfast

This waffle maker has more than 210,000 reviews and a 4.5-star rating on Amazon — not something you see every day. It makes individual four-inch waffles and comes in a variety of different colors (there are even models that make waffles shaped like hearts and pumpkins). It’s great for single people or families, and will fit in kitchens big or small.

Helpful Review: “I love this little thing! It is so adorable — everything from the red color to the tiny little heart-shaped waffles. And it comes with a complete recipe booklet and ideas about making things besides waffles! Heats and cleans as easy as my larger Belgian waffle maker. The grandkids love them. I make a good batch and freeze them for later use. The grandkids like to eat them frozen sometimes, and you could even make peanut butter and jam waffle sandwiches, or ice cream waffle sandwiches, or.... the list is endless. These waffles are just so kid friendly.”


For The People Always Burning A Candle

There are tons of popular candles to choose from on Amazon, but this USA-made scented candle (with other scent options ranging from “Refresh + Rejuvenate” to “Serenity + Calm”) gets high praise for its “subtle” fragrance, ideal size (“some candles are so big you get sick of them before they burn down”), and price point.

Helpful Review: “I received the ‘peace + tranquility’ candle as a gift for Christmas. I loved the smell, so I wanted to try others. ‘Joy + laughter’ smells amazing. I will say ‘peace + tranquility’ has a more clean/refreshing smell, while ‘joy + laughter’ is more sweet — almost like a perfume. I plan to try more scents in the future because I love these so much! Definitely would recommend. PS. I am sensitive to strong scents (sometimes get headaches from them), and these do not bother me. P.S. I originally wrote this review in 2018 and am still absolutely obsessed with this candle and will continue to order!”


For The People Always Out Of Matches

A small gift, yes, but extremely practical if they like lighting candles around the house, or live in an area that loses power often. No need for lighter fluid or matches — when the lighter runs out of battery (after 600 uses), they can just plug it in using the included USB cord.

Helpful Review: “This electric lighter is perfect for candle lighting. I can charge it with a USB cord so [I] never have to worry about butane or it running empty. The wand is nice, being able to bend in any direction and can reach the deep candles. It’s got a hole on [the] handle for hanging it up so I don’t lose it. It’s really cool seeing the electric current vs a lighter flame. Can be used almost 600 times without a recharge”


For The People Who Love Cooking At Home

For people who like spending time in the kitchen, a cookbook is a great bet — and, of course, you should tailor your choice to their particular tastes. But if you don’t know where to start, Ina Garten can probably help. With 13 of her cookbooks to choose from, you can’t really go wrong, but this one focuses on “signature recipes that strike the perfect balance between elegance and casual comfort” — i.e., stuff your host(s) will read about and want to get working on right away.

Helpful Review: “This is definitely one of her best books on the market. I borrowed it from the library 3 times, and when they finally said I couldn't check it out anymore I decided it was time to buy it. Wealth of information and her recipes are easy to follow. The guacamole salad is the perfect summer salad or party salad and a hit with everyone. I've made it over and over again!!”


For The People Who Are DIY Mixologists

If you’re thinking of bringing wine or liquor but not sure whether your hosts drink, this is a great alternative. If they do, they can use the included shaker, jigger, and other tools to mix up creative cocktails of their own — and if they don’t, mocktails work, too! An extra plus: The pieces are dishwasher safe.

Helpful Review: “This set is amazing for the price. While in quarantine, I lived with my friend, and she had a nice cocktail set and got me hooked. When I moved back home I tried making some of my favorite cocktails, but they are so much better shaken. I never expected to find this big of a set for this price. I like the small cocktail book it included, perfect for someone learning how to make drinks.”


For The People With Kids And A New Yard

If you think your friends have everything they really need for their actual house or apartment, get this simple but surprisingly entertaining yard toy that kids and adults will all enjoy. All you have to do is stomp as hard as you can on the launcher to send the included rockets ridiculously high. Bring this and be confident it’ll come out on every sunny day for the foreseeable future.

Helpful Review: “This was a big hit at my nephew's birthday party. Easy to assemble and use. It makes a really fun pitch-bending pop sound when you stomp on the plastic bag. Over time the bag and parts have held up well. I'm surprised how well the bag has held up seeing how my nephew jumps on it with both feet and a running leap. The rocket fins and tubes seem to wear out first. A slightly crushed tube will grab the launcher too tightly and is much harder to launch. They can be squished back out for more fun, but it's a good idea to buy some spare rockets for years of fun.”


For The People With A Spotless Kitchen

Help them out in their new kitchen with a full new set of dishtowels. These aren’t the fanciest cloths you’ll find, but for under $20 (or around $1.50/towel), this set of 12 is extremely practical. The design is classic, the 100% cotton fabric is ideal for cleaning and drying everything, and the quantity is perfect for people who don’t want to be doing laundry all the time.

Helpful Review: “Finally, a towel that can actually dry dishes. It's the little things in life that make you smile. Love these towels. I have bought or been given as gifts a lot of fancy or thick or fuzzy towels. These are way better. They really dry any dish (even plastic which usually tends to not want to come dry). They also dry out quickly, so you can reuse them to dry another batch. I keep 2 in the kitchen at all times. One for drying and another for small kitchen spills (which are usually water) or wiping the counter. They seem very well made. Great value for the price.”


For The People Who Bake All The Time

These classic cotton kitchen mitts with silicone grips come in 20 different colors. Best of all, they can go right in the washing machine, so even your messier baker friends are covered.

Helpful Review: “These oven mitts are so pretty and well insulated. They work well for my mom, who needs to have great heat resistance when cooking. They are warm and cozy and fit her hands perfectly. She says they are her new favorite oven mitts!”


For The People Who Love Cold Brew

This “cold brew coffee maker” is basically a French press with a few extra features (like two different lids) to help make delicious, really strong iced coffee. All they’ll need to do is leave ground coffee and water in the fridge overnight using the flat lid, then switch the lids out in the morning and use the French press lid to filter their cold brew. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe.

Helpful Review: “I used to make my cold brew in a mason jar, and I had to strain it out every time. It was annoying, it was messy, it didn't make that much coffee. This has been a godsend honestly. I'm pretty much a one-cup-a-day girl, so the full container lasts me about 3 or 4 days. The flavor is as good as the coffee you buy, and the mechanism is easy to use. I love the pour spout, which basically makes it leak-proof and keeps it from absorbing any gross fridge smells.”


For The People Who Prefer Tea

This one’s simple, but it certainly does the job: six bags each of eight different varieties of high-quality British tea, all packed up in a pretty gift box.

Helpful Review: “Every single tea in this selection is beautiful! I even loved the lemon and orange, and I do not like anything of an orange derivative because it always tastes artificial. This was absolutely lovely! The teas are very smooth and mellow, very flavor forward. No overwhelming acidity or bitterness — even if you're like me and forget to take the tea bag out! It's a proper cup of tea for each varietal. It came well packaged in a lovely box that is very giftable. This was a value that well exceeded the price. I HIGHLY recommend this selection of teas! I am ordering more for birthdays and such. And especially more for me! Get this!”


For The People Planning Dinner Parties

New home, new kitchen, new aprons. This matching set comes in a few different patterns, and each apron has a divided front pocket and adjustable neckline.

Helpful Review: “My husband and I love these aprons; they are very durable, thick but not too thick. Nice fabric and simple design. Anytime we have guests over, they always ask where we got them from and love them. I highly recommend! My husband uses his in his outdoor kitchen and loves it!”


For The People Who Love Game Night

If they love games and don’t already have this classic one, it’s a must — perfect for just about everyone, even little kids.

Helpful Review: “This game is a classic and great for kids and adults alike. Great for large groups, one on one challenges, and you can even play by yourself to see how far you can go before it all falls down. ... I love this game because depending on the setting, mood, and who’s playing, it can be a quiet game or highly interactive with suspense and high energy.”


For The People With A Cozy New Sectional

They just paid more money than you’ve spent on entire vacations for a huge new couch — help them break it in with this cozy, machine-washable patterned throw that comes in 25 different colors (and is much more affordable).

User review: “This blanket is soft, pretty, and lightweight. I bought it knowing very well that my cats would destroy it immediately, but I don't even care (it actually holds up surprisingly well to their razor-claws). This is my go-to blanket to snuggle up with or toss over my head when I don't want to admit it's time to wake up. It's also the perfect shade of green, and the pattern is lovely. I'll be buying more of these as gifts!”


For The People With A Lot Of Empty Cabinets

If their new place involves a kitchen upgrade, they may need some help filling in the empty space. This set of four dishwasher-safe stoneware mugs is a pretty option — and you could throw in a bag of your favorite coffee, too.

Helpful Review: “I absolutely love these mugs. The colors on the inside are bright and create a nice contrast with the liquid that is poured inside, so it is easy to see your drink level. I was surprised when I made a pot of tea and nearly all of it fit into a single mug. I am very impressed. ... They have a nice weight and quite sturdy. I am very impressed with this purchase.”


For The People With A Freezer To Fill

Another great gift for people who get serious about their beverages, alcoholic or not. This silicone set comes with one tray for large ice cubes and another for spheres, both of which can go in the dishwasher.

Helpful Review: “I am getting excellent results for both cubes and spheres. The trick with the balls is to make sure the mold snaps together for each ball, then fill them individually (I use a small funnel), and I don’t fill them all the way full. It’s really not as time-consuming as it sounds. The silicone is very high-quality, and I have no problem getting the cubes or the balls to come out of the molds. And whether you’re using them in a cocktail shaker or in a glass, the lack of dilution really makes a huge difference in your beverages.”


For The People With A Recent Bath Reno

This French hand and body soap is a classy addition to their new bathroom sink or shower shelf, and comes in 36 scents and colors, ranging from coconut to peony to vanilla Cognac. If you want to spend a little more, maybe buy a few different bars or wrap it up with a new soap dish.

Helpful Review: “I love that this soap is made in France and that it has shea butter and is tripled-milled! I got the rose petal and lavender and can't stop smelling them! This is the best soap I have ever used, and I highly recommend it!”


For The People Serious About Movie Night

Perfect for your friends who prefer movie nights at home, this small borosilicate glass pot pops corn in just a few minutes. Plus, the lid both measures the correct amount of kernels and melts butter, if they’re into that. It’s dishwasher safe, but important note: They’ll need a microwave with a turntable to be able to use it.

Helpful Review: “I've been having a ball with this thing. I love the personal-sized, on-demand popcorn. And I can flavor it in my own way, with ingredients I know, trust, and can feel good about. It's amazing how tasteless popcorn by itself really is - you can make it a vehicle for all kinds of crazy fun flavors. For example, my favorites this week have been taco, curry, ramen, and teriyaki. Weird but delicious. And when I'm done, I throw it in the dishwasher. Nothing but positive things to say about this product.”


For The People Who Grill Every Weekend

Help them break in the new grill with these little bottles of Cajun, Caribbean, Mexican, Southwest, and Memphis spice mixes.

Helpful Review: “This was a gift for a person who loves to use a smoker. It was a perfect gift, the packaging was fun and nicely done. The flavors are excellent. Highly recommend this product.”


For The People With A Great Sense Of Humor

More than 111,000 Amazon reviews are hard to argue with. This cult favorite toilet spray — yes, such a thing exists — is popular because it’s discreet, but also because it really works. But you should probably only give it to really close friends. In fact, maybe just leave it in the bathroom with a little bow on it and consider a few smell-free months your real housewarming gift.

Helpful Review: “I really enjoyed this scent. Not too strong and doesn’t linger for too long, does the job!”


For The People Whose Kids Will Be Bored At This Housewarming Party

If the family hosting this housewarming party has some younger kids, consider shopping with them in mind. This “grow ‘n’ glow” terrarium kit with wheatgrass and chia seeds isn’t just a one-night project, either; they can assemble it all and watch the plants start growing over the next week and beyond.

Helpful Review: “I bought this for my five-year-old little brother, and he was so smitten with this gift! He loves nature and loved putting this together himself. The instructions were easy to follow, and it didn't take too long to put together. Maybe 10-15 minutes. In the weeks following, he was happy he had a ‘job’ to do as he had to water the terrarium daily with the special spray bottle included. The different plants popped up in about 2-3 weeks. Very cool!”

Many guides to the best housewarming gifts are full of thoughtful, but pricey, options. When you’re sticking to a budget, these gifts under $20 are great picks to help friends, family, and neighbors celebrate their new homes.