Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right How to throw an awesome London house party (and still keep your deposit)

Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.

Party-goers at Darling House

How to throw an awesome London house party (and still keep your deposit)

Getting into the spirit in your own home? We asked London’s party throwing pros and interiors experts how to play host without wrecking your pad

By Laura Richards

Thinking about getting your friends together for a Christmas catch-up? Or planning on hosting the party to end all New Year’s Eve parties? Well, that’s all well and good – but you’ll need to think of a whole lot more than your party songs playlist. How do you host a party without wrecking the joint or without letting things get out of hand? What’s the secret to setting up a good-looking soiree in your own home without making changes that could risk your deposit in the long run? And what’s the best way to avoid the fallout from your neighbours the morning after the night before? London’s best-known party throwers and home experts have some tips to offer – simple ways of making sure you throw the ultimate house party without doing some serious damage to your casa. Party on! 

9 tips for throwing an awesome party in your own home

Little Nan's Bar
Little Nan's Bar

1. Go for gold

‘A good tip to stop guests getting the walls grubby is to cover them in gold foil curtains: instant party vibes, and they protect the walls. Or if you have a home like mine – where the walls are covered in paintings and photos – then no worries about the walls getting dirty at all!’

Tristan Scutt, founder of Little Nan’s Bar

2. Go large (but not often)

‘Invest in the essentials and you will have the perfect recipe for a great party in a controlled environment. You can employ a friendly door person, run a small bar so there is always booze but it won’t lose you money and get reliable people to DJ. The main thing is you only do it once – well, once a year at most. Then you can go big and the neighbours will most likely forgive you. And get a cleaner in the day after. Your flatmates will appreciate it and when the landlord comes round saying there have been complaints you can say, ‘Who? Us? Never!’

Jonny Woo, co-founder of The Glory

Photograph: Ed Reeve

3. It’s not all about that bass

‘In the timeless words of The House Crew feat MC Juice, “Cut the midrange, drop the bass.” As any acoustician will tell you, bass waves travel further than anything higher up the frequency scale, so if you don’t want someone banging on your door at 3am, knock out some bass and spread the goodwill.’

Paul Noble, founder/artistic director of Spiritland

4. Don’t trash the place

‘Single-use is so last year. For glassware, you could head to Waitrose for their free glass loan service, or, if you’ve got time, go for the fun factor and pick up chintzy glasses from charity shops which you can donate again after the party. The same goes for crockery – serve food on secondhand plates. If you really can’t bear washing up with a hangover, go for truly compostable palm-leaf plates – check out Leafoware on eBay if you get stuck.’

Natalie Fee, author of ‘How to Save the World for Free’, published by Laurence King

Party-goers at Darling House
Party-goers at Darling House

5. Rope pals into party prep

‘Our favourite parties are the ones where everyone gets involved. There’s a group mixing the welcome cocktail, cooking a curry or making the perfect playlist. Someone else has got paper decoration production on the go and there’s a pair doing glitter makeovers at the door. That feeling of everyone pulling together to make a great night is just the best – and it should help guests feel respectful of your shared space.’

Harriet Darling and Elise Edge, founders of Darling House

6. Make it ’grammable

‘Did a party even happen if you didn’t end up on Instagram? Create a renter-friendly feature wall for pictures using products like rolling clothes rails (for pretty curtain backdrops), self-adhesive strips (to hang artificial flowers or banners) or rustic crates (styled with your favourite items), that can all be removed once the party is over.’

Medina Grillo, author of ‘Home Sweet (Rented) Home: Transform Your Home Without Losing Your Deposit’, published by Mitchell Beazley

Junkyard Golf, Oxford
Junkyard Golf, Oxford
Carl Sukonik | The Vain Photography

7. Lights, boogie, action!

‘Get some low-cost motorised ball lights; you could even get a mirror ball in the mix and have a disco. These can be secured to the ceiling with sticky pads – no drills, no drama. Coloured gel filters are also super-cheap and can be placed over lights to vamp up the mood without causing damage.’

Sophie Houghton, PR and events manager at Junkyard Golf

8. Go DIY with the decorations

‘You can fashion paper baubles from card, beads and string (check out our website for a pattern). Just remember, if you want to stick up decorations, use a decorative tape like MT washi tape that’s pretty and won’t damage your walls.’

Sonia Bownes, founder of London Craft Club

'The Grand Expedition' by Gingerline
'The Grand Expedition' by Gingerline

9. One theme, one dream

‘Having a theme for your party can help everybody enter into the spirit. Dress your tables with small props or fun crockery and glassware to tie in with the theme. Sensory games with food can create talking points – why not get your guests to guess the unusual flavours in some of your dishes? And we love a dress code – ask your guests to wear a specific item or colour to bring it all together.’

Lucinda Barber, head of comms at Gingerline

Too much like hard work? Take the party elsewhere

Ultimate Power
Heather Fitsell

Christmas parties in London


Soak up as much festive fun as possible with our guide to Christmas-themed parties and club nights this December. Whether you want an evening of winter LOLs, a night of 80s classics, or want to totally avoid the Xmas anthems with London's finest house and disco DJs – we’ve got everything you could possibly want for Christmas.


    You may also like

      Support Time Out

      We see you’re using an ad-blocker. Ad revenue is Time Out’s main source of income. The content you’re reading is made by independent, expert local journalists.

      Support Time Out directly today and help us champion the people and places which make the city tick. Cheers!

      Donate now