You don’t need to hire an interior designer to make a big statement at your next party. There are many ways to decorate that require little effort or cash. Here are ten tricks to step up your party decor game.
1. Rethink your walls. Temporarily swap out art in frames with pictures of the guest of honor. Or replace them with swags and garlands, which make great backdrops for the food table.
2. Brighten up the table. Cover the dining and/or serving table with a tablecloth or even a couple of yards of fabric (ask the fabric store to cut the material with pinking shears for a no-sew edge). White is classic, but don’t be afraid to take your cue from your party theme: Choose a playing-card motif for a casino party or red for the holidays.
3. Bring the outdoors in. Plants and flowers are great for tropical events, but they also add life to any party. Bring outdoor potted plants inside for your party, or cut some blooms or even branches from your yard. Or pick up new plants or flowers at the farmers’ market or florist before your event. A little bouquet goes a long way if you distribute just a few flowers in several vases throughout the house.
4. Dress up your windows. Create a festive environment with lights and streamers. String fairy lights around your window frames or a pennant banner over a window to pump up the party spirit.
5. Organize with trays. Group food, drinks, and favors on colorful or elegant trays, depending on the type of event. After the party, they’re the perfect organizer for everyday items like TV remotes, sunglasses, and keys.
6. Bust out your best tableware. There’s no time like a party to take out all those amazing dishes, serving bowls, and glassware stored away for a special occasion. Fancy tableware (think seasonal platters and martini glasses as well as china and crystal) adds instant glam to a soiree.
7. Set the mood with lighting. Swap out white light bulbs for colored ones to create a unique effect, especially for holidays with strong color associations like Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day. Once the sun goes down, place light dimmers on low and light candles throughout the house.
8. Refresh the bathroom. Clear your counters of everything except a fresh bar of soap and at least one fresh hand towel. Float tea light candles in the bathtub for bonus flair.
9. Switch up your seating. If seating is limited and budget allows, rent classier wooden chairs instead of plastic folding chairs. Decorate seating with tulle, balloons, and/or ribbon for an easy upgrade.
10. Don’t neglect the entryway. Greet guests with a sign or balloons at the front door to hint that they’re at the right address. Leave coat racks and hooks free so they have room to hang their belongings.