Party Decoration Ideas

When planning a party, one of the tasks assigned to the host is choosing party decorations. This need not be an overwhelming and costly endeavor. In fact, finding cost-effective party decoration ideas can allow the savvy party planner to divert extra money in the party budget to entertainment or food.

Where to Start
Begin by taking a minute to think over the kind of party you're throwing. The decorations for the party will need to suit the party's purpose. For example, a birthday party for a child should look different from a retirement party for a teacher. It helps to write down the theme of the party, and then brainstorm possible party decorations on paper. Write out the following headers on a sheet of paper: centerpieces, walls, ceilings and tables. List decorating possibilities under each header. The subsequent list can be narrowed down later as cost and space considerations come into play.

If the party will include food, decorations for the serving tables could include a centerpiece or two for each. Two or more centerpieces on a table would be appropriate for long, rectangular tables. Once you identify the type of party and theme, think of the type of centerpiece that fits the occasion. Many centerpieces and party decorations can be made easily and inexpensively, so, before rushing out to buy one for every table, consider the possibility of creating the party decorations yourself. Here are some hints:

Simplicity can be beautiful. For an elegant party, you could set a vase in the center of each table. Place one long-stemmed colorful flower inside the vase, and tie a ribbon around each vase. All that you would need to do is purchase one or two mixed bouquets, and separate the flowers for the vases. Most people have an assortment of vases in various sizes, shapes and colors at home. Emphasizing the different vases and different flowers adds an artistic touch to the party decorations. If you don't want to use flowers, consider a vase containing an unscented candle, or fill a vase with colorful ball ornaments.

Size matters. Centerpieces should follow the guidelines of not too wide, not too short and not too tall. When choosing a centerpiece for party decorations, it's good to remember the sight lines of guests sitting at the table. Try to make the centerpiece go below the faces of seated guests, so that the guest across the table can still be easily engaged in a conversation without a big bunch of flowers or piles of stuff in the way. Not too wide means that, while it might be fun to have an assortment of party decorations on the table, you still need room for food and place settings. A cluttered table can pose challenges to guests as they try to eat.

Consider the guests. Before choosing something fragile for party decorations on the center of the table, consider the age range of the guests who will be there. Glass vases, lit candles or small items are not advisable party decorations for children's tables. If you are placing small toys on tables, and children will be there, try to have at least as many items as the number of children, so that they can take these decorations home as party favors, and there will be enough for everyone. Party decorations, especially small ones, are sometimes mistaken for party favors, and a gracious host will keep this in mind.

Other centerpiece party decoration ideas. Lights, photos of the guest of honor and little cards with fun topics for discussion can also make great centerpieces. Think about using photos of the guest of honor at various ages, or funny photos of the honoree for cute centerpiece party decorations. Surround the photos with colorful confetti, or decorate them with ribbons and bows.

Walls and Ceilings
Colorful, versatile and inexpensive, balloons are always a good bet, and they can be decorated using markers, shapes cut out of paper, yarn, glitter or even pictures printed on a computer. They can be taped around the room, filled with helium and floated around the room or tied to chairs.

Gift wrap is also inexpensive, and you can make it yourself. Consider using gift wrap to decorate a party room wall, with a big gift bow in the center, to add a festive flair to the party. You can even use gift wrap to cover the tables. Along the same lines, you can use posters or pictures cut from magazines to enhance the party theme.

Well-wishes add a special touch to party decorations. Anything can be written or printed up, used as a banner or strung across the ceiling. Consider covering a wall with white butcher paper or poster board, and let young guests add their artistic touch to the party decorations. It gives them something to do, and, in a short time, the other guests will enjoy admiring the kids' handiwork and adding their own art or good wishes above it. The guest of honor could be given the sheet of paper at the end of the party, making the party decorations into a nice little memento for the honoree.

Besides centerpieces, tablecloths can be modified to fit the party theme. Tables can be covered with anything from gift wrap to colorful plastic or cloth tablecloths. You can also cover a children's table with plain paper and give them crayons so they can draw to their heart's content. Depending on the party theme, confetti strewn around the table adds a fun touch, as long as you don't mind cleaning it up afterwards.

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