Saturday, July 5, 2014

Party: /ˈpɑːti/ — n, pl -ties. 2. Decorations

Generally speaking, I take a laid-back approach to decorating for parties.  Yeah I know some of you are probably nodding and saying "suuuuuuure you do," but really, I do!  I have some decorating cheats that I almost always fall back on, allowing this to be the least stressful aspect of putting together children's birthday parties.  I think that over-decorated parties are FUN, and if I had the time, energy and budget I would probably go there, but I usually don't, so... I don't.

Just to clarify, there are plenty of party details I do spend a lot of time on - anything involving illustration, for instance.  Sometimes if there's something specific that I want to try, I will plan ahead and work on that element over several evenings, but mostly I take these following shortcuts and buy myself some time to work on all those little details that (for me) make kid's parties so fun.

I'm by no means an expert, and I tend to go for a 'down home' feel when it comes to parties, but some of you may find these useful.  And of course you are more than welcome to add so advice of your own, in the comments section...

1. Spend time to pick the perfect venue. If you host your party in the right spot, you will barely need to do any decorating at all, you can use your environment as the decoration.  For this reason, summer/outdoor parties are THA BEST, but even indoors you can sometimes strike gold with an atmospheric venue suited to a party theme.  If you're outdoor area is plain, there are some easy ways to make it feel festive - mowing a maze in our lawn for Garland's lawnmower party took care of our party decorating and party games all in one go (the gigantic pile of grass clippings was a crowd pleaser too!).  

2.  Pick one decorating space.  We've been confined to the indoors for a handful of parties, and while it makes party planning easier in many ways, it can be daunting figuring out how to kit out our home with decorations.  Well it was, until I realised that all you actually need is one nice spot where you can set up your party table, and then you can restrict all your decorating to that one area.  Table decorations aside (I'll get to that later), hanging a pretty piece of fabric, or the go-to party decoration - bunting, to the wall behind your table is often all you need to do to create an inviting atmosphere.  Another fun and simple idea is to use polka dot decals to decorate your back wall - or DIY these like I did!  Only, don't use transparent paper :-P

3.  Centre-pieces, fo' sho'!  When your treat table is laden with goodies, a centre-piece will give the eyes a resting place, and you can also use this opportunity to absolutely nail your party theme.  Not every party needs one IMHO, but if you want to limit things decoration-wise, creating a cute centre-piece could easily fulfill all decorating requirements.

3. Use vintage items to complement your arrangement.  While I realise this wouldn't suit everyone's aesthetic, I have a penchant for adding vintage decor to almost every party set-up.  A few days beforehand, I will wander around our house filling a basket with items that suit that theme.  Super easy, super time-saving.

4. Fall back on classic go-to party decorations - like bunting, strings of balloons, streamers etc.  Sometimes a party just doesn't feel like a party without balloons, and strings of balloons are such an easy way to create a party 'room' if you're outdoors.  Though I think bunting has got to be the quintessential party decoration these days, and there are a million different ways it can be used.  Plus, this is such an easy decoration to make - paper, ribbon, glue << tutorial - and can be used again and again.

5. Use a small amount of pretty tableware to add colour and interest to a party table.  Whether paper straws, pretty food cups, or hand decorate bamboo cutlery, these items are usually quite cheap to purchase and can be used in a variety of inventive ways.

6.  DIY party decorations.  If you do have a little time up your sleeve the odd handmade item can add a lot of fun to your party decor.  There are tons of printables available, but sometimes all you need is a few sheets of cardboard, some scissors and a cute idea.  My personal favourite decorative item to make, was definitely the swooping seagulls at our nautical party.  I mean, seagulls!  Hanging over the fooooood!  Genius, right?!  Genius.

I have some free printables here (including the nautical bunting, seagulls, travel party printables and some other bits and pieces). And just while you're here, um, UNG!  How chubby did G-bear used to be?!!  I wanna eat it!

Thank you also for sharing your party links, wow!!!  Some genius food ideas at this super sweet fairy party!  Becky also created this adorable animal themed party for her son, with some seriously cute animal food (those mice!).  And prepare to have your mind blown by this incredible Where The Wild Things Are by Gabrielle!  Just. Everything!  

I still have a couple of party posts to come - hopefully not too boring for y'all.  Soz, parties just float my boat, what can I say...  Previous party post (invites) here.


  1. I'm a sucker for a party so bring on the party posts, I say. Love your ideas x

  2. Love all your decorations and ideas - you are such a whizz! and far from being bored- looking forward to seeing the next few posts! x

  3. I love your parties and ideas too -super inspiring : )