There are all kinds of different parties, so how you decorate your party will depend quite a bit on what kind of party you're hosting.
One thing that's sure, though, is people will enjoy the party much more if you make at least some effort toward decorating.
Just how lavish and imaginative you can be may be subject to budget limitations, but below you will find ideas to select from that cover a broad range of party situations. Just pick and mix the ideas that will work best for your own party.
Make the décor fit the theme of the party
This one is stating the obvious a bit, but using Christmas decorations for a Halloween party won't work well at all. Halloween decorations at a wedding reception probably aren't such a good idea either.
So the first thing you need to think about before you do anything else is the nature of the party you're hosting, and determine an appropriate theme that will suit. You then have the basis from which to proceed with the rest of your decorating.
Partying outdoors can sometimes be the best option
Halloween, Christmas, and New Year parties may be the exception here due to the weather we can expect at that time of year, but in general if you have the space and the weather is decent enough, then an outdoor party is often a great idea.
Marquee hire is inexpensive and it's much easier to clean up after an outdoor party than a party you host inside your home so it's worth thinking about. Choosing the right exterior lighting and ensuring you have enough space for all of your guests to move freely are just two elements that you need to get right if your party is to be a success.
If you're feeling arty and crafty, American home-making guru Martha Stewart has compiled 58 interesting ideas on her website for making your outdoor party more interesting. While you're there, check out the piñata ideas, because everyone loves hitting things with sticks!
Make streamers that look just like in the movies
Have you ever seen those perfectly crafted streamers that decorate parties in movies and wondered why you never see them in real life? Want to make your streamers look like that? Of course you do. Fortunately the secret to streamer perfection is revealed by craft blogger Dana at Made EveryDay, and you won't believe how incredibly simple it is to do.
Flowers are nature's own (almost) perfect decoration
The key word here is "almost", and that's because some people may have allergies, but other than that, flowers are a brilliant way to add colour and a sense of "life" to a room. You can also have flowers and other plants strategically placed through and around your outdoor party for the same reason (just be alert to whether they're attracting too many bees).
Be creative with flowers or pay a professional florist to put flowers together in compellingly beautiful arrangements.
You could also try more advanced DIY flower craft ideas like this hydrangea wreath for the front door suggested by Heidi at The Frugal Girls blog.
If you're going to do formal, do it properly
Some parties are just naturally more suited to a more formal kind of atmosphere. Wedding receptions, for example, are usually going to follow the tradition of formal dress and formal place settings.
One problem is that the art of throwing a formal party is not taught as much as it once was, and so it's actually quite easy to make mistakes. The entire point of formal parties is that they should follow the correct form, but first you need to know what that is.
The good thing about formal parties is your home is far less likely to get trashed by the attendees than can be the case with many other kinds of parties. If you'd like to host a formal party but you're not sure how, Jennifer Davenport has a reasonably comprehensive list of tips at her blog, Jennifer Decorates.
Table runners make plain tables look more impressive
The human eye is quite amazing, but one of the most amazing things about it is how easily it can deceive us. Adding something as simple as a strip of fabric along the length of a table shouldn't make it seem more impressive, but it does.
The reason is because our eyes are tuned to seek out contrast and symmetry. When you add a table runner (a table cloth that covers the whole length but only a portion of the width of the table) you instantly add contrast.
To enhance the effect even more, place it closer to one edge of the table than the other. This will create asymmetry, so the eye is drawn to it. Run the table runner down the exact centre of the table if you'd prefer a symmetric look.
Here's the impression that gets created:
- Symmetric – orderly, neat, precise... conveys a sense of trustworthiness and dependability. A person who can get things done without bending the rules or cutting corners.
- Asymmetric – arty, bold, challenging... conveys that you're not afraid to do things your own way, and that you probably are an interesting person with an interesting life.
Once you've decided whether you're more of a fan of symmetry or asymmetry, you'll find a list of DIY table runners compiled by Michael Wurm Jr at The Spruce.
Don't forget about balloons
Balloons are another festive party tradition that are right up there with streamers and flowers as easy ways to temporarily brighten up a room with colour. Balloons also allow you an additional dimension of creative outlet due to their larger size once inflated.
Here are some more tips from The Spruce, this time about novel ideas for balloons, and compiled by Stephanie White.
That's a wrap
We've just looked at some easy ways to make your next party be a little more successful than the average party. Really it's all about how much thought you put into planning, because the best parties are parties that are planned well.
Getting your home ready for a party need not be expensive or difficult; you just need to be willing to think like a master decorator. Inspiration is all around us but if you really get stuck, just watch a few good movies that have parties in them and you will find ideas jumping out at you.
Meanwhile, for tips of what not to do, there are not many movies that could beat Project X for showing how easily things can go wrong if you don't manage your party well.