A few weekends ago I went to a family get together with some of my husband’s co-workers and their families. This was my first get-together like this in the new city. I was helping with organizing said event and, of course, I volunteered to do the decor. I wanted the space to be decorated but I also didn’t need to sink a bunch of money or time into it. So, I set out to come up with some easy decor for a budget-friendly and easy set-up and used some of my top tips along the way. So, today I am sharing FIVE tips and tricks I used with you.
1. Pick a theme and stick to it.
This really helps me focus in on what I can actually use, makes my life so much easier, and ultimately saves money in the long run. I struggle when I haven’t really thought through a theme. I tend to feel all over the place and end up with too much decor that doesn’t flow together. A theme gives me boundaries to work within. A theme helps me evaluate every idea by asking myself, “Does this tie in and really add to my theme and the atmosphere I want to create?” If not, it’s out. Really take the time to think through the atmosphere you want to create before you start anything else. It pays off over and over and over.
For this event I chose a more sophisticated country chic theme because, for me, it’s an easier and more affordable look to put together. And I do so love easy and affordable :).
2. Shop your home (and your friends’ homes).
Take inventory of what you already have that falls within your theme. Do you already own vases, mason jars, galvanized buckets, linens, whatever you can use for your own theme? Also, rethink purposes and really challenge yourself to think how you can use what you already have. Do you have a picture frame that could double as a menu (I did and it’s pictured below)? Do you have bushes that you could use for greenery? The more creative you can get with what you have the more you save. I mean, I’ve used curtains as linens for multiple events including this one.
3. Decorate a few main areas.
Instead of spreading out the decor and, therefore, making each area feel a little sparse (ie: cheap), use most of your decor in one or two areas and really do them well. Maybe a really dressed up food table and drink/dessert table. Or maybe a really cool looking coffee station. Or even just a long, family-style table loaded with decor and food lined down it. So many options you can play with. For this event, I combined the food, desserts, and drinks onto one table and focused all my decor on that table to create one focal point that easily directed everyone to where the action was happening lol. I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture once the food was laid out but here is a plain shot that helps you get the idea of just the decor:
4. Use fresh flowers and linens whenever possible.
Flowers are such an easy way to immediately dress up your decor. Now, I have to admit that I am a fresh flower junkie. Most any week you can find fresh flowers in my home. So, naturally, fresh flowers and/or greenery is usually a part of the decor. But here is where it becomes cost-saving. Most any flower I use is from a yard with permission or in a wholesale bunch from somewhere like Trader Joe’s or Costco. Sometimes I even use bush cuttings from my and my neighbor’s back yard to create a greenery arrangement or even a faux succulent. The arrangements pictured here cost me $8 total to make. A quick stop at Trader Joe’s and I had fresh flowers and eucalyptus that I arranged for my event…and my home afterwards, lucky me. I think they really make the area pop don’t you?
Linens are another way to really dress up your event. Not knocking the plastic ones because they really are awesome in a pinch, but there is no denying real linens take the event up a notch. No need to buy expensive linens unless you want to make the investment. I’ve used a cheap linen cloth I bought by the yard and just unrolled it down the table. The raw edges went with the theme and I loved the textural detail of the frayed linen. I’ve used, as i mentioned before, curtains from my home and even sheets. And there is always the thrift store option…which brings me to my next point.
5. Consider Goodwill or other thrift stores.
Goodwill is a goldmine for party decor! So, many people head to the dollar store, spend $20 on supplies, and call it a day. But wouldn’t they feel awesome knowing that instead of plastic table cloths and cheap, paper decorations they could have galvanized buckets, real linens, and unique vases for the same amount? Almost everything pictured here, with the exception of the flowers and pie sign, is from various trips to Goodwill. A few stops at my local Goodwill on their 50% off Saturdays and I had most everything used to decorate this event for under $30 and most of it I will get to use over and over again!
What do you think? I was pretty pleased with how everything turned out and how budget friendly it ended up being. It was so fun to get to better know my husband’s co-workers and their families.
Any tricks you always use when decorating? Please share them in the comments below! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to get all my latest DIY and money-saving ideas. And, if you enjoyed this post, give it a like so I know to share more tips like these.