////Party Decor on a Budget (+ Boston Event Recap Part 2)

Party Decor on a Budget (+ Boston Event Recap Part 2)

Quick Jump To » Comments

entertaining on a budget

In continuing with Part 2 of the Boston Chambord/Hip Hostess recap – here are a few more of the tips we shared for our “Entertaining on a Budget” theme…this time focusing on party decor & general concepts. (Find tablescaping tips in Part 1.)

Pictured above are a couple shots of the Party Decor Ideas table before the party started, and the image directly below shows everything lit up during the party, which helps to demonstrate the very first tip: “Let there be light. When you’re short on time or money for party decorations, candles & string lights will always save the night!” It really is amazing how much the soft glow of candlelight can do for the feel of a room…

entertaining on a budget

Next up is the idea of Re-purposing: Look around the house and use what you already have! Decorative vases, house plants, sculptures, and other accessories can double as fantastic table centerpieces or party decor.

entertaining on a budget

The cool “circular thing” (for lack of a better term) pictured above is actually a picture frame – but it easily becomes party decor when filled with the same decorative scrapbook papers used elsewhere in the party. You could also personalize something like this for the guest(s) of honor by mixing in a few photos of the birthday girl or happy couple in some of the circles.

The “pedestal candle holders” are actually simple glass cylinder vases ($1.50 – $3 ea) wrapped in scrapbook paper with candle-safe plates set on top of them. The plates are secured firmly to the vases with glue dots, which easily peeled off after the party was over.

entertaining on a budget

Pictured above: more home accessories dressed up with paper, butterflies, & inexpensive vase fillers & grasses purchased at Michaels.


Speaking of vase fillers, here’s tip #3: Opt for Botanical materials where a little goes a long way, such as tall branches (like mitsumata, curly willow, manzanita & bamboo).

entertaining on a budget

In other words, $10 worth of very tall mitsumata branches are going to make a bigger impact than $10 worth of flowers because of the height factor. Here are some mitsumata branches that I spray painted red for one of the table centerpieces (one set of three 48″ branches is only $6.80 at save-on-crafts.com):

entertaining on a budget

It’s also fun to dress up branches and willow with things like butterflies, paper shapes, and ribbon. (The smaller curly branch shown in the red branch is kiwi vine.)


Next up is a topic I’ve mentioned here before: “Use rub-on transfers, stickers, and rhinestones to create themed glasses & dishes from items that you already own.” This tip can takes a little patience but looks great if you’re up for it.  (Use scotch tape and/or hot soapy water to lift and remove the transfer when done.)

entertaining on a budget


Last but not least: “Details, details! Look for creative (& affordable) ways to carry your theme into all areas of the party.” For example, at the Boston event we cut butterfly shapes from scrapbook paper and attached them to paper lanterns, favor bags, and plastic drink stirrers…

entertaining on a budget


Here are a few more of the tips we featured in frames throughout the room:

Pick a theme. Whether your theme is specific or as simple as a certain color, having a party theme in mind will make the planning process much easier (and keep you from buying things you don’t need).

Go modern minimalist. Instead of very large, expensive floral arrangements, try displaying just a few individual stems in bud vases or simple glass cylinders.

Serve a variety of finger foods instead of a fancy full-course meal. Keep the recipes tasty, yet simple and focus on creative presentation.

Rise up. To add height to centerpieces & serving trays, flip small bowls upside down to act as pedestals for the larger dishes. (No need to purchase specialty serving dishes!)

Decorate vases and candles with scrapbook paper to create party decor that perfectly matches your theme.

Cheers! Dress up cocktail glasses with fun details like rhinestones, ribbon, metallic pipe cleaners, & festive DIY drink charms.


Hope you’re able to find some of these tips useful at your own future get-togethers! That’s it for the Boston recaps… I’m off now to continue working on the details for next Thursday’s “Old Hollywood Glam” event!

By |2010-10-31T14:53:28-07:00January 27th, 2009|Party Decor Projects|

About the Author:

Jennifer Sbranti is the founder of Hostess with the Mostess®, a creative living and party planning resource established in 2006. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Sonny, and daughters Macy (8) and Rylie (6). Sbranti’s work has been featured in media outlets such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, Real Simple, People, InStyle Weddings, and Extra! TV. She has designed creative content and unique live events for several well-respected brands, including Mattel, Coca-Cola, The Hershey Company, Toys”R”Us, Pottery Barn Kids, and Starbucks.


  1. Kendall January 27, 2009 at 9:34 am

    So cute Jenn! Where did you get the glittery butterflies? And did you have any sort of stencil for the ones you cut out to go on the drinks?

    Joanna gave me the idea of using butterflies on fishing wire to dress up my window baubles this spring (i know, way ahead of myself) and I wanted to know where I could find them!

    Also, where do you find the twigs and branches. I’m guessing you just spray paint them?

  2. jenn s. January 27, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Thanks, Kendall! Love the idea of dressing up the window baubles with butterflies too! :)

    I got the butterflies at a local design/craft store in San Diego, but I’m sure you could find them online too.

    This website has the exact same ones – but it looks like they also have order minimums of around 3 pieces. I used just one of these white butterfly garlands (which actually already are on fishing wire, so I cut the garland up to use them individually) – and one box of small 3″ butterflies for the entire room – so a little goes a long way!

    The yellow & black monarch butterflies are from Century Novelty and they have lots more options as well!

  3. Katie January 27, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    I wanted to let readers know that Micheals has a bunch of butterfly stuff out right now in the dollar sections…they had some cute glitter clip-on butterflies!

  4. jenn s. January 27, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks for the tip Katie!! :)

  5. Houses, Couches, and Babies January 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    So pretty! Once again, such a great job. You would never know how freezing it was outside with how warm the decor made the room!

  6. Planning a Child’s Birthday Party on a Budget January 28, 2009 at 3:06 am

    […] Party Decor on a Budget When you’re short on time or money for party decorations, candles & string lights will always save the night!” It really is amazing how much the soft glow of candlelight can do for the feel of a room…  […]

  7. Joanna January 28, 2009 at 7:35 am

    I can’t stop looking at this one! I LOVE the butterflies and the colors and all the great tips! Are you going to Atlanta?

  8. nayy January 29, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Any plans of having an event in DC? It’d be great to have you here!!

Comments are closed.