Let’s Party: 3 Tips for Decorating Your Next Party


Birthdays are a big celebration at our house. We love balloons, handmade gifts, and singing the happy tune too many times to count. And for those that know me personally, there is no hiding the fact that I love to plan a good party, birthday parties to be exact.

Having three kiddos and our oldest nearing her 7th birthday, it is safe to say I have a few parties under my planning belt now so I’m here to share a few tips on how I make decorating their parties successful.

Tip #1: Choose a theme

I typically choose the theme for the first two birthdays or base my decision on what they appear to be interested in at that age: Mickey Mouse, princesses, cars, construction vehicles, trains, baby dolls, Elmo…you get the idea. I allow them to choose the theme every year after. I then take that theme and focus on the colors. Instead of having everything with that character or item on it, I focus on the colors of that item and save the character or item for the accent pieces.

We’ll use the example of Mickey Mouse for the sake of familiarity: Instead of using Mickey Mouse plates, cups, and napkins, you could use black or red plates and cups and accent the set up with the character napkin. Instead of using a Mickey tablecloth with all of the above, you could use a solid black tablecloth with a Mickey plate and black or red napkin. Using the characters for accents make it much easier to find coordinating solids on everything else and save any leftovers for future parties. Do you need help deciding on a theme? Pinterest gives endless ideas! Another great resource I use for collecting ideas is Kara’s Party Ideas. (This site was not created by me; the name is simply a coincidence. Or perhaps a sign I’m in the wrong business.)

Fiesta theme focused on bright colors and accent plates.

Tip # 2: Shop around

As long as you give yourself a couple weeks ahead of your party date, there are lots of fun party shops to choose from online. People are so talented and creative and have listed their wonderful ideas on several sites across the internet for those of us who are not so gifted in the creative arts. Some of my personal favorites include Shop Sweet Lulu and Oh Happy Day Shop. Don’t get me wrong; places like Hobby Lobby, Party City, and Target are musts too, but it’s fun to find unique party supplies from other resources too. Amazon and Oriental Trading are also great options. I tend to Google whatever it is I’m looking for and see which resources are available. Doing this allows you to get the best price for the products and gives you more ideas for your party. If you’re crafty, Pinterest is definitely a go-to for ideas you can recreate on your own. If you’re not feeling so crafty, Etsy is the site for you. Their search feature allows you to find just what you’re looking for and provides multiple different ideas for that particular search along with whom you can buy it from so that you do not have to create it yourself.

Highchair banner and fans found at the PartyFetti Etsy shop.

Tip # 3: Try something new

You don’t have to be a creative genius to have some great decor or food displays at your party. That leads me to another point: Don’t forget to use food as decor too! Thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, you can find step by step instructions and many times a how-to video on how to make that pop-of-color decoration or super cute dessert tray. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to try a new idea with the little help of a tutorial!

Using churros and Oreo tacos (idea found on Pinterest) for decor.

 Whether you’re looking to create your very first birthday experience or you have planned twenty parties, there are always fun new ideas to be found with a little research.

Happy party planning to you!

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I’m Kara, wife and mom of 3. A Florida native, I relocated to Knoxville over a decade ago to pursue a master’s degree where I promptly fell in love with the endless supply of sweet tea, southern hospitality, and peach cobbler. Oh, and my husband! I’m a physician assistant by day, wife and mom by day and night. When I’m not caring for sick patients, I enjoy traveling as a family and spending time with friends at local events downtown. We had always called Knoxville home, but after returning from spending two years living abroad, our lives are forever changed. We left a piece of our hearts on an island out in the Pacific Ocean and took with us the desire to see more. If words could explain, I’d write a book, but until then, occasional blurbs and social media posts will do!


  1. You have some great tips for decorating a party. I’ve been to a few that don’t have a theme, and the party looks like a jumbled mess! Like you said, even just using the colors of a theme lends the space a cohesive feel.


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