10 Ways to Take Your Outdoor Party to the Next Level

From balloon alternatives to chic centerpieces you can create on the cheap, here are 10 creative ways to bring a designer’s touch to your next outdoor soiree.
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Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Serve Buffet Style

Let your buffet do double duty as an outdoor focal point by dressing it with fun, festive colors. To lure guests out of the house and onto the patio, set up a no-fuss food and drink station that will spur conversation and unify different party zones with a cohesive color scheme.

Craft Fruity Centerpieces

Don't toss the empty pineapple and watermelon rind, instead repurpose them as organic vases. Hollow out the center of the melon or pineapple using a kitchen knife, then place a small cylindrical vase inside and fill with flowers that fit the vibe and palette of your party.

Dress Up Everyday Chairs

No sewing skills? No problem! Bring a custom look to your everyday dining chairs by cutting two yards of fabric to size, then simply wrapping the fabric up and over the chair's back for use as a chair swag. Use a scrap of fabric in a coordinating color to hold the chair swag in place.

Add Color With Paper Lanterns

Skip balloons and instead add color and whimsy with paper lanterns. Pick up two to three packs of lanterns in a variety of coordinating colors and varying sizes. Assemble the lanterns, use zip ties or twine to cluster them together, then hang at different levels.

Turn Fabric Scraps Into a Garland

Add texture, color and pattern with a fabric scrap garland. To make the garland, pick up three to five coordinating fabrics in both solids and patterns, then cut into 2" wide strips using fabric scissors. Next, unfurl a spool of twine to the intended length of the garland and tie each scrap of fabric to the twine along the center of each scrap.

Tower of Treats

Put an elegant spin on storebought desserts with a tiered display. Swing by your favorite bakery to pick up powdered or glazed donuts, then display them on and around hat boxes of various sizes.   

Aromatic Centerpiece

Opt for an edible centerpiece of fresh herbs that will encourage guests to pick any garnishes needed to finish off their drinks or add a fresh flavor to their meal.  

Rethink Your Serveware

Instead of paper napkins or plastic plates, serve guests finger foods inside of strawberry baskets. These are easy to hold, help avoid any spills and effectively store seasonings and toppings.

Turn Fruit Into Sweet-Smelling Votives

Use fruit in an unexpected manner by carving a 2- to 3-inch circle out of apples and pears, then place tea lights inside for use as votives. In addition to adding color and a natural touch to your table, the votives will also add a sweet fragrance.

Create Concealed Storage

Keep your outdoor buffet well-stocked and tidy by simply draping a linen tablecloth over a utilitarian collapsible buffet table. The linen tablecloth will add a more tailored, polished look, and all of the space below can be used to keep back-up drinks, and serving supplies within arm's reach.