I really like doing the decorations for parties at work (or any party, for that matter!). But there is no party decor budget for these things so I have to keep my budget to the amount I would spend on a gift or food. I limit myself to $30 for decor for 40-50 people (and that includes handmade invitations). Here are the tricks I use to maintain cuteness without spending much money.
Tip 1: I keep an assortment of glass jars (free, cheap or thrifted). The dollar store is a great place to find these or you can recycle your pasta sauce jars, etc. Based on the party's color scheme, I roll up pieces of pretty paper and stick them in the jars. You could stop there or you can use the jars as vases, which is what I usually do. I like to do paper flowers, coffee filter flowers or use cupcake toppers as fillers. These flowers all take more time than money.
Tip 2: I also put small jars of mints/candies out on the tables. I just wrap the jars in coordinating ribbon, paper or yarn. So easy!
Tip 3: Tin cans are my signature decor (also perfect for gifting!) Again, wrap the tin in coordinating paper and add embellishments. Or you can spray paint the tins.
Tip 4: Buy packs of paper doilies in a couple of different sizes. Very inexpensive and instantly dresses up your table. I slip them under the vases/jars/centerpieces. It helps fill the table out.
Tip 5: Make your own oversized confetti to spread on the table. I use a cutting machine or a craft punch to make big confetti, which also helps fill the table out.
Tip 6: Use cheap, white plastic tablecloths for your base. Dress the tables up with fabric runners. A yard of fabric (or a thrifted curtain, sheet, etc) goes a long way when cut into runners. I just leave the ends frayed, no need to sew. You will be surprised how often you will reuse the fabric! A big trick I have learned about fabric - when deciding on your color scheme, start with the fabric. That's where you get the biggest wow factor for a tiny amount of money. Then you just take your cues from the fabric when deciding on paper/ribbon/yarn for your other decor.
Tip 7: I use my Cricut or Silhouette Cameo (cutting machines) in a big way. I always cut out paper signs and shapes. These give a big impact for next-to-nothing cost.
I have other party decor tips but I bet you are tired of reading at this point! :)
All of the orange/yellow decor in this post cost me nothing! Well, technically I bought some of the paper and jars but that was a long time ago. I did all of these easy decorations the night before the party (it was a small party).
Do you have any inexpensive decorating tips?