Do you worship at the temple of kitsch? (Me too–sorry I never introduced myself.) Then you know one of the best and most magical places ever is ~*THA PARTY SUPPLY STORE*~. Bright, glitzy, garish colors! Celebration! Unlimited tacky factor! It’s nonstop sensory overload with a heavy helping of anticipation and excitement, ‘cause you’re (probably) planning something BIG. Unless you’re me, and you just wanna decorate on the cheap with maximum glitter and bad taste. (Insert cheesy lyrics about partying every day.)
My goal is basically to have someone come over, look around in surprise, and ask, “Oh, did you just have a party?” and then I’ll be like, naw, it’s always like this. (I would toss glitter on my floor and leave it year-round if my cat wouldn’t try to eat it.) Granted, some party doo-daws are only designed to last a couple hours, but that’s about how often I change my mind and decide to redecorate anyway.
So where to start? Party stores are usually organized by theme. I alternate between dreaming of a sunny SoCal paradise and burrowing into a glittery pile of unicorn barf, so I gravitate toward the “luau” and “glam” sections (my name on a Hollywood walk of fame star? Um yes please), but other common ones are Wild West, dinosaurs, Mardi Gras, and most commercialized major holidays (sorry, Arbor Day). Whatever your fave holiday is, start from there and see what sparks your fancy. The biggest secret in the world is–SHH–you don’t need a party to decorate like you’re having one. Who says only certain days deserve unicorn-colored fringe?
Once you find the theme that makes your heart radiate in neon, think about your room and how much blank space you have. Entire walls tend to intimidate me, so my go-to is usually tapestries from Society 6 or Urban Outfitters, but they can be spendy (like $70). Thankfully, party stores have started selling photo backdrops you can keep up YEAR ROUND, and they’re way more affordable. (Want to live in a cave? Rassle up $17. Done.) Or get an oversized prop like a 5-foot-tall sparkly palm tree — needs no water and will never die.
After you’ve got a backdrop or theme going on, accents are your friend. (Why yes, I DO need a unicorn pinata.) Tack up some holographic fringe above your bed or door, or tape streamers in your favorite colors to your ceiling. Deflated balloons are sorta sad, but I like the idea of flattening a shimmery star balloon and taping it to the wall once the helium is gone. As for stuff to hang from your ceiling, you could easily DIY a fluffy pastel flower using tissue paper, or grab these bad boys for $7 in all sorts of color combos. Sparkly paper lanterns are fun too. Or just cut out stars from cardboard and cereal boxes and wrap them in tinfoil.
Cardboard cutouts: not just for selfies. Yes, it’s time to GET YO’ FANGIRL (or guy or person) on! I happen to like the idea of Hermione, Sherlock, or Doctor Who protecting me from unsolved mysteries while I sleep. Or perhaps this fella. Then you can technically be telling the truth when you say The Rock is in your bedroom.
One cautionary note: Party stores, um, apparently aren’t very familiar with the concept of cultural appropriation and can reduce a culture to offensive, cringeworthy, and stereotypical aspects. Sometimes it seems like they take the lowest common denominator, turn it neon, and print it on junk made in China. For instance, there’s much more to Polynesian culture than tiki torches and umbrella drinks. Don’t be afraid to call out a store for selling something they shouldn’t–that might be the only way they’ll change!
Have fun decorating–and send me a pic when you’re done! <3