Decorations around the house help make a child's birthday party special.  Decorations give a lot of pleasure to the children and help set the atmosphere for fun. They also brighten up the house for you and in the mood you take on the day.  So here are some inexpensive ideas for decorating the house:

General decorations

  • Look through your Christmas decorations and see what is adaptable. Whilst any Santa objects may be out of place, tinsel and colourful lanterns may be perfect for a party atmosphere.
  • If the party is after the actually birthday, consider using the wrapping paper to brighten the house. You could make a collage of paper bits or wrap some empty boxes and have pretend gifts as decorations.
  • Walk through your garden and find some interesting flowers and foliage for vases. Don't think of structured arrangements of prize roses – mix colours and textures to make an interesting array for children to look at.
  • Swap some pictures from your child's room or play area to the party area to make it more child friendly.
  • Set up a string across the room or a wall (well above your head height for safety) and use it to hang decorations. You could hang tinsel, birthday cards, your child's artwork, small toys, balloons, beads, leaves, ribbons or sheets of wrapping paper.
  • Place dolls or teddy bears on the chairs and couches instead of your normal cushions, or sit them on the table, sideboard or mantelpiece.
  • Get your children to do some drawings on big sheets of paper (eg the sort you get from the butcher or deli) then blu tack these onto the walls – down low where the children will see them, not you. If you know an older child, get some special drawings done for you.

Themed decorations

  • Think of reusable decorations. For a reptile party, stick foam or plastic beetles and bugs on the walls and windows, then the children can play with them or use them in projects later.
  • Fairy, princess, dress up and other 'girlie' party themes can have a spectacular table decoration. Sprinkle some glitter, plastic necklaces, beads, Christmas balls, tinsel, coloured stones and the like across the table cloth – most of these things you will find at home already or can be reused later.
  • Use brown paper or old newspapers to cut out relevant shapes and stick them on walls and windows. Some examples could be a pirate hat, a treasure chest, horses, cars, trucks, people, mushrooms, favourite characters, birds, animals and food. If you make them out of sturdy paper or card, the children could decorate them as an activity and take them home.
  • If you have sheets or towels with appropriate pictures, maybe hang them over the curtains or use them as throws on the furniture, they could even become table cloths.
  • Collect some small toys relevant to the theme and use them to decorate the table and windowsills. These can then be given to the child to play with.
  • Visit op shops and discount shops for ideas. You may be able to get cheap toys, materials, pictures, clothes, jewellery and household items that can make interesting decorations.
  • Music can influence the feel of a house, too. Use music to set a scene and you will need less decoration anyway. For instance, play some western music instead of having cowboy hats around the room or play a Wiggles CD instead of hiring a disco ball for a dance party.
  • If you want a disco ball look, buy a foam ball (or make a papier Mache one) and cover it with foil. Stick on various coloured stones and sequins for a sparkly effect. Hang it from a string, and voila!

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