Party/Event planning

6 Budget Friendly Decorating Staples I Use For All My Birthdays And Special Occasions

October 1, 2021

I’m Deema
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I don’t know when my obsession with decorating for holidays and parties began, but I’m pretty sure my mother is to blame. She made birthday parties and holidays so extra, that I swear if you looked through some of our old family photos you’d question our sanity. Now every time I throw a party or decorate for a special occasion, I get so many compliments on the set up/decor. And then I get excited, my voice goes up about a million decibels, and I shriek “OMG it’s so easy and cheap let me tell you how I do it!” And if at that point the person didn’t run away, this is what I tell them:

I’ve been using and reusing the same staples for years. They make any occasion look fancy, and most importantly, they don’t break the bank. One thing to keep in mind before I share the list, is that I always incorporate something special with these staples. For my son’s birthday I added soccer stuff, or for halloween I added spiders and witch hats. Just think of these pieces as a cheap and elegant “base” that you can reuse. Over and over, and over and over, and over…

  1. Oversized white latex balloons

Ok, I know you’re thinking well, DUH. But the key is getting the oversized white ones, they make such a big impact. They look elegant yet so fun. And want it to look extra fancy? Hang them from the ceiling with some twine. Get creative. Hang them from a table, on the wall, or the back of a chair. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Put some balloons on the floor, and the larger ones on the ceiling. My son had a soccer theme one year, and I used soccer ball balloons to personalize his birthday. (I also love these large round ones here)

I even went crazy and created a table arrangement with the balloons like in this pic below.

And if you don’t want to incorporate other accent balloons, you can even use ribbons like I did here.

2. Twine

I use this for everythanggggg. One small roll for $5 will last me such a long time. I always use them for balloons, but also to hang other things. I especially love twine for gifts! The possibilities are endless. I recently used them to hang witches hats from the ceiling for Halloween.

I use them to tie things together, for party favors, and even for gifts like I did below.

Trust me on this, always have a roll on hand. You will find a million uses for it.

3. Burlap banner

I love these so much. Nothing screams “lets celebrate” like a traditional banner. I especially like the burlap ones because they feel organic and timeless. I always have a couple plain ones on hand, and of course, a couple neutral happy birthday ones. Again, I love to keep it neutral for the base, but then plug in some fun colors or patterns with balloons or other party extras specific to the theme. (an alternative one here and a birthday one here)

I used it in my kids room for Halloween too!

I also really love placing them on tables.

Here it is in another corner for Halloween.

4. Clothes pins

You read that right. I use these for everything! I used them to pin these cheap spider rings I got from the dollar store.

And for my son’s birthday I used them to pin soccer cards.

I’ve used them for gifts.

Party favor bags.

I guarantee you that you will reuse these over and over for so many things.

5. Table cloths

These make such an impact! No matter the table color, or if you’re using a foldable table like we did below, dressing it up with a $10-$12 table cloth (that you can reuse over and over) makes such a difference. I have used these same ones for all my parties for years.

That’s a crappy old folding table that now looks elegant. In retrospect, I probably should have ironed it (sorry mama, look away!). I also have a set of round ones too like this.

6. Box of collected crap

The last (and maybe the most fun?) staple is my box of crap. This is where I keep colorful ribbons, balloons, holiday themed trinkets from the dollar store, and any and everything I’ve collected over the years. It helps me personalize whatever birthday or occasion I’m decorating for, and it’s such an affordable way to decorate. Sure I may have to buy some balloons or twine when they run out, but for the most part, I’ve been able to decorate for some beautiful birthdays, holidays, dinner parties, all for no to minimal cost. And over the years, I just keep adding stuff. **Some of that crap makes for some excellent cake toppers!

So what do you think, have I convinced you to try these staples? Stay tuned for a follow-up post on my favorite ways to elevate your party using things from home (think cake stands and flowers!).



Feedback? Comment below, or email me: (Deema Tabbara Lopez) at

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  1. Kristin Turner-Villanueva says:

    Deema: Get the oversized white balloons.
    Me: Heads to Amazon to find oversized white balloons.

    Such great tips! Will now be forced, uh I mean happy, to do all these things!!

  2. Joanne says:

    Thanks for another great share.
    I too love twine. It kind of fancies everything up. I think I’ll add the clothespins too.
    So glad I decided to follow you. I really enjoy you 🙏

  3. Mary Haldeman says:

    Only you (and now me so thank you very much) can take a piece of twine, a clothespin and some Dollar Store items and turn them into something fun and pretty.
    Oh, and I love that you decorated their bedroom.
    PS You nailed the bed making challenge. Good on you girl!!!

  4. Maisah says:

    Beautiful! Now I feel inspired.

  5. I love the spider rings !!!!! How clever !!!

  6. Janie says:

    I’m all set on the box of crap part!!!!

  7. Sana says:

    Great ideas!!

  8. Noe says:

    This is amazing! I am not crafty or artistic. Now, I can make birthdays and other occasions fun & festive. I wish I would’ve found you years ago. I love “best practices by Deema”— literally lighting a decorative path for all of us who struggle with this 🤍

  9. Janet Shantz says:

    In a world of over the top at-home parties… DEEMA gives us practical, doable and beautiful! Thanks.
    PS: Gettin’ a box to fill with all the basics TODAY!

  10. Peggy Kaczmarek says:

    Great tips and love the big balloon idea! And boy, do I have a big box of collected crap!!!! Just wait till you’re as old as I am!

    Hope the kitchen takes a turn for the better!

  11. Meg says:

    Love this! I have a couple of party staple boxes of random felt banners and streamers and balloons I’ve collected over that last few birthdays. But I love the burlap banner and big white balloons! So classic! And I am all about the twine used for all the things. Thanks for sharing such great tips!

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