As a nation, we Brits have in recent years begun to shun the formal dinner party a little in favour of more casual gatherings such as barbecues. However, as the weather heats up and you’re perhaps planning some social gatherings of your own, today on the blog we are sharing a few inexpensive decorating ideas that should inject some fun and colour to proceedings, whatever type of food is on the menu.

Tantalising tables
The cost of table decorations can soon mount up, particularly if you plump for a large floral centrepiece. If you do opt for flowers, consider taking a less is more approach and use single stems in thin vases or float pretty flower heads on saucers to add colour and a hint of scent. Another option is to use fruit to bring the bright colours – pineapple prints are a big look in the world of interiors at the moment – why not create a centrepiece that could double as dessert?

Flashes of delight
You don’t need to be celebrating a birthday to get the balloons or bunting out – hanging decorations can help you to transform a space quickly on a budget and are easily tied in with a colour theme. Make your own strings of bunting in the same colours as your flowers or if you’ve gone for a fruity theme you could snap up this quirky tropical bunting from Sainsburys. You could even get busy creating your own canvas prints on your chosen theme and temporarily swap them with your everyday wall art. Our canvas prints come ready to hang, so switching your usual art out should be a piece of cake.

Going with the flow
We’re never quite guaranteed the weather for outdoor entertaining here in the UK so it always pays to have a back up if you’re planning a barbecue or picnic. Encouraging flow between a kitchen or dining room and patio area will not only give you an option should the heavens open but also provides a larger space for guests to mingle too. To avoid guests wandering aimlessly throughout your property and potentially taking mess with them, try using decorative signals to helpfully plan their pathway.

Doorways can be dressed with ribbons or streamers to signal they are in use while candles can help illuminate exits (or entrances) once the sun has set. Battery operated LED fairy lights and solar candles can also be used to decorate hedges and line pathways for extra sparkle and to help with safety.

Don’t forget to take a photo of your decorating efforts in action once your party is in full flow, you’ll find some hints and tips for capturing the action in our barbecue photography post. And, if you’ve prepared some impressive food take a peek at our post for some extra food styling tips.

Do you go all out on the decorating front when you’re entertaining guests? Do you have any sneaky tactics for creating a big impression on a budget? Share your tips below.