Whether you’re celebrating in New Orleans or at home, Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday) is the perfect excuse for a party. Between setting a beautiful tablescape for serving some yummy Mardi Gras food and drinks, and these awesome Mardi Gras party decorating ideas, you’re sure to have a good time.
Mardi Gras which means “Fat Tuesday” in French is the party to end all parties.
It is a celebration of food, dancing and general fun which traditionally occurs as the last “hurrah” before lent begins (a period of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter).
However, I think Mardi Gras makes a great party theme for any event where you want to have a good time.
Which is why I decided to have an at home Mardi Gras party for New Year’s Eve a couple of years ago.
Of course, you can hold your event on Fat Tuesday itself, use it as a graduation party theme or even do a Mardi Gras themed birthday party.
The standard Mardi Gras colors are purple (representing justice), green (for faith) and gold (for power) so just the colors alone will give your party a boost of energy 🙂 (I expanded the color scheme to include turquoise blues as well).
Keep reading to see the Mardi Gras party decorating ideas I came up with for my celebration.
1 | Hang Beads In Trees
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If you have ever been to Bourbon Street in New Orleans (whether it’s Mardi Gras time or not), you know that strings of beads are everywhere!
Including hanging from the trees, telephone poles and balconies.
So what better way to welcome people to your Mardi Gras party than to hang beads from the trees outside your house?
Which worked very well since the trees came with lights already installed.
2 | Make centerpieces from masks and beads
Using the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold, you can make some fun centerpieces that don’t cost a lot of money.
I bought some inexpensive Mardi Gras masks* and used them for almost all of my Mardi Gras table centerpieces.
This centerpiece is made from a glass tray piled with Christmas ornaments, some Mardi Gras Beads, and a Mardi Gras mask that has a peacock feather attached to it.
It took all of about 2 minutes to put together…and I think it’s the mask that makes it!
This centerpiece is created on top of a turquoise charger*.
It uses the same pile of Christmas ornaments, Mardi Gras beads, and a mask as above.
But I added a candle with a pretty peacock feather design and some faux crystal table sprinkles.
These are all really inexpensive items that are easy to put together for a colorful centerpiece.
Another Mardi Gras centerpiece variation is to pile the Christmas ornaments and Mardi Gras beads in a tall vase.
Then add a Mardi Gras mask on the top along with a few colored ostrich feathers*.
Or for a really simple centerpiece, put out some sparkly masks surrounded by Mardi Gras garland (I got both of these from the Dollar Tree). They’re festive and really easy to do!
3 | Make ostrich feather centerpieces
Speaking of ostrich feathers. I love using these feather centerpieces at all of my parties because they are so dramatic.
And you can make them in any color you want, so they were great Mardi Gras table decorations.
Or you can go with traditional Mardi Gras colors — purple, gold and green.
Get the step-by-step tutorial on how to make these feather centerpieces.
4 | Create a peacock tablescape
For my tablescape, I used a peacock theme which goes really well with the Mardi Gras colors.
I think it looks a little more elegant than some of the Mardi Gras table decorations I’ve seen 🙂
Get more information on how to put this Mardi Gras tablescape together.
5 | Hang paper lanterns In Mardi Gras colors
You may have already noticed these in some of the previous pictures, but hanging these paper lanterns* from the ceiling was one of my favorite Mardi Gras party decorating ideas.
I think decorating the ceiling always takes your party decor up a notch, and these certainly make everyone take notice when they walk in the room.
It’s also a great way to hang Mardi Gras beads!
I added plug-in light cords* to some of the large lanterns for additional lighting.
In order to maintain the color scheme (and not overwhelm the room with too much light), I used purple and blue light bulbs inside the lanterns.
6 | Cover your chairs and tables
Another one of my favorite party decorating ideas for creating a specific color scheme is to use chair covers. Yes, the kind that you use at weddings.
They are really inexpensive, come in pretty much every color you can think of and can be thrown in the washing machine to be cleaned.
I also use tablecloths meant for weddings, for the same reasons. Just don’t expect them to be high quality linens, since they’re not 🙂
7 | Add a Mardi Gras backdrop
I didn’t do this idea at my party, but if I had seen it in time, I would have.
If you want to create a great backdrop for party photo ops, try creating a Mardi Gras garland from balloons. (You can get Mardi Gras colored balloons HERE*).
Then hang foil curtains in Mardi Gras colors* behind your garland.
People will be taking pictures in front of it all night!
8 | Decorate a Mardi Gras Christmas tree
Since my Mardi Gras party was a New Year’s Eve party, my Christmas tree was still up.
Rather than take it down, I just made it part of the Mardi Gras party decor.
Adding purple ostrich feathers in the Christmas tree along with some purple ornaments really dressed it up.
As you may (or may not) have noticed in the picture above, I never have just one Christmas tree.
So I decorated the other one in peacock colors which go really well with the Mardi Gras color scheme.
Get all the details on how to decorate this tree.
9 | Provide Mardi Gras Party Favors
In my opinion, a Mardi Gras party just isn’t a Mardi Gras party unless everyone has beads, hats and masks.
Since they’re pretty cheap to buy, I gave them out as party favors when my friends walked in the door.
That way, I knew everyone would be dressed for the occasion!
Mardi Gras beads
Give all of your guests Mardi Gras beads* in purple, green and gold so that they feel part of the festivities.
Creating a bead station by the front door makes it easy for everyone to grab some as they walk in.
You can make it look like part of the decor by hanging them from a candle tree*, which also makes them easy to access.
Mardi Gras hats
Brightly colored “gangster hats” in wild patterns were a big hit with the people at my Mardi Gras party.
Since they come in so many different colors, everyone can find one that matches their outfit. And then take it home as a party favor.
In my experience, a lot of people will bring their own masks, but for those who don’t, it helps to keep some inexpensive Mardi Gras masks* handy.
That way anyone who doesn’t bring one can still fit in with the theme.
10 | Make Mardi Gras food and drinks
Making purple, gold and green food and drinks (like these Mardi Gras Jello shots) adds to your decor as well as your menu.
Read our Mardi Gras menu for more food and drink ideas.
Other Mardi Gras party ideas you might like
Have comments or questions about our Mardi Gras party decorating ideas? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on January 18, 2015 but was updated with new content on February 19, 2024.