These wow factor party ideas are my favorite ways to make a statement with my party decorations, whether I’m throwing a house party or hosting an event at a hall. They work for every party theme and don’t have to be expensive to put together. But they definitely make an impact on my guests.
My favorite part of throwing parties is coming up with creative decor for whatever party theme I’m going with. (I always have a theme, even if it’s just a color scheme.)
And I figure if I’m going to all the trouble of putting up decorations, I might as well go all out.
So now that’s what my parties are known for…the wow factor.
Over the years, I’ve picked up some tried-and-true ways to make sure that happens. And that’s where this list of wow factor party ideas comes from.
1 | Make An Entrance
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Just like a blind date or a job interview, first impressions are important when it comes to setting the tone for your event.
So you want to make sure you wow your guests as soon as they walk in (or even before they get to the entrance).
That could be a red carpet walkway.
Balloons of the same color strung at different heights lining the entry way.
50 pink flamingos in the front yard. (I did this for a flamingo-themed 50th birthday party).
A gorgeous backdrop that goes with your party theme (like my Phantom of the Opera party entrance).
Or turning your garage into an alley that guests have to come down to get into your speakeasy party. (This is what I did for my Great Gatsby party and I’ll be sharing all the details on how I did it in an upcoming post).
Try to set up your entrance so they can’t see all of the room decorations when they first walk in. That way you get the opportunity to have two “wow” factor moments in a row.
2 | Hang Ceiling Decorations
One of the easiest ways to make your party decor stand out is to think of the ceiling as the fifth wall and decorate it.
Hanging lots of ceiling decorations is something that you usually see at celebrity events and expensive, high-end parties…like this one by event designer Preston Bailey (he does some really amazing event and wedding decor so if you haven’t heard of him, be sure to check out his website). So why not do the same for your own party?
It is a little time-consuming to do, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. And it really does make an impact.
Hanging balloons from the ceiling is one of the easiest ways to make your party decor look special.
I used shimmery gold balloons for this Kate Spade inspired party.
I took it one step further for my Under The Sea party by first draping the ceiling with creepy cloth to make it look like waves at the surface of the ocean.
Then hung blue and white balloons from the ceiling that gave the impression of bubbles.
When it came to my Harry Potter party, I went all out.
Covering the ceiling in night sky paper and then hanging flame-less candles really made my living room feel like the Great Hall.
3 | Install Backdrops
The next one of my wow factor party ideas is to install backdrops.
You may have noticed it in all of my party pictures. I almost always cover the walls.
Plastic sheet scene setters are a great way to totally transform a room, like this under the sea scene that I hung over my sliding glass doors and lit from behind to make it really pop.
The black and gold one I used for my Great Gatsby party helps to add that glam 1920’s feel to the room.
But I only use them for evening parties that don’t require bright lights…the plastic is pretty shiny so it doesn’t look that great with all kinds of light reflecting off of it.
Curtains are another way to create a backdrop.
You can use real ones like I did for this New Year’s Eve party.
Or buy metallic party curtains which are an inexpensive option that are available in many different colors.
So you should be able to find some to match your party decor.
Clear bead curtains work well as a divider in the room. They give the impression of a wall without blocking the view.
I used them to divide the dining area from the dance floor at my Gatsby party, and I like the way they create separation but it doesn’t feel closed in.
I’ll be going into more details on backdrops and how to hang them in a future post, so stay tuned for that!
4 | Emphasize Your Color Scheme
I think every party should have a color scheme. It makes decorating so much easier.
And re-using those colors everywhere is a great way to add some of that wow factor to your party decor.
The repetition helps to draw the eye into the room.
And makes the whole room look cohesive.
Using chair covers and table cloths makes all of your furniture look like it matches…even if it doesn’t.
5 | Add Dramatic Lighting
Lighting is another one of those party decorating options that can totally transform the feel of a room. And can definitely add a big wow factor to your party.
Replacing light bulbs with colored ones is the easiest way to change up the lighting. For the Maleficent party I threw at Halloween, green lights and vines hanging from the ceiling made my living room feel like the enchanted forest.
I like to buy LED lights with a remote control that let you change the colors. That way you can re-use them for every party.
Candles and theme-specific candle holders (like these DIY faux ice ones) are another great way to add some ambiance.
But if you really want to add some drama, use uplighting. That’s where you place a light at the bottom of a decor item pointing up.
It will make clear beads glow (like on my Harry Potter tablescape) and highlight whatever is on the wall above it.
I’ll be doing an in-depth look at all the ways you can add spectacular lighting to your event in a later post. So be sure to check back for that.
6 | Create A Focal Point
Just like in home decor, defining a focal point is an important concept in party decorating.
This is the one thing in the room that draws everyone’s attention. If you don’t have a lot of time, do a really good job of creating a focal point and you can slack off a bit on everything else. Your guests will still be talking about how great the decor was.
This is also the thing that most people will take their pictures in front of, so keep that in mind when you are creating it.
For my Gatsby party, I created a focal point in the dining area with this black and gold Art Deco style sign that also told people where the dessert could be found.
For my Phantom of the Opera party, I put up an 8 foot high banner of the Paris opera house and lit it from behind so that it glowed. It covered most of the wall and definitely was a popular photo op.
Making a large “80” from old family pictures was a big hit at my uncle’s 80th birthday party.
7 | Add Something Unexpected
The last one of my wow factor party ideas is to add some decorations that people don’t expect to see at a party.
For house parties, a lot of the ideas on this list aren’t really expected.
But I always like to add something extra…that really makes my guests say “Wow! I’ve never seen anything like that before!”
Like putting up outdoor arbors and gazebos in my living room for my Winter Wonderland party.
Or creating an Alice In Wonderland theme with patio brightly-colored patio umbrellas in the house.
And setting up a glow-in-the-dark speakeasy bar for my recent Great Gatsby party (I’ll be going into more details on how I did this in a later post). Since my roaring 20’s party was for Halloween, I added a skeleton bartender dressed in gangster attire.
Well those are my favorite wow factor party ideas that I try to incorporate in every event I throw. Hopefully, you got some inspiration to create your own fabulous celebration.
More Party Decor Ideas You Might Like
- Gorgeous DIY Feather Centerpieces: How To Make Ostrich Feather Centerpieces (+ 7 variations)
- 5 Elegant and Easy Floral Centerpieces
- Easy DIY Frosted Glass Candle Holders
Have comments or questions on our wow factor party ideas? Tell us in the section below.
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This post was originally published on December 16, 2019 but was updated with new content on January 21, 2024.