Centerpieces for Birthday Parties
What hostess doesn't love the moment when everyone gets cushy on the couch? Be ready with a coffee table topped with more than just a pile of remotes. The artsy team behind iCarve designs show us how to turn the table trendy using a few packs of balloons. Buy a sheet of wire mesh from the hardware store and cut it into pieces. Tie long balloons (forming knots at either end) through the wire weave to create a textured design. Then secure them around glass vases with extra pieces of wire or twist-ties.
Derek McLane's stellar centerpiece is simply out of this world. The set designer for the musical Grease was inspired by the hues of the iconic Pink Ladies and T-Bird jackets. McLane turned a funnel on its end and attached painted foam balls to it with skewers. We love it for a kids' birthday party -- or any bash that needs an eye-popping splash of color.
Take your candy bowl to new heights! Dylan Lauren, owner of confection megastore Dylan's Candy Bar, decorates her birthday party table with this sweet centerpiece. Fill plant pots with Conversation Hearts, jelly beans, rock candy and Red Hots and nest lollipops in the mix. Bonus: it doubles as dessert!
Fresh flowers get plenty of centerpiece play, but who has the time -- or funds -- to make a bouquet for every birthday? Try this low-maintenance fill-in by fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi. Print out pictures of flowers and butterflies, then clip them into a store-bought photo hanger and place in a flowerpot. You can even quickly spray-paint a basic terra-cotta pot for a new look. When guests are gone, move the "arrangement" to a windowsill or coffee table.
How to Make a Martini Glass Centerpiece
For another colorful centerpiece from candy, watch this video.
Centerpiece How-To Videos
Watch our tips on how to create the perfect centerpiece for every occasion.
Dr. Quinn has a new career -- in home decorating. Actress Jane Seymour, a mother of five is also a painter, which inspired this bright idea, which would be great for a kid's birthday: Cover the table with butcher paper, bistro-style, and put out art supplies. Your birthday kid and their buds will be going to town creating art projects in no time.
How to Decorate a Birthday Cake
You've got the centerpiece ready, but you'll need a cake for that beautiful table! Watch the video for tips on decorating the perfect birthday cake.
Sock it To Me
It's a shame that cute socks are always hidden inside a pair of shoes. Thanks to fashion and home designer Orla Kiely, our favorite toe-toppers (even those pesky orphans we pull from the dryer!) finally take center stage for a friend's birthday or other special occasion. Orla's idea: Mix and match socks of different colors and patterns, and slip them over jars, glasses or small plant pots. Snip off the sock bottoms so the pots stand flat on the table, and fill with flowers or herbs. Try this trick with infant socks and juice tumblers to create a mini, coffee-table version.
How to Make a Sock Vase Centerpiece
We love this fun way of dressing up plant pots so much, we've made a video showing exactly how it's done.
When we asked fashion designer and former Project Runway finalist Daniel Vosovic to dress up our dinner table, we knew he'd come up with something cleverly stylish. His idea: Drape stemmed glasses with necklaces, bracelets and earrings -- whatever you have in your jewelry box -- for a perfectly accessorized birthday meal
Mama knows all -- like when you've scrambled for a birthday gift at the last minute. So skip the store-bought bric-a-brac and charm her with this mighty high design from Babies"R"Us products designer Amy Coe. Amy's idea: Elevate the ordinary! Pile thick spools of brightly colored ribbon in the center of the table, and top the stacks with small salad plates. Then just lay out some of Mom's favorite sweet goodies to snack on after (or during!) brunch.
Wrapping Presents: Fit to Be Tied
Wrapping presents are generally an afterthought and it's easy to fall into the habit of utilizing old newspapers as a fallback. Give yourself some time the next time you're preparing your gift and try one (or all!) of our themed wrapping ideas.