A mermaid party wouldn't be complete without a little sand. Kate Landers used a tarp and sandbox from a home improvement store as the ocean floor. She set the coffee table on top and placed cushions around the table for the guests. Seashells and other ocean-inspired objects make guests feel as if they're dining under the sea. Photo by Open Shade Studios
No matter how small your outdoor space, make it pop with table linens and fresh flowers in look-at-me shades. Set up a beverage station so guests can help themselves, and add cushions or pillows to chairs -- comfortable furniture will entice guests to sit a spell.
Don't limit your decorating to the dining table. Create small, casual bouquets to display on a buffet or hutch. Repeating the natural elements from the dough bowl will add a greater impact to the entire space. Fill the bouquets with simple flowers, dried bittersweet branches, wheat sprigs and even fruit or mini pumpkins on skewers.
Take a utilitarian kitchen cart and spray paint it gold to create a festive and functional serving station. Give it a focal point in a room, large or small, with string lights and party decor, such as a banner with tassels.
A buffet table is the way to go for open house parties. For this look, combine menswear fabrics in tartan and plaid with feminine touches like roses and sparkling accents. Label each dish with a menswear-inspired printable buffet label.