(NewsUSA) - As warmer days beckon us outside, some folks just can't wait to host an outdoor summertime soiree.
But it is tempting to overspend on decorations and accessories for a party. Adding a touch of uniqueness to your party while avoiding humdrum tiki torches and Japanese lanterns can quickly add up if you're not careful.
Here are four budget-friendly ways to add some character to your outdoor get-togethers:
1. Make it colorful. For a fast way to give your party a sense of retro style, color-coordinate your bowls, plates and cups in an attention-grabbing neon color.
Most discount stores sell plastic tableware in neon colors: pool blue, grass green, sunshine orange and party pink. These items are inexpensive enough to buy in multiples, so if you plan on hosting several parties, you can use one color per occasion, then invite guests to your "blue party" or "orange party."
2. Pep up your decor with peppers. Add a memorable touch by serving condiments or finger foods in hollowed-out green, red and yellow peppers.
Simply cut the stems and fill the peppers with ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce or any other appropriate item. Depending on the pepper's color, you may even be able to coordinate them with the rest of your tableware.
3. Create a field of dreams. For a whimsical addition, if the party is taking place on your lawn, purchase a variety of silk flowers and plant them upright in the ground. You can use them to mark paths through the yard or to the food tables and seating areas.
As with the tableware, silk flowers are inexpensive at stores and are economical enough to buy in large quantities. They're also more durable than real flowers and can be used again and again.
4. Find unique ways to deter bugs. Certain herbs and flowers can repel insects. For instance, sprigs of parsley or tansy may help keep ants at bay, while lavender or mint could drive flies away.
Set up decorative bowls of the herbs in various spots near the guests' seating. A larger bowl can be the striking centerpiece of a table.
But to keep your food extra safe from unwanted company, purchase mesh food covers, which also can be found at variety stores.