Master List of Table Decorating Inspiration
Dear sorority sugar, I was just told I will be in charge of the sisterhood round for my sorority recruitment. The only problem is my school is "no frills" and I'm having a hard time coming up with ideas. We are allowed 4 tri-folds for brag boards, 4 scrapbooks, balloons and we can display things like photos, t-shirts and awards. I was wondering if you know of simple ways to make the room show off our sisterhood? Thank you!
sorority sugar: You're off to a good start with your tri-fold boards, scrapbooks, tee shirts and balloons. I'm not sure how far you can "push" the enhancements, but I will offer suggestions and hopefully you can incorporate some of them in your plans. To elevate your table decorations, begin by visualizing each display space in a three dimensional way.
Background • Middle Ground • Foreground
By viewing each table arrangement this way, you can make creative choices for each "dimension" and layer your decorations to create a beautiful arrangement. Rather than pile all your memorabilia onto one table, spread the sugar around to several stations. That way your sisters and PNMs can walk around the room and view the keepsakes in different areas. It expands the visual decorations and it avoids a log jam at just one table.
Another tip is to think vertically, not just horizontally. Garlands and balloons will add height to your decor. Avoid a completely flat look for your tabletops. Consider how your displays will look with a room filled with people. You want to provide some visual interest above the heads of sisters and PNMs so they can see it over the crowd.
Within the your Panhellenic guidelines, add some of these touches to make your sisterhood displays more attractive!
• Background Enhancement •
- Sorority colored pipe & drape will provide a dramatic backdrop to any space. Rent the poles and draped fabric to soften the room, add dramatic color and camouflage unattractive walls. They're especially nice if you're recruiting in a campus meeting room and you need to gracefully enclose your surroundings. They also add height to your room design.
- Hang hand painted sorority banners on the walls, or attach them to your pipe & drape in several places.
- Attach strands of twinkle lights to your backdrop fabric, or swag them on the walls behind your tables. Twinkle lights can be hung vertically in a waterfall pattern, or draped horizontally.
- Place large mylar balloons that spell out your sorority initials or full name behind your tables. They will add a lot of drama to your background.
- Add bunches or rows of colorful helium balloons to your background space. Bouquets of balloons can be attached to small sand weights for easy placement.
- String paper garlands, tassel garlands, flower garlands, star garlands, or heart garlands along your pipe & drape or walls.
- Hang colorful bunting strands to your backdrop or walls.
- Place your large sorority lawn letters behind a table display for added drama and depth.
- Rent trees or potted palms strung with twinkle lights and place them in your background space.
- Rent (or make) large scale props that match your recruitment theme and place them strategically behind your display tables.
- Instead of folding sorority tee shirts on a table, string them along a cord that's attached to your pipe & drape or the wall. Use cute clothes pins and turn the shirts into a decorative element.
- Paper streamers can be twisted and draped horizontally, or even better, hung vertically to create a gorgeous cascade of color.
- Attach lots and lots of paper flowers to large plywood boards and stand them behind your tables to create a wall of flowers backdrop. Clusters of paper pom poms or starbursts also work well.
- String and hang a collection of colorful feather boas to create a fluffy cascading backdrop.
- Add some design with elements that match your recruitment theme. For example, place several large bales of hay, an old wooden fence, or a wagon wheel in the background if you have a sweet home country theme for your sisterhood round.
- Have photos of your sisters and/or vintage images of your founders enlarged to XXL size and use them as dramatic background decoration.
- Include a balloon arch, or a custom balloon symbol, such as an anchor, key, arrow or crescent moon in your design.
• Middle Ground Enhancement •
- Use boxes to elevate some parts of your table, just like caterers do with a food buffet. Use regular cardboard boxes in different sizes and cover them with your table linens. You may find using the matching cloth napkins works better for covering a variety of box shapes. Another option is to use decorative wood crates, shelves and boxes if you want them to be seen as a part of the design.
- Drape your tables with color coordinated linens. Make sure they are steamed to eliminate wrinkles.
- Tie bunches of sorority colored balloons to the corners of your display tables.
- Get creative with your craft and photo holders. Shabby chic wood shelves, iron racks, and vintage picture frames are all items you can use to add creatively to your design.
- Fill several vases with fresh sorority flowers for a lovely touch to any table.
- Have professional signs made to stand on your tabletop. Your sorority motto, tagline or an sisterhood quote are all good ideas for printed signs. These can also be handmade if you know a sister who is skilled at lettering.
- Elevate your canvases, and other items, by using tabletop easels to stand them upright.
- Use attractive baskets to hold small goodies, candy or favors for PNMs.
- Stand a chalkboard sign on an easel and print your social media addresses, or an inspiring sorority message in colorful chalk.
- Decorate a set of your greek letters with craft store flowers and stand them upright on the table.
- Add dimension to your tri-fold boards. Attach flowers, small individual picture frames, greek letters, scrapbook accents and other enhancements to keep your boards from being totally flat.
- Stand a large wooden sorority monogram on your table.
- Show off sorority tote bags by filling them with colorful tissue paper and standing them upright, rather than laying down flat. The same goes for pillowcases, throw pillows, backpacks, fanny packs, etc. Make your sorority sugar more attractive and plump them up for display.
- Place chapter trophies and awards at different levels to give varying heights to your tabletop.
- Use sections of home improvement store lattice or picket fencing to hold photos and memorabilia. Place on or around your tables.
- Bring the outdoors in. "Real" elements add a lot to your theme. Decorate with starfish, sea shells, sunflowers, cactus, pearls, potted plants, fresh pineapples, etc.
- Paint or glitter mason jars, old candle sticks, picture frames and/or tin buckets to use as decoration.
- Fill clear vases with water, sliced lemons or limes and top with sorority flowers for fresh decor.
- Break up the solid color of your table lines with swatches of accent fabrics in fun prints like paisley, polka dots, ikat or floral.
- When your table displays are laid out, top them off with a sprinkle of confetti, glitter, rhinestones, feathers, flower petals or small gemstones. Finishing touches are important.
• Foreground Enhancement •
- Create drama and depth by adding a layer of tulle (like a tutu) around three sides of each table. If your theme is tropical, add "grass" skirts. Layer the tulle, grass or streamers over your tablecloths.
- Lean medium sized greek letters in front of one table. They can be painted or covered in flowers.
- Place your chapter composite in front of one table.
- Stand full length easels next to your tables to display large canvases, posters and enlarged photos.
- String bunting or garland along the front of each table.
- Swag twinkle lights along the front of your tables.
- Hang a garland of sorority tee shirts across the front of your table as cute decoration.
- Stack cool crates, vintage suitcases, barrels, baskets and other attractive containers around the edges of your display area and fill them with an assortment of sorority plush toys, crafts, big/little swag, flowers and other accessories.
- Hang your sorority flag on the front of one table.
- Use tee shirt quilts, hand tied fleece blankets and/or sorority throw blankets as "layers" that flow over and into the foreground of your displays.
- Stand XL paddles, painted coolers, sorority luggage and other large scale memorabilia in the front of your space.
- A life size plush mascot next to your table is an excellent idea. A sister standing nearby in a mascot costume is also cute.
- Fill shopping bags with colored tissue and balloons to match your recruitment theme. Stand them in the foreground.
- Hang hand painted signs on the front of your tables with one word inspirations, such as Character, Loyalty, Sisterhood.
- Decorate large memo boards or cork boards to display more memorabilia in the foreground of your space.