Please help me make my apt into a great party space!
July 6, 2006 7:18 PM   Subscribe

Help a college student decorate a living room/kitchen on the cheap. Theme: Martini glasses and tiki.

I need to cheaply decorate my living room and kitchen. I want to create a really festive atmosphere that will be good for cocktail parties. The theme is martini glasses and vintage tiki-esque hawaiian. Some things I've done so far:
  • bought three martini glasses from the dollar store. filled each with assorted glass baubles. Stuck paper umbrella in each. Arranged in cluster for a nice centerpiece.
  • Coconut scented candles all over
  • i'm going to purchase a set of three kitchen towels with cocktail recipes on them from the martha stewart line at k-mart.
What are some cheap things I can buy and make? I need table centerpieces, wall art, curtains, lights, & pieces to fill in the open spots in the wall unit. I'm good at making things once I get the idea, but rather bad at coming up with good ideas.

Thanks soooo much!!
posted by skjønn to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Archie McPhee is pretty reasonable price-wise. Lots of cool tiki themed stuff, too.
posted by necessitas at 7:22 PM on July 6, 2006

I love the tiki themed stuff at ShagMart - you can purchase the greeting cards and frame them. Lots cheaper than prints and you can sometimes find them at local stores that sell quirky stuff, so you skip paying the postage.
posted by blackkar at 7:23 PM on July 6, 2006

You could get some cheap bamboo placemats, for starters. Fabric store will have something good for a tablecloth (a garish Hawaiian print?) Now, those placemats, or some neutral-colored duck, if you stencil them with tiki-esque designs, look like tapa cloths - don't worry, it's mostly geometric.

Also, between Ebay, Archie McPhee, and even the Oriental Trading Co., you should be able to buy some things relatively cheap in the right vein. ('Luau' = 'tiki' for the purposes of swank/cheesy decor.)
posted by cobaltnine at 7:27 PM on July 6, 2006

Some ideas...

- Use a grass skirt as a curtain, or get some bamboo blinds.

- Try & find some inexpensive Hawaiian or other funky print fabrics at a fabric/craft store, and either put them in inexpensive frames or stretch them over a canvas or wood frame to create inexpensive wall art.

- See if you can get your hands on some vintage postcards or magazines with themes you like (cocktails, surfing, travel, etc), and frame images you like in smaller stand-up frames to fill in your wall unit. Ads for liquors, cocktail recipes from vintage books, etc, might be good ... try ebay if you don't have a good junk store.

- If you're artistic, then get a few large canvases and paint some simple still-lifes of martinis or whatever else strikes your fancy.

- Start a collection of interesting looking cocktail shakers to fill in your wall unit. Again, ebay & junk stores.

- Centerpieces: what about lucky bamboo potted in vintage tiki mugs?
posted by tastybrains at 7:28 PM on July 6, 2006

Party City
posted by Violet Hour at 7:30 PM on July 6, 2006

TJMaxx and Marshalls have pretty good cheap homewares.
posted by k8t at 7:32 PM on July 6, 2006

I suppose this tiki fireplace is out of the question?
posted by Robot Johnny at 7:36 PM on July 6, 2006

Why Oriental Trading Company of course.
posted by Ostara at 8:09 PM on July 6, 2006

My mother-in-law sends us tiki stuff for every XMas and birthday (we have a bar). She gets all of it at Big Lots. It's not vintage, but it's lots of kicky fun stuff -- lights, lamps, hurricane glasses, tikis, candles, posters, masks ... it's pretty ridiculous actually.
posted by macadamiaranch at 8:15 PM on July 6, 2006

Here is a thread about tiki Big Lots finds.
posted by spacelux at 8:25 PM on July 6, 2006

We used raffia from the Oriental Trading Co to help Tiki-up my wife's Hawaiian themed hair salon. It was inexpensive and really added alot to the feel of the place.
posted by fenriq at 9:02 PM on July 6, 2006

You should totally make a Tiki bar. My friend's boyfriend had one and it was amazing. Depending on your construction skills, you could make the entire thing from scratch or start with a cheap/secondhand bar or tall table. Wrap front and two sides with bamboo curtain (use nail or staple gun), glue on a few fake hawaiian flowers and voila!
posted by radioamy at 9:19 PM on July 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

Hit Big Lots, if you can. I have no idea how uniform their stock selection is from store to store, but I saw more than a few of the things in spacelux's link at the one near here. Tiki lights, tiki statues, talking tiki wall hangings, tiki torches, tiki-themed dishes and cups, those goofy straw hats, fake leis, etc., and all for dirt-ass cheap.
posted by Vervain at 9:39 PM on July 6, 2006

if you want the whole tiki theme, why not use bamboo screens? they're tiki and they are also great for dividing spaces in bachelor pads.
posted by alon at 12:24 AM on July 7, 2006

i should've linked my above post with this
posted by alon at 12:25 AM on July 7, 2006

Oriental Trading company is good - just don't give them your email. (I've had a year's worth of spam from one order). (I know, I could cancel - it's just annoying to have to look for that tiny link just to get off the mailing list).
posted by jb at 5:13 AM on July 7, 2006

My basement has been set up as a tiki bar for the last year or so. Of the various pieces I have in there, these really made the biggest impact.

- Lighting - I have paper lanterns with a blue and white hibiscus pattern hanging from the ceiling. The lights are cheap "lightbulb on a cord" kind of fixtures. I found these at World Market.

- Seating - An old couch with a custom slip cover. Made the slip cover with sheets from Dean Miller Prints. Went with the blue and white hibiscus (to match the lamps). This part wasn't cheap, but maybe a local fabric store could offer a cheaper solution.

- Bar - I found an indoor/outdoor patio bar with grass umbrella at my local Safeway for about $200. The umbrella was a bit much for inside, but the bar fits perfectly and is very functional.

- Tiki Heads/Masks/Statues! Don't buy cheap imitations, go for vintage. Scour eBay, antique stores, flea markets, etc. Prices on this stuff really varies. I've seen 3 foot tall palm-carved statues going for hundreds of dollars, and I've seen them going for $50. The best buy I've ever had was a 16 inch carved tiki lamp for $10. The light comes out of the statue's mouth, its fantastic.

- Wall art. Once again, I lucked out at World Market on these. My favorite is a small little surf print with a bamboo frame. I also went with a vintage Hawaii poster, which was cheap and a perfect fit.

Good luck with the decorating!
posted by TommyH at 5:45 AM on July 7, 2006

I am always amazed what you can find during season of flea market and yard sale hunting (and ebay pick-up only auctions). Years ago (and all sold a few years ago), for relatively little cash, I picked up an old rattan livingroom set and tons of tiki themed objects. If you have any old tiki lounges near you, most of them sell their barware, but, if you want to make it cheap, check the local thrifts, yard sales, and flea markets.
posted by toddst at 6:49 AM on July 7, 2006

Try Target. I saw lots of stuff there recently, and their camping stuff has been getting lower-and-lower priced as the summer wears on. They have lots of decent plates, bowls, etc.
posted by nuclear_soup at 9:00 AM on July 7, 2006

I second the idea of using bamboo shades for curtains. You can get them at Lowes, K-mart, Target, etc. for pretty cheap.

Buy some tropical printed throw pillows on the cheap at places like TJ Maxx. Mix in natural looking accessories that are made of raffia and wicker. I find that houseplants (real) always make a house feel like a home. Houseplants are an extremely affordable accessory. Don't go overboard, but put a few in really nice containers, and they will look great.

Buy a bargain coffee table book about Hawaii, or drink recipes, and use it as an accessory.

I don't want to sound like a stick in the mud, but I wouldn't get too themed, if you know what I mean. Unless you want your friends to know instantly that your house is decorated in martini glasses and Tiki.

Tiki and martini's together is very different, and they are sort of on the opposite end of one another. I would be very subtle about it, and just have a nice tropical vibe going, or a cool, sleek, modern feel to support the martini theme. Too many different prints or ideas, and the place starts looking hodgepodge.

It's your place, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I am sure it will be festive and fun. :)
posted by LoriFLA at 9:42 AM on July 7, 2006

Pottery Barn Teen has some neat stuff - keep an eye on their sale section cuz it's expensive before markdowns.
posted by radioamy at 12:50 AM on July 9, 2006

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