decoration ideas for high school prom

All around the United States, students and their parents are planning for one of the biggest nights of the year: Prom night! While prom attendees are excited for their big day, their wallets may not be. According to US Financial Education the average prom student and their parents will spend around $1,139. This cost includes attire, transportation, beauty, and the ticket itself.

Schools and student groups are taking note on the costs incurred. Many are looking for ways to cut the cost of tickets by planning a more frugal event. Turning towards the trend of DIY prom decorations, organizers are now primed to keep the costs low. Here’s a list of our favorite DIY prom decor ideas of 2014:

5 DIY Prom Decor Ideas:

Paper Goes a Long Way

Paper décor is all the rage today in the events world. And it’s easy to see why! Paper items cost significantly less than their alternatives, and they allow for easy and low-stress cleanup. From pendants to hanging paper balls to streamer backgrounds, the possibilities are endless depending on how much time and energy your group wants to put into designing.

Our favorite examples of low-time commitment paper decorations are paper lanterns. Paper lanterns are sold in a variety of sizes and colors and can be customized with some paint and stencils. They can be strung to the ceiling, set along the walkways, or placed on tables as centerpieces. Plus, they look fabulous uplit against or complementing colorful lights.

Paper lanterns are an inexpensive way to transform a plain room into a colorful, dreamlike venue. For inspiration, take a look at this awesome example picture. In particular, check out the ceiling, where purple lanterns on purple lights are used to highlight the dance floor.

Purple Lantern Uplighting

Centerpieces that Center on You

Replace your traditional centerpieces with crafty alternatives that save bundles and can be reused for later. Vibrant or metallic picture frames with pictures of the attendees can fill the tables with both memories and fun conversation starters. Ask parents to contribute grade school photos for even more of a blast from the past and a fun “guess the kid” game for students to play during dinner.

Giant, cardboard letters from craft stores can be transformed into gorgeous centerpieces with a bit of glitter paint, colorful string, or paint. For an even more interesting twist, provide each student with a letter (possibly their name or their school’s initials) and some pens. Throughout the night, they can have their friends sign it and take it home as a sweet memory.

Tap Into Talented Parents

Your parents, teachers, and students themselves can be a huge resource to tap in to! Whether you are asking a parent to provide desserts for the night or take over making ticket designs, reach out to your community when it comes to DIY prom projects.

With limited talent, you can have eager parents or PTA groups spend a day crafting projects like old school, vintage banners or pendants that are totally on trend. Have a talented parent with a sewing machine and some time? Save on future proms with homemade tablecloths and linen napkins that can be washed and reused for the future.

Favorite Favors

The traditional prom favor is a fun way to send the attendees home with a token memento of their big, once-in-a-lifetime event. Gifting students doesn’t have to break the bank or mean sacrificing elsewhere. Food items like popcorn, candies, or cookies can easily fit into the theme and will be instant crowd favorites throughout the night.

Finding gifts that can double in other DIY prom projects can save big bucks. Take those picture frames suggested for the centerpieces? Gifting those to students at the end of the night saves room on the tables and prevents having to double up on items. Thinking of going the prop route for your photos? Monogrammed plastic sunglasses with the graduation year or year of the prom make fun dance floor and photo booth accessories that can keep.

Transforming themes

Thinking of making cuts to your venue in order to save some dough? DIY prom decorations can give an entire facelift to any school gym or local ballroom.

We, of course, recommend starting with wall wash lighting. Having an “under the sea” theme? Use our blue LED lighting to inject color on plain walls and ceilings (no matter the height!). Mixing inexpensive fabrics with the lights, like this picture from our customer Jacky, gives a luxurious feeling to the decor, no matter the location. Her winter themed prom was achieved with just a few blue lights, ample fabrics on both the walls and ceilings, and a gorgeous DIY bridge in the entryway.

Wall Wash Blue Lighting For Prom

With DIY Prom Decor, the Sky's the Limit

Deciding to go the DIY prom route can be intimidating at first, but with student groups and prom organizers taking note of the rising price of event planning, frugal ideas are everywhere. We recommend heading over to Pinterest or craft sites like Etsy to find inspiration boards and step by step guides on projects.

When on a DIY mission, your only limits are what you can produce before the big day arrives. But with a bit of advanced planning and a ton of creativity, your group’s skills can go a long way with your prom decor.

Ready to reserve lighting for your high school prom?