The spirit of the Old West conjures romantic fantasies of adventure and the struggle for independence. Constant jockeying between lawless forces and rugged moral crusaders in the midst of untamed wilderness has captivated the human psyche with a uniquely American flavor.

The outlandish characters and stylized accouterments that characterize one of the more colorful chapters of United States history are as alive today in our collective imagination as ever, because who doesn't love donning a fancy pair of boots and getting lost in the words of a crooning cowboy? But we digress.   

Saddle up for some good, ol’ fashioned country western fun by styling your next shindig with decorations that channel the magic of the western wilderness. Rae Lynn has developed three country western theme party decorating ideas that incorporate different motifs of Southwestern American life across the wide Missouri. 

My suggested motifs include icons that can be included on invitations, decorations, wall art, and supplies that support the overall theme.   



     In this photo from PartySwizzle.com:

  • Simulated Rusty Barbed Wire
  • Bandana Pennants
  • "XXX" Moonshine Jug
  • Refillable Rifle Lighter
  • Shotgun Shell String Lights
  • Mason Jar String Lights
  • Bandana Beverage Napkins
  • Texas State Flag Toothpicks
  • Shotgun Shell Salt & Pepper Shakers
  • Metal Oil Rig Centerpiece
  • Mini Cowboy Boot Pair Vase

Cowboy Country 

From gentleman rancher to hard-drinking heartbreaker, the cowboy represents the quintessential American hero in all his multi-faceted complexity. The “land of opportunity” certainly makes room for equally independent cowgirls who take the reins just as competently as anyone else. 

Celebrate the industrious spirit by inviting your guests to dress in character, and decorate the party area with Old West artifacts.   

Motifs: Cowboy hats, lassos, boots, spurs, bandanas, horses, cows, flowers, barbed wire



     In this photo from PartySwizzle.com:

  • Plastic Red Gingham Tablecover
  • Wood Outhouse Birdhouse (2)
  • BBQ Pig Salt & Pepper Shakers
  • Tractor & Hay Salt & Pepper
  • Cast Iron Barn Star Napkin Rings
  • Mini Cowboy Boot Pair Vase
  • Weathered Oval Planter
  • Metallic Western Confetti
  • Front Door
    • Make the company feel at home by hanging up a hat and lasso on the front door. 
    • Drape colored or strand lights like Cowboy Boots String Lights over the door to light up the night.
  • Front Porch 
    • Plant petunias, chrysanthemums, or other attractively colorful flowers in a Weathered Oval Planter for a perty little porch display to further enhance the ambiance. 
    • Place an American Flag Yard Stake beside the driveway or anchored in stacked hay bales by the front door.
  • Foyer
    • Spice up the Southwestern theme by hanging chili pepper Ristras on each side of the doorway in the foyer. 
    • A pair of abandoned boots and spurs encircled by a coil of Simulated Rusty Barbed Wire Garland on the floor or table near the entrance will really set the tone. 
    • Opt for old-fashioned candy or gourmet popcorn party favors set in rustic and personalized Mason jars for a memorable keepsake.
  • Party Area
    • Decorate party areas with Western-themed riding gear like fancy spurs and horse shoe-themed decorations (Hint: horseshoe coasters are quite attractive!) 
    • An American Flag Vintage Tealight Lantern or Mini Lantern Candle Holders will add mood lighting and lighten the mood. 
    • A single flower set in cute Mini Cowboy Boot Pair Vases set atop bookshelves and side tables makes an understated and attractive theme decoration. 
    • If you’ve got an outdoor set-up, designating an area for a game of Horseshoes is, in this case, apropos.
  • Centerpiece and Table Setting 
    • Cover your dinner or serving tables in white tablecloths with a red gingham table runner, or spread out two bandanas on top of each other in an alternating diamond configuration. Arrange them so that the bright “key” color is on top and the supporting neutral is underneath. 
    • Place simple flower arrangement using brightly colored varieties such as sunflowers or Black-eyed Susans in a 16oz Mason jar vase in the center of the bandanas. If desired, personalize the jars with burlap, ribbon, lace, and/or bandana-print details. 
    • Add an adorable themed set of shakers like the Green Tractor with Hay Bales salt & pepper shakers to elevate the theme of country living. Fancy Cowboy Boots card holders are an exquisite touch for seating designations, buffet dish descriptions, or can serve as photo holders. 
    • 14” Round Gold Chargers will add some country glitz to the plate settings which will contrast nicely with the rugged Cast Iron Dimensional Barn Star Napkin Ring Holders for a nice contrast.
  • Bar
    • Hang Cowboy Boots String Lights from the edge of the bar to illuminate the way to the community watering hole. 
    • Bandanas folded into triangles in alternating color hung behind the lights can add a colorful backdrop. 
    • A liberal sprinkle of Country Western Confetti across the surface will add a little glam to the necessarily clear surface. 
    • Place Red Bandana Napkins at intervals to encourage their use as well as add some visual decoration. 
    • Hang an inspirational American Flag Plaque featuring lines from “America the Beautiful” behind the bar for patriotic reflection in the pause between drinks.
  • Guest Bathroom 
    • Adorning the guest bathroom with as much care as the rest of the party space will impress the guests with your attention to detail. 
    • Add a Metal Saguaro Cactus Votive Holder to the counter or tank, and scatter about some Country Western confetti. 
    • Replace the soap with Saguaro Cactus shaped soap for extra fun, and bring the set together with some Embroidered Southwestern Cactus Hand Towels.
The Looters’ Lair 

Playing on the dynamic between the lawmen and anti-heroes of the Western mystique can always make for a fun time. Luckily in this setting there is no consequence for role-playing a lighthearted thug when it comes to Wild West theme parties. 

A well-designed party will make sure that the strong arm of the law is involved in character only--and whether you opt to hire the dancing variety is completely at your discretion.   

Motifs: trains, guns, money, sheriff, jail house, moonshine, barbed wire, cactus, oil rigs


     
     In this photo from PartySwizzle.com:


  • Red Cloth Bandana
  • Metal Oil Derrick Centerpiece
  • Simulated Rusty Barbed Wire
  • Outhouse Salt & Pepper Shakers
  • Cast Iron Barn Star Napkin Rings
  • Fancy Boots Weight/Photo Holder
  • Jet Black Beverage Napkins
  • Front Door
    • Illuminate the doorway with decorative electric lights to signal that the party is on. 
    • Affix a sign with a Western-themed slogan on the door that incorporates the focus of the theme. 
    • For added fun, designate a “password” on the party invitation to be repeated upon entry so your guests know they’ve arrived at the right hangout.
  • Front Porch 
    • Decorate the porch with prickly potted cacti to evoke the edgy ambiance of the night while staying tasteful. 
    • Add cinder blocks and a sledgehammer out front to play up a jailhouse theme.
  • Foyer
    • Make a big display of imagined “criminal success” by piling up Large Fabric Money “$” Bags and showing off mounds of Shiny Gold Coins in the foyer. 
    • Add in some plastic Large Diamonds or Multi-colored Plastic Gems and Jewels for good measure. 
    • Small “coinpurses” full of chocolate coins or rock candy could be clever party favors to set out here. 
    • Just for fun, make detachable mustaches available to guests as they arrive by displaying them in a “Wanted” poster. 
  • Party Area 
    • Placing LED Old 97 lanterns on shelves and end tables will add atmosphere to this din of thieves, as will hanging shiny Black Ceiling Swirls to develop the shadowy theme. 
    • Bandanas in your theme color draped and folded over surfaces and under votive candles are simple but effective decorations. 
    • Remember that robber barons and gangsters alike built their empires by train, so any toy train figurine is most certainly appropriate. 
    • Pass around sheriff badges just for the irony of it, or play a version of “pin the badge on the sheriff:” have a few guests secretly designated as “undercover sheriffs” and let everyone else try to figure it out as the event goes on. Guests can hand out badges to people they “suspect,” and the identities will be revealed at the end of the party. 
    • Setting up a card table for poker and dice, or breaking out billiards is a classic option for Old West-style entertainment.
  • Centerpiece and Table Setting
    • Decorate party area tables with simple white tablecloths, or Red Gingham Plastic Tablecovers for a classic Western vibe. 
    • Set a Moonshine Jug Vase with a single long-stem rose in the middle of the table atop a black or neutral bandana, and lay out stacks of Shiny Gold Coins. 
    • Arrange four “hands” and the rest of the deck of playing cards around the jug for a fun and interactive centerpiece. 
    • The witty Rustic Outhouse Salt & Pepper set will have your guests giggling with delight. 
    • Set plates under mason jars stuffed with bandana “napkins” and silverware for an all-in-one table setting, including drinking cup.(http://www.pinterest.com/pin/120682464989216078/), 
  • Bar
    • Make up a creative name for your Looters’ Bar and hang a rough, hand-made sign bearing the name on the wall behind the bar. 
    • Fasten Red Shotgun Shells String Lights from the overhanging bar. 
    • Wind the 6-Foot Realistic Large-Link Chain along the length of the bar and hang a holster of toy pistols on the wall for stylistic effect. 
    • Place Red Gingham Beverage Napkins at intervals for more decoration. 
    • We highly recommend serving whiskey and/or rum liquors at this gathering.
  • Guest Bathroom 
    • Don’t forget to decorate the guest bathroom with themed hand towels and soap bars.
    • Decorations like the Metal Oil Derrick Centerpiece and a smattering of  gold coins will be just the right touch in this oft-visited location.
Desert Living 

Of course, the desert landscape of the west is just as captivating as the history that took place in it. The extremes of the climate and subsequent adaptation of the various animal species that call it home offer another realm of decorative possibility.

Motifs: cactus, armadillos, barbed wire, miniature terrarium, wolves, jackrabbits, snakes, weathered wood, skulls/bones



     In this photo from PartySwizzle.com:

  • Metal Saguaro Cactus Candlesticks
  • 13" Metal Armadillo Centerpiece
  • Blooming Cactus Salt & Pepper
  • Driftwood Pieces
  • Southwestern Landscape Napkins
  • Simulated Rusty Barbed Wire
    • Cut into 8 napkin rings
  • Front door
    • Welcome your guests with a powerful symbol of protection by hanging a dreamcatcher on the front door. 
    • Although your excellent party planning skills will keep ward away the possibility for a snooze, the harmony of interwoven threads and natural embellishments will set the tone.
  • Front porch
    • The grotesque beauty of bare bones is a hallmark of desert-themed decorating. Create an arresting display by arranging a cow skull combined with elegant Southwestern-inspired ceramic pots containing cacti or bright florals. 
    • Add another level of awareness of nature by hanging a windchime from the porch roof.
  • Foyer
    • Place a Lifesize Metal Armadillo figurine on the floor or table in the foyer to greet arriving guests. 
    • Small, colorful potted cacti and succulents will add to the natural theme while increasing visual appeal.
  • Party area
    • If you adore desert-themed decor but don’t have an open-air terrarium, use this occasion to investigate them. 
    • Incorporate figurines and graceful silhouettes of of desert creatures like coyotes and jack rabbits to further develop the theme. 
    • Natural displays like unusual rock formations or weathered driftwood also make unique and stunning decorations. 
    • Add to the natural theme by placing a single flower in Mini Cowboy Boot Pair Vases, and incorporating atmospheric lighting in decorative Mini Lantern Candle Holders.
  • Centerpiece
    • Elegant Saguaro Cactus Votive Candlesticks make wonderful centerpieces and are sure to draw remarks from dinner guests. 
    • Add a small 14.5” Metal Armadillo to the scene, set atop real sand or burlap runner on a white table cloth. 
    • If desired, add mini terrariums or potted cacti amidst pieces of drift wood and smooth stones. 
    • We created cactus accents with artificial Prickly Pears in spray-painted floral dry foam. 
    • Or, make your own tumbleweeds, here's how (http://www.ehow.com/how_8533169_make-tumbleweed-prop.html). 
    • Reiterate the desert theme with an adorable Cacti in Terracotta Pots Salt & Pepper Set.
  • Bar
    • Illuminate the bar area with soft candlelight in jewel-toned Mini Lantern Candle Holders. 
    • Decanters of wine and spirits will add a level of elegance to the area without unnecessary clutter. 
    • Choose decorative napkins like the Southwestern Landscape Beverage Napkin to decorate the surface while also serving a purpose.
    • Natural objects or plants placed sparingly atop the bar will further draw out praises for your simply understated yet brilliant design strategy.
  • Guest bathroom
    • Don’t forget to incorporate the cactus theme into bathroom decorations as well.
    • Saguaro Cactus soap and Hand Towels in addition to votive candles and natural objects will add to the overall effect.
Share your tips on Country Western theme party decorating ideas.