When I say “bunting,” what comes to mind? Brilliant flags waving cheerily in the breeze during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee… or a used car lot? In the UK, strands of colorful pennants and flags mark almost every street party and event (especially Royal). Yet, in the US, the use of bunting as an inexpensive and extremely effective decoration has only in recent years begun to catch on beyond Grand Openings for retail stores and traveling carnivals.
According to Portobello Tents (providers of stylish, luxurious and ethically sourced canvas camps at festivals, weddings, parties and events across the UK and beyond), “the word “bunting” originally referred to a specific type of woolen fabric that was used for making ribbon and flags at the beginning of the 17th century, including signal flags for the Royal Navy.”
Bunting has come a long way since then!
A burst of colorful flags is a festive and welcoming addition to party décor. Traditionally used at an English summer garden party or fete, there are endless quirky and imaginative ways to use bunting.
- Rustic, outdoor weddings
- Bridal and baby showers
- Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations
- Themed parties such as a Hawaiian Luau
- Patriotic events and parades
Bunting can also be displayed in many ways. One of the most dramatic is stringing bunting across streets in a charming zig zag pattern. However, adorning a pergola or gazebo, festooning an arch or window, and embellishing a tent are also delightful uses.
Types of Bunting
There are many options when it comes to bunting (in the US, this term may be interchangeable with garlands, banners, or pennants). A few include:
- Fabric (glazed or unglazed)
And don’t be afraid to think outside the box (or banner, as the case may be). Try:
- Wood cutouts
- “Rag strips”
- Pom Poms
- Crocheted pieces (my daughter made Christmas trees during the holidays)
- Vintage handkerchiefs
- Book pages
- Sheet music
Some of my favorite go-to shops for pretty bunting include The Cotton Bunting Company and The Flag and Banner Company (this is an American company, so search “string pennants”), and of course, Etsy, which offers a mind boggling array of options.
You can even make your own bunting if you are a clever seamstress, or just handy with a pair of pinking shears.
Incorporating Bunting to Everyday Décor
Bunting is great for special occasions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have it out on display all year round. Here are a few ideas to get your started:
- Use on an outdoor shed or summer house for a cute English garden look
- Coordinate with your child’s bedroom theme
- Dress open shelving or hutch
- Wake up your windows
- Embellish an armoire
- “Micro bunting” for cakes, cupcakes, flower arrangements and tablescapes
- Substitute bunting for a garland on a Christmas tree
For more great bunting ideas, please visit Susan Said… WHAT?! on Pinterest.
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Susan Said…WHAT?! was named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone and is your guide to a life filled with style. Inside, you’ll find everything from must-have fashion and accessories, to gorgeous gardens, stunning interiors, plus the latest products for parties, weddings, and events of all kinds. In addition to editing Susan Said… WHAT?!, Susan Conforte McNeill is an author, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!