Balloons are one of the most inexpensive ways to dress up a dinner table, and they can be spectacular even without the helium. Why do we save them for birthdays? Let's decorate for a random Friday night. All these looks require is some balloons, your own lungs, a little string, and, in one case, LED votive candles. And none have to look like they were created for a four-year-old. Buy balloons in sophisticated colors that match your tablecloth or dining room decor, and you've got something pretty showstopping that costs way less than flowers.
• 1. Ombre Balloons, from Little Green Notebook.
• 2. Upside-Down Balloons, from The Pleated Poppy.
• 3. Blob Votives, from Family Chic.
Related: Balloon Bowls from Good Eats
(Images: Jenny Komenda; Lindsey Cheney; Camilla Fabbri)