New Year backdrop ideas for photos and celebrations – 11 ways to set the scene

Get guests in the party mood with these fun New Year backdrop ideas for photos and celebrations

New Year backdrop ideas for photos and celebrations
(Image credit: Future / Rockett St George)

If you're planning to host a New Year's Eve party this year then now's the time to think about party themes and New Year backdrop ideas for photos and celebrations.

Photo backdrops are fast becoming a party must-have. Not only do they bring a sense of fun to gatherings and put guests at ease, but they also make wonderful wall decor for setting the scene, plus, in the age of Instagram and TikTok, they are a brilliant way to make your holiday snaps stand out on social media.

'Backdrops are one of the easiest but most effective party decorations, not only are they affordable but they will fit into almost any space no matter what size,' says Jess Martin, decoration expert at Ginger Ray. 'Capture memories in front of a foil star backdrop, fringe curtain or even a balloon arch which are super simple to put up, but guaranteed to create an Instagrammable moment.'

From festooning doorways with garlands to glitzy curtains, we’ve rounded up an array of photo backdrops for your New Year decor ideas that are guaranteed to make your celebration memorable.

New Year backdrop ideas for photos and celebrations

New year backdrop ideas for photos and celebrations are a wonderful way to bring a sense of fun to seasonal decor and get guests in a party mood. With photo backdrops growing in popularity there are more and more companies offering curtains to buy, alternatively, there are lots of ways to style your own stand-out wall decor – below we share some of our favorites.

1. Hang a ribbon curtain

Ribbon party wall idea

(Image credit: Future)

Get guests in a celebratory mood from the moment they arrive by creating a dazzling display in a hallway. For a fun circus-themed New Year backdrop why not create a ribbon curtain with lengths of colorful ribbons? They are super simple to create and will really make an impact, especially when paired with LED light-up star decorations.

Simply tie lengths of ribbon along a piece of string and hang from a height in the stairwell. You can tie it to a banister or, if there isn't anything to attach it to, you could try using command hooks attached to the wall.

2. Style up a wall with pin wheel decorations

Fan decorations, gold bar on wheels

(Image credit: Rockett St George)

Styling up an empty corner with pinwheels is a quick and easy way to create a backdrop for photos, but it can also be a fun way to make a focal point of a home bar or bar cart drinks station. 

For best results use a selection of sizes, shapes and colors and stagger diagonally. The great thing about these paper decorations is that they are lightweight so can easily be hung anywhere. If you have wooden paneling then they could be pinned with drawing pins, alternatively, you could use masking tape or command hooks from Amazon. Do not use blue tak as you may risk the paint chipping from the wall.

'Our go-to decoration to instantly transform your home into a party paradise is paper decorations. From stars to pinwheels and paper honeycomb balls, these decorations can be taped to the wall or stacked on the floor next to your drinks cart, sofa or mantelpiece,' says Lucy St George, co-founder of Rockett St George

'You can't go wrong with gold, which catches the light in any photo and looks great against both white and monochrome. In addition, paper decorations can be stored away and brought back out to create a showstopping background for any other celebrations throughout the year!' 

3. Create a beautiful floral arrangement on a stairway

Floral stair garland

(Image credit: Future)

A hallway is a good place for creating a show-stopping photo backdrop if you want to snap guests looking their best on arrival. For a pretty and elegant backdrop for decor idea you can't go wrong with a fabulous floral arrangement or garland. 

 'The most important considerations when adding flowers to an entryway are scale and proportion,' says florist Ronny Colbie. 'If the flowers are small and delicate, arrange them so that they don’t get lost in a large setting, and vice versa – I always believe that less is more for the best impact for a floral statement. Don’t have too many mixes of florals, but plenty of the same style.'

4. Let there be light

String lights used to decorate the wall of a stairway

(Image credit: Future)

For a quick and simple photo backdrop or Christmas wall decor idea opt for classic curtain fairy lights. They are perfect for creating a magical, welcoming feel in a hallway without being over the top but would equally work well in a dining room or living room. For similar try Lights4fun

5. Hang a twinkling star curtain

Gold star curtain photo backdrop

(Image credit: Ginger ray)

With photo backdrops growing in popularity there are more and more party companies offering ready-made curtains to transform your space. This foil star garland from Ginger Ray is perfect for a celestial theme and looks particularly effective hung on dark walls.  

6. Make a rustic backdrop with foliage and orange

Hanging oranges and leaves from branch, fairy lights

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

If you love the country look try stringing up eucalyptus, dried orange and pine cone decorations to create a DIY photo backdrop with a rustic feel. To create this first cut lengths of garden twine to your desired lengths and gather together your foliage sprigs and decorations. To ensure the decorations stay in place and don't slip down once hung, use smaller bits of twine or floristry wire to individually attach your embellishments at different intervals. Next, tie each of these DIY garlands to a cane and suspend the whole piece from the wall. 

7. Switch your everyday curtains 

Black curtain with gold embroidered stars Rockett St George

(Image credit: Rockett St George)

Switching up your curtains for beautifully decorated designs is an ingenious way to make a festive photo backdrop. After all, many people switch their light summer curtains for heavier, lined curtains in winter to give their home that cozy feel, so why not switch them up for special occasions, too? These fabulous star-embroidered designs from Rockett St George would create a fitting photo backdrop for a celestial theme New Year's Eve party.

8. Decorate a doorway

Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: Future / Jan Baldwin)

Decorating a doorway with a fresh garland makes a beautiful framing device for a festive photoshoot. The beauty of fresh garlands is that they are wonderfully versatile, as they can be used anywhere throughout the home and as part of all sorts of decor themes, plus the foliage should last from Christmas right through to New Year. 

9. Hang paper garlands and giant balloons

Bar cart ideas with decorations

(Image credit: Future)

Balloons are a failsafe way to create a party feel, plus the great thing about helium-filled balloons is that they are a styling piece that doesn't require sticking or attaching things to the wall which could cause damage. However, paper garlands are a far more sustainable option. When it comes to colors you can't go wrong with metallics say the team at Talking tables. 

'We love going all out for New Year’s Eve celebrations, as it’s a day filled with excitement and surrounded by loved ones. Gold is a classic theme for the evening, whether hosting a party or an intimate dinner, so we love to add this into the scheme with new years garlands, napkins and individual number candles adorning cakes.' 

'Adding a bright secondary color palette to the gold always works beautifully – we love the current trend for marble and ombre, or the bright maximalist theme which is so much fun.'

10. Choose a beautiful dining room wallpaper 

Traditional dining room at New Year with blue and gold wallpaper from Juliet Travers

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

Dining room wallpaper ideas are a wonderful way to bring color, personality and a sense of occasion to entertaining spaces, depending on the pattern you choose they can make spaces feel grand or cozy and intimate. However, they also make a great backdrop for taking photos, too. 

'For a great photo backdrop, the starting point should always be warm tones, to prevent looking cold and washed out,' says Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin. 'You also want to aim to add interest without distracting – wallpapers can be perfect for this. Finally, frame the area with a sculptural table or floor lamp to one side. This will add perspective, avoiding the appearance of floating in mid-air, but also omitting a soft, warming glow once the sun has dropped.'

What can I use as a photo backdrop for a party?

There are lots of ways to create New Year backdrop ideas for photos and celebrations, from premade garland curtains available at party decoration stores to versatile and subtle curtain fairy lights. For a quick and easy solution, try styling up a wall with paper garlands or pinwheel decorations, not only are these lightweight and easy to hang and handle, they can be easily recycled, too.

'We believe it’s important to be as sustainable as possible when choosing products for celebrations. Making use of paper decorations that can be recycled, such as crackers and wall fans, or opting for long-lasting glass elements like candle holders and bud vases of flowers, are all great guilt-free ways to make a statement that your guests will remember,' say the team at Talking Tables.

Pippa Blenkinsop

Pippa is a contributor to Homes & Gardens. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.