How To Decorate A Tray For A Coffee Table: 15 Stunning Ideas

Are you tired of your coffee table looking dull and lifeless? Do you want to add some personality and style to your living room? A simple solution is to decorate a tray for your coffee table. A tray can be a great focal point and can tie together the elements of your coffee table. In this article, we’ll show you how to decorate a tray for a coffee table to elevate your living room decor.

Why Decorate Your Coffee Table Tray?

Coral Hoyt sharing her favorite tray decoration ideas

Trays are a versatile and practical addition to coffee table décor. They can be used to organize and display items like books, candles, and decorative objects. A well-decorated tray can add style and personality to your living room.

The significance of coffee table trays in home décor

Coffee table trays have become a staple in home décor for many reasons. They offer a practical solution to organizing items on your coffee table while also adding a stylish touch. Trays come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, making them a versatile addition to any room. They can be used to display vases, and figurines or to hold everyday items like coasters, remote controls, and magazines.

By selecting a tray that complements your coffee table and other décor items, you can tie the room together and create a cohesive design scheme.

Benefits of decorating a tray

First and foremost, it can help you organize items on your coffee table. By grouping items on a tray, you can keep them in one place and reduce clutter. This can make it easier to find what you need and keep your living room looking neat and tidy.

In addition to organization, decorating a tray can also add style and personality to your living room. By selecting items that complement your décor and arranging them in an aesthetically pleasing way, you can create a focal point that draws the eye and adds visual interest to the room.

Finally, decorating a tray can also add functionality to your coffee table. By selecting items that serve a purpose, like coasters or a decorative bowl to hold keys, you can make your living room more functional and user-friendly.

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05/05/2024 10:43 am GMT

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How to Choose the Right Tray

When it comes to decorating a tray for your coffee table, selecting the right tray is crucial. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right tray:

Size considerations

The size of your tray should be proportional to the size of your coffee table. A small tray on a large coffee table can look lost and insignificant, while a large tray on a small coffee table can be overwhelming and take up too much space. Consider the size of your coffee table and choose a tray that fits accordingly.

Wodden Tray with a plant on a light coffee table with textil
IG: clairegarnerinteriors

Shape Selection

The shape of your tray can also impact the overall look and feel of your coffee table. A round tray can soften the lines of a square or rectangular coffee table, while a square or rectangular tray can add structure and balance. Modern trays can add a contemporary touch, while vintage trays can add a sense of nostalgia and charm.

Unique Hexagon Coffee Table Tray on a glass coffee table
IG: herethereandhome
Round coffee table with a round tray made from wood with vases
IG: cinspiredbys

Material Considerations

The material of your tray can have a significant impact on the overall aesthetic of your coffee table. A wooden tray can add warmth and texture, while a metal tray can add a modern and sleek touch. A glass tray can add a touch of elegance and sophistication. Consider the style of your room and choose a tray that complements it.

Basic Principles of Tray Decorating

There are a few basic principles you should keep in mind when you decorate a tray for a coffee table. The goal should be to create a visually appealing and cohesive display that complements your room’s décor.

1. Balance

One of the most important principles of tray decorating is balance. You want to ensure that the items you choose for your tray are proportionate to each other and the tray itself. This means that you should choose items that are similar in size and scale, and arrange them in a way that feels balanced and visually appealing.

For example, if you choose a large vase as your focal point, you may want to balance it out with smaller items such as candles or a stack of books. Alternatively, if you choose a small tray, you may want to choose smaller items that won’t overwhelm the tray.

2. Texture and layering

Another important principle of tray decorating is texture and layering. By mixing different textures and layers, you can create a visually interesting display that adds depth and dimension to your coffee table.

For example, you might choose a mix of items such as a textured vase, a smooth marble sculpture, and a woven basket. By layering these items together on your tray, you can create a visually interesting display that draws the eye.

3. Color palette

Finally, when decorating a tray for your coffee table, it’s important to consider the color palette. You want to choose items that complement the room’s décor and create a cohesive look.

For example, if your room has a neutral color palette, you might choose items in shades of white, beige, and gray. Alternatively, if you want to add a pop of color, you might choose items in a complementary color such as blue or green.

Functional Elements

When decorating your coffee table tray, it’s important to consider both aesthetic appeal and functionality. Here are a few functional elements to consider:

4. Coasters

Coasters are a practical addition to any coffee table tray. They protect your furniture from water rings and spills, and they can add a pop of color or texture to your tray. Consider using coasters made of materials like cork, marble, or woven fabric for added visual interest.

5. Remote controls

If you have a TV or other electronics in your living room, remote controls are a must-have item. Sadly, they can be an eyesore if left out on your coffee table. Consider using a small decorative box or tray to corral your remote controls and keep them organized.

6. Candles or candle holders

Candles or candle holders can add both ambiance and functionality to your coffee table tray. They can provide a soft glow and pleasant scent to your living room, and they can also be used to add height and visual interest to your tray. Consider using candles in complementary colors or scents to tie your tray together.

Decorative Items

When it comes to decorating a tray for a coffee table, the decorative items you choose can make all the difference. Here are some ideas for items that will add interest and style to your tray:

7. Small plants or succulents

Adding a touch of greenery to your tray can bring life and freshness to your coffee table. Small plants or succulents are perfect for this purpose, as they don’t take up too much space and are easy to care for. Consider using a variety of plants in different shapes and sizes to create a visually interesting display.

8. Decorative books or magazines

Books and magazines can add color and texture to your tray, as well as provide some entertainment for your guests. Choose books with interesting covers or titles, or magazines with eye-catching images. Stack them in different configurations to create height and interest.

9. Small sculptures or trinkets

Small sculptures or trinkets can add a personal touch to your coffee table tray. Choose items that reflect your personality or interests, or that have sentimental value. They can be made of any material, from metal to wood to glass, as long as they fit the overall style of your tray.

Arranging Items on the Tray

When you’re looking to decorate a tray for a coffee table, it’s not just about what you put on it, but also how you lay it all out. Think of it like setting up a mini stage in your living room! To help you get it just right, here are some handy tips for arranging everything in a way that’s easy on the eyes:

10. Symmetrical

If you prefer a more formal and structured look, consider arranging your items symmetrically. Place identical items on opposite sides of the tray to create a sense of balance and harmony. This works particularly well for trays with a simple design or for more formal occasions.

11. Asymmetrical

For a more relaxed and dynamic look, arrange your items asymmetrically. This means placing items in an irregular pattern that feels natural and effortless. This works particularly well for trays with a more eclectic or bohemian design.

💡Protip

Thematic arrangements

Finally, consider creating a theme for your tray based on the decor in your room. For example, if you have a beachy or coastal theme in your living room, add some seashells and sand to your tray. If you have a rustic or vintage theme, add some antique books or vintage items to your tray. This will tie your tray into the overall decor of the room and create a cohesive look.

Seasonal Tray Decoration Ideas

When you want to decorate a tray for a coffee table, embracing seasonal themes is a fantastic approach. Such themes not only add a touch of festivity but also bring warmth to your living space.

12. Spring Themes

Spring is the season of rebirth, growth, and fresh beginnings.
Here are some ideas to bring this energy into your tray decoration:

  • Use a pastel-colored tray to create a soft and airy display. Fill it with fresh flowers, like tulips or daffodils, and a few decorative eggs for an Easter-inspired centerpiece.
  • Add a touch of greenery to your tray with succulents, ferns, or moss. Pair them with glass jars filled with colorful stones or seashells for a natural and beachy vibe.
  • Use a clear acrylic tray to showcase a colorful collection of macarons, cupcakes, or fruit tarts. This will not only look pretty but also be a delicious treat for your guests.

13. Summer Styles

Summer is the season of sunshine, warmth, and outdoor fun.
Here are some ideas to create a summery vibe on your coffee table:

  • Use a woven basket tray to add a beachy touch to your living space. Fill it with seashells, starfish, and coral for a coastal-inspired display.
  • Add a burst of color to your tray with fresh fruits, like oranges, lemons, or watermelon slices. Pair them with colorful paper straws and cocktail umbrellas for a tropical feel.
  • Use a metal tray to create a backyard barbecue scene. Add mini grilling tools, condiment bottles, and a few burgers or hot dogs for a fun and playful display.

14. Fall Inspirations

Autumn is the season of warm colors, cozy textures, and natural elements. Decorating your coffee table tray isn’t enough for you? How about decorating your coffee table for fall and adding some fall decor to your coffee bar?
Here are some ideas to incorporate these elements into your tray decoration:

  • Fill a wooden tray with pinecones, acorns, and dried leaves for a rustic autumnal look.
  • Use a copper tray to add warmth and shine to your coffee table. Fill it with candles, pumpkins, and gourds for a harvest-inspired centerpiece.
  • Add a pop of color to your tray with fall flowers, such as sunflowers, mums, or dahlias. Pair them with seasonal fruits, like apples or pears, for a fresh and vibrant display.

15. Winter Wonders

Winter is the season of sparkle, snow, and all things cozy.
Here are some ideas to create a winter wonderland on your coffee table:

  • Use a mirrored tray to reflect the twinkling lights of your Christmas tree. Add ornaments, snowflakes, and faux snow for a magical display.
  • Create a hot cocoa station on your tray by filling it with mugs, cocoa mixes, marshmallows, and candy canes. This will not only look cute but also be functional for your guests.
  • Use white and silver accents on your tray to create a frosty winter scene. Add a mini evergreen tree, a glittery deer, and some pinecones for a woodland touch.

What to Keep in Mind

Remember to choose a tray that complements your coffee table and the overall style of your room when you aim to decorate a tray for a coffee table. Experiment with different shapes, sizes, and textures to create a visually interesting composition. Use a mix of decorative and functional items, such as candles, books, and coasters, to make the tray both beautiful and useful.

Don’t be afraid to play with colors and patterns to create a unique and personalized look. Use bold accents sparingly to avoid overwhelming the space, and balance them out with neutral elements for a cohesive and harmonious design.

How I Design My Coffee Table Tray

Now that we’ve gone through many ideas for decorating a coffee table tray, we can move on to implementation. Personally, I am a fan of minimalist and natural design. This means: I prefer using a coffee table tray made of natural wood. Since I lean towards the minimalist look, my tray mainly contains functional items like 1-2 candles, books I’m currently reading, or coasters when I want to enjoy a coffee or tea.

Feel free to experiment yourself and be creative in decorating your coffee table tray. Please share your ideas and other must-haves in the comments below. I’m always excited about new inspirations!


FAQ – Decorate a Tray for a Coffee Table

How do you style a coffee table tray?

To style a coffee table tray, start by selecting a tray that complements the style of your coffee table. Then, add a mix of decorative objects, such as candles, books, vases, and small sculptures. Make sure to vary the height and texture of your objects to add visual interest. You can also incorporate natural elements, like plants or flowers, to bring life to your tray.

How to decorate small coffee table tray?

When decorating a small coffee table tray, it’s important to keep things simple and minimalistic. Choose a small tray that fits comfortably on your coffee table without overwhelming the space. Then, select a few small decorative objects, such as a small vase or a candle, to add visual interest. You can also incorporate a small plant or flower arrangement to add a touch of freshness. Remember, less is often more when it comes to decorating a small coffee table tray.

Why use a tray on coffee table?

Using a tray on a coffee table serves both a functional and decorative purpose. Functionally, a tray helps keep your coffee table organized by providing a designated space for decorative objects. It also makes it easier to clean your coffee table by allowing you to remove and clean the tray separately. Decoratively, a tray adds an extra layer of style to your coffee table by creating a focal point and adding visual interest.

What goes on a tray on a coffee table?

What goes on a tray on a coffee table depends on your personal taste and style. However, some common decorative objects that you can use include candles, books, vases, small sculptures, and natural elements like plants or flowers. When selecting objects, make sure to vary the height and texture to add visual interest.


If you liked our ideas about how to decorate a tray for a coffee table, don’t forget to leave us a comment down below to tell us about your experience with it.

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Wadim Urbanowitsch

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