How to Decorate a Tray on Coffee Table

Decorating a tray that goes on your living room coffee table is a great way to add some style and personality to your space. When guests come over, the first thing they often notice is what is sitting on your coffee table. With the right layout and accessories, you can transform this surface into a beautiful focal point that reflects your tastes.

How to Decorate a Tray on Coffee Table

In this post, I will share some of my favorite ideas and tips for how to decorate a tray on coffee table. By following a few simple styling tricks, you can quickly pull together a display that looks professionally curated and adds visual interest and warmth to your living room.

9 Best Ways on How to Decorate a Tray on Coffee Table

1. Incorporate a Natural Element:

Bringing in something from nature instantly adds warmth and texture to your coffee table display. Consider adding a small potted plant, a bowl of fresh fruit, or even some branches or twigs in a tall vase.

This will also add a pop of color and freshness to your tray. If you prefer a more minimalistic look, try using a few small succulents or air plants. This is one of the easiest ways to add a natural element to your tray.

2. Group Items in Threes:

Grouping items in odd numbers, specifically three, creates a visually appealing and balanced display. This is especially true when decorating trays on coffee tables because it adds height and dimension.

Try grouping a stack of books, a vase with flowers, and a small figurine or candle. This will add interest and variety to your tray display.

3. Mix Textures:

One of the keys to creating a visually appealing tray is mixing textures. Consider pairing a smooth ceramic vase with a rough natural wood object, or adding in some woven elements like wicker or rattan.

This will add depth and visual interest to your display and make it feel more curated and intentional. Mixing textures also adds warmth to your tray display.

Consider Pairing a Smooth Ceramic Vase

4. Add Personal Touches:

A great way to make your tray display unique and personal is by incorporating items that have meaning to you. This could be a small framed photo, a trinket from a special trip, or even a sentimental piece of jewelry. Not only does this add personality to your coffee table, but it also sparks conversation with guests. Adding personal touches also helps create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

5. Use Different Heights:

When decorating a tray on the coffee table, it’s important to vary the heights of your objects. This creates visual interest and prevents your display from looking flat or one-dimensional. Consider using items such as books, candles, or small sculptures to add different levels to your tray.

This will make your display look more dynamic and curated. This is especially important if you have a large tray that needs to be filled.

6. Stick to a Color Scheme:

To create a cohesive and polished look, try sticking to a color scheme when decorating your tray. This doesn’t mean everything has to match perfectly, but using complementary colors or shades can tie your display together and make it look more intentional. Consider using different shades of the same color or adding in pops of a complementary color to add interest and depth.

Using a Mirror to Your Tray Display

7. Use Mirrors:

Using a mirror to your tray display is another great way to create visual interest and make your space look larger. This is especially helpful if you have a smaller living room or coffee table. The reflection from the mirror will add depth and dimension, making your display look more expansive.

This is also a great way to reflect natural light and brighten up your space. Using a mirrored tray is also an option if you don’t want to add another item to your display.

8. Layer with a Runner or Placemat:

To add some texture and pattern, consider layering a table runner or placemat on top of your coffee table tray. This adds visual interest and depth to your display. You can use a neutral runner for a subtle look or choose a bold pattern to add some drama. This is also a great option if your tray is on the smaller side and needs some extra surface area filled.

9. Utilize Different Shapes:

When curating your tray display, consider using objects of different shapes and sizes. This will create a visually appealing contrast and prevent the display from looking too symmetrical or boring. For example, you could pair a round vase with a stack of books and a square candle. This will add dimension and make your display more interesting to look at.

Following these tips and ideas, you can easily create a beautiful and unique tray display on your coffee table. Remember to mix textures, use different heights, and incorporate personal touches to make it reflect your style and personality.

Using Objects of Different Shapes and Sizes

Have fun experimenting with different elements until you find the perfect combination for your living room!  So go ahead, get creative, and decorate your coffee table tray like a pro! 

Additional Tips and Tricks to Decorate a Tray on a Coffee Table:

  1. If you want to add a touch of nature to your tray, consider incorporating some natural elements such as small potted plants, flowers, or dried branches. This will not only add a pop of color but also create an organic and fresh look.
  2. Another way to personalize your tray is by adding meaningful decorative items such as family photos, sentimental trinkets, or even books that hold special meaning to you. This will not only make your tray unique but also serve as a conversation starter for guests.
  3. To add some texture and depth, layer different items on your tray. For example, place a small stack of books or a decorative box on top of a flat surface, then arrange smaller objects around it such as candles or figurines.
  4. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different materials and patterns. Combining items made of different materials such as wood, metal, or glass, can add visual interest and create a dynamic look.
  5. Utilize the space on your tray by incorporating functional items such as coasters, small plates for snacks or drinks, or even a small tray for holding remote controls. This will not only make your tray look practical but also serve a purpose.
  6. Consider the overall theme or style of your living room and incorporate it into your tray decor. For example, if you have a modern and minimalist living room, opt for sleek and simple items on your tray. If you have a bohemian or eclectic style, mix and match different patterns and textures.
  7. Don’t forget about the sides of your tray! Add some detail by attaching a decorative ribbon or twine around the edges, or even adding a layer of paint or patterned contact paper to the bottom.
  8. Keep in mind that less is often more when it comes to decorating a coffee table tray. Avoid cluttering it with too many items and instead, focus on creating a balanced and visually appealing arrangement.
  9. Use the tray as an opportunity to showcase your creativity and DIY skills. You can add a personal touch by creating your decorative items, such as painted wooden coasters, handmade candles, or a custom serving tray.
  10. Don’t limit yourself to only using traditional trays. Get creative and think outside the box by using items such as vintage suitcases, wooden crates, or even an old window frame as a unique and functional tray for your coffee table.
  11. Consider the height of your objects when arranging them on the tray. Varying heights can add interest and create a more dynamic display.
Using Traditional Trays

Following these additional tips and tricks will help you take your coffee table tray to the next level.

With a little bit of creativity and attention to detail, you can create a beautiful and personalized centerpiece for your living room that will impress your guests and make your space feel more inviting.  So, have fun experimenting with different ideas and styles, and make your coffee table tray truly stand out. Happy decorating! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Decorate a Tray on a Coffee Table?

Decorating a tray on your coffee table can add style and personality to your living space. It also serves as a functional piece, allowing you to easily move items around the room while keeping them organized on the tray. Plus, it’s a simple and affordable way to update your home decor without having to make major changes.

What Items Can I Put on a Decorative Tray?

The possibilities are endless! Some popular items to put on a coffee table tray include candles, books, coasters, vases, small plants or succulents, decorative bowls or jars, and even personal items like photos or trinkets. You can also change up the items seasonally to keep your home decor fresh and updated.

How Do I Choose a Tray?

When choosing a tray for your coffee table, consider the style and color of your living space. A neutral-colored tray with clean lines is versatile and can easily blend in with any decor.

Consider the Style and Color

For a more bold and statement piece, choose a tray with a unique shape or pattern that adds visual interest to the space. Additionally, consider the size of your coffee table and how much surface area you want the tray to cover.

How Do I Arrange Items on the Tray?

There’s no set rule for arranging items on a decorative tray, but there are some tips that can help create a visually appealing display. Start by placing larger items, like a vase or candle, in the center of the tray and then layer smaller items around it.

Use varying heights to add dimension and balance, and try to create a mix of textures and shapes for visual interest. Don’t be afraid to play around with different arrangements until you find one that you love.


All in all, knowing how to decorate a tray on coffee table can elevate your living space and add a personal touch to your home decor. With these tips and ideas, you can create a functional and stylish display that is sure to impress your guests. So go ahead and get creative with your coffee table tray!  Remember, the possibilities are endless.  Happy decorating! 

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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