Styling a coffee table can be an easy and inexpensive way to add some color and flair to your living or family room.   I like to use a tray to group decorative items on my coffee table; it’s easy to move if I need to use the entire coffee table space for some other purpose, such as placing appetizers, small plates, and napkins while entertaining.   Using a tray also anchors items that might otherwise feel like they’re unbalanced on the table.  I thought I’d share with you some easy tips to style your coffee table using a tray, and I’ve provided you with some examples on a video that I created while switching up my coffee table décor after the holidays.


1.       Place items at varying heights, I like to use high, medium, and low items (see below for groups of 3).   Items at the same height won’t be noticed.

2.       Use a group of 3 items/footprints on your tray, again one being the highest in height, one medium height, and one smallest in height.  Think of 3 distinct “footprints” on the tray, not necessarily just 3 items.  I also like to use books and magazines to give items height.  My video (see below) will give you some more specific examples.

3.      Choose some greenery to place on your tray.  If you don’t have a green thumb, you can use faux greenery; there are some that look very real in the home décor stores.   (Tip:  After cleaning dusty faux plants, you can spray their leaves with Pledge to help reduce dust.)

4.      Choose a tray and decorative items that will coordinate with your coffee table, for example:

a.      White or lighter neutral tables:   take a chance with bright colors such as orange, bright blues, yellow (of course be sure the colors coordinate with your colors in the room)

b.      Darker wood tables:  experiment with metallic and crisp white items

c.      Clear glass tables:  either of the above options, or any colors that coordinate with the room’s decor

5.      View your coffee table decorative items from multiple viewpoints.  Pictures in frames offer only one good viewpoint and are better suited for mantels or shelves.

6.      Try to include functionality in your plan, using decorative containers or baskets that group functional items on your tray, such as eyeglasses, remote controls, etc.

Please watch the video for more info, enjoy!!

Hope these tips for Styling a Coffee Table Tray were helpful to you, and that you enjoyed the video with examples.  These tips can apply for both dwelling in a home, or when staging a home for sale.

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6 thoughts on “Styling a Coffee Table Tray

  • January 8, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    I like them all! But for my lifestyle number 2 was my favorite because of the functionality. Our coffee table is often used to hold items like remotes or iPads!

    • January 8, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      Functionality is definitely something to consider on a coffee table. Glad you liked the looks, thanks for your comment!

  • January 9, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    I love the owl and the orchid combination! Lovely videoJeanne!

  • January 13, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    These are wonderful coffee table tray ideas along with useful tips. This info is timely, following December holidays when I’m removing my colorful Christmas decorations. From your examples in the video: My vote is for the faux white orchid atop magazines, small white candle, and white owl–love his face !

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