Decorating A Coffee Table Tray


Photo by: LizMariaBlog

Not quite sure what to place on your coffee table? In this article you’ll learn how to decorate your coffee table with a tray and see some examples to get your idea wheel in motion.

What do you put on a coffee table tray?

  • Conversational items – pieces that tell a story about you or something of interests. (e.g. personal memento or souvenir)
  • Books – this can be something that is esthetically pleasing by cover design or something visually appealing where your guest is willing to pick it up to skim though the pages.
  • Boxes – decorative boxes
  • Candles – if lit, this can add a nice aroma while still adding style
  • Seasonal decor – Add something that celebrates the seasons and/or holidays.
  • Flowers, plants, or greenery – living up the place with plants enjoy the beauty of nature inside.

Why Do It?

Don’t decorate just to impress guests. Use the valuable space to create your own happy place. Fill it with things that are important to you and bring you joy.

I personally will not add add flowers to my mix just because that’s what I see others doing. I don’t like tending to flowers and much rather decorate my table with succulent plants. I’m a fan of succulents and also know how to maintain and nurture them.

Unless you plan on staging your area in hopes to sell it or if impressing others is your thing then why not add objects or colors that you personally like.

Next time you think about not only decorating your coffee table but your home in general, think of who and why you are doing it for in the first place.

Tips for decorating tray on your coffee table

  • Vary your items in height and textures
  • Start with the tallest object
  • Add linear elements next such as books and boxes
  • Layer some items on top of the flat objects such as a candle or knick knack
  • Use an odd number of objects. Odd numbers force your eyes to move around the grouping–and by extension, the room. That forced movement is the heart of visual interest. It’s for that reason that a set of three is more appealing and memorable than something paired off in two’s

Now that you have your reason why and know a little more on how to choose the items, let’s jump into some examples.

Conversation Items

Is there a trinket you received as a gift or while vacationing that holds meaning to you? What story does it have, what does it mean to you? Can you find a way to decorate with this piece(s)?

Is there something so strange that you love and when others see it that they have to ask questions about? If so, these are just the type of items you should have on your tray so spark up conversation.


When it comes to decorating your coffee table with books, you have plenty of options. The two main points to consider is if you want to add something just for looks or do you want to find a book that is not only appealing by design but also has read worthy content.

I wrote an article of some interesting books that are not only appealing to the eyes but are filled with content you may enjoy knowing. You can view that article here.


Something to think about when styling your coffee table is to keep it uncluttered. An easy way to do this is by adding some sort of storage into your design.

Storage boxes like these are great for remote controls or any charging things and wires you may want near by.

When adding this type of design element to your coffee table, consider it’s other uses as well.


I’m no interior designer but I can pretty much say that adding a candle or two to your coffee table or home decor is kind of must have. Not only is it a great way to infuse mood-setting fragrance into your space, but you can also add a design element as well if you choose a candle that doubles as decor.

Certain smells can bring back memories and for me it is the scent of Jasmin. I grew up around Jasmin in my yard as a child and anytime I smell this scent it gives me fond memories of my youth.

Is there are specific scent that you enjoy or can add to your home to add that extra touch that you personally enjoy? If so, that should be on the table without a doubt.

Seasonal Decor

‘Tis the season. There’s always a time where a theme can come into play for your decoration. Seasonal and holiday themes can be the perfect inspiration for your next coffee tray piece.

Dinning tables and coffee tables with center pieces add so much character to a home and be something you think of when decorating.

I have a friend that it’s Halloween all year around for her and that’s not only because she loves that specific holiday but also because of how much of a fan she is of Tim burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.

If there is a theme or holiday that resonates with you then there no reason why you can’t celebrate when ever you like. It’s your home and you make the rules 😉

Flowers, Plants and Greenery

I know it was mentioned before but I’ll say it again, I do like me some succulents. While tall flowers in designer vases are a beautiful thing and makes for a gorgeous arrangement on any coffee table, I just so happen to enjoy the look and colors of succulents.

While you certainly can add a splash of color and create a focal point in your room with a stunning floral arrangement and fancy ceramic vases, don’t limit your designs to the same thing you would see in any home decor magazine on a grocers shelf.

Be unique so that your choices speak to you.

Also, worth noting. If going this route, choose flowers and plants that you are able to take care of and know the season it blooms and lifespan. This is when artificial plants can come in and may be just as good. Plus fake plants can save you from having to get new flowers so often.

Final Thoughts

A centerpiece for a coffee table isn’t the only way to decorate this piece of furniture.

The point of this article is to give you examples and to also inspire you to make your own choices and add things that are of value to you. When you surround yourself with things that motive you and brings you happiness then you’ve made the right decorative choices.


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