Do you struggle in figuring out what to place on your coffee table? In this post you’ll learn how to style and decorate your coffee table with a tray, that really brings a room together nicely!
Whether you need a new coffee table or have one that needs a styling bandaid, there are some basics that make good design sense. For many of us, it appears that buying a coffee table is often an afterthought in designing a living room or family room. Clearly it shouldn’t be a forgotten element! The size and height of a coffee table generally depends on your seating. Let’s talk about a few basic tips so that you don’t end up with the wrong choice.
When redecorating a room, it’s best to buy a coffee table after you’ve purchased your sofa. This is because there is a best height and size, depending on the width of the couch. Your coffee table should be about 1/2 to 2/3 the length of your sofa and about the same height as the seat. The correct height is important so that your guests will easily be able to reach the surface of the table from their seats. If you have a sectional, measure the length of the horizontal seat and not the entire sofa.
Buying A Coffee Table Tips
- Look for a coffee table that is about 2/3 the length of your sofa.
- Rule of thumb height should be around 17″ to 18″.
- When measuring, leave enough space between the table and sofa for your legs (around 14″ to 18″).
Now that you have your coffee table, what do you do with it? Coffee tables started out in the past as tea tables and were actually for taking tea! These days coffee tables are often the center of the room arrangement placed in between the sofa and occasional chairs. They are used more for random family objects as a catchall, or putting our feet on when relaxing. But they can look nice and lovely, especially if you add the simple element of a tray!
How To Quickly Style & Decorate A Coffee Table Tray
Decorating trays on coffee tables is nothing new for sure. I’ve collected lots of coffee table trays over the years and off the top of my head think that I have at least 15! Maybe that borders on obsession, but trays are so handy to use when serving and carrying things from room to room. If you keep your coffee table somewhat clear of the stuff that can accumulate, there’s always going to be room for a tray.
Types Of Coffee Table Trays
- Choose a neutral color tray to be able to switch out seasonally.
- Rectangular trays are the most common and easy to find. You can place longer objects such as books on a rectangular tray.
- Round coffee table trays or serving trays are harder to find. I know because I’ve been on the hunt for a large one for months!
20 Minute Decorating Ideas For Decorating Trays On Coffee Tables
- Choose personal conversation pieces that tell a story about you.
- Vary heights, colors and textures to create visual interest.
- Start with your tallest object, such as a vase of flowers, garden clippings or a plant.
- Add linear elements next, such as a book or a box. Those ugly remote controls are great to hide in boxes!
- Layer some architectural pieces on top of your flat object for interest.
- Odd numbers of objects appear organic and casual, while even numbers of objects can look staged.
Objects For Decorating Trays On Coffee Tables
- Flowers, plants or greenery
- Books or boxes
- Personal momento or souvenir
- Seasonal decor
A room that I don’t show often! In our family room, we have a vintage wood shop check-out table from a friend’s store. Years ago I cut the legs down to coffee table size and painted/distressed it with milk paint in blue and white. I love the rustic look paired with the modern leather sectional, old floral oil painting in a barn-wood frame and modern gold swing arm light fixtures. The rug is an indoor/outdoor rug and this room serves as well as a family with 3 dogs. To decorate the wicker coffee table tray I placed a book, a simple water bottle with a cutting from our tropical garden and a favorite candle. A vintage 40’s piece of white pottery holds the tv remotes and a conch shell that we retrieved diving on a Caribbean trip sits next to it.
Most likely your tray won’t take up all of the real estate on your coffee table and will leave room for other groupings. Use similar principles of layering and remember that less is more in styling.
Some of my favorite coffee tables…
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