How to Decorate Tray on Ottoman

Decorating a tray on an ottoman can add a splash of elegance and practicality to any living space. An ottoman, often serving as a centerpiece in a room, offers both comfort and versatility. By adorning it with a thoughtfully styled tray, you can enhance the room’s aesthetics while also creating a convenient spot for storing items and serving guests.

How to Decorate Tray on Ottoman

In this section, we’ll explore creative ways of how to decorate tray on ottoman and functional tray display that complements your living area and reflects your personal taste.

What is an Ottoman?

Before we dive into the tips on decorating a tray on an ottoman, let’s first understand what an ottoman is. An ottoman is a low, upholstered seat without arms or backrest that typically serves as a footstool. Ottomans are often used in living rooms as a decorative piece of furniture placed in front of a sofa or next to a chair. They come in various shapes, sizes, and styles, making them a versatile addition to any living space. It’s no surprise that ottomans have been gaining popularity as a trendy and functional furniture piece in recent years.

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Adds a Touch of Style and Elegance to Any Room.
  • Offers Additional Seating or Space for Resting Your Feet.
  • Can Serve as a Makeshift Coffee Table With the Addition of a Tray.
  • Provides Storage Space When Used With a Storage Ottoman.


  • Can Take Up More Floor Space Than Other Furniture Pieces.
  • Not Suitable for Larger Gatherings or Entertaining Guests.
  • Can be Difficult to Move Around Due to its Weight and Size. 

Popular Types and Styles of Ottomans

Unique Features And Purposes

There are various types and styles of ottomans available on the market, each with unique features and purposes. Here are some of the popular types and styles to consider when decorating a tray on an ottoman:

Storage Ottoman:

As the name suggests, storage ottomans come equipped with hidden storage spaces under the lid or inside the seat. This type of ottoman is perfect for storing blankets, pillows, or other items that you want to keep out of sight. When decorating a tray on a storage ottoman, consider using it as a functional display and keeping the storage space accessible for easy organization.

Tufted Ottoman:

Tufted ottomans are characterized by their button-tufted design, giving them a luxurious and elegant look. They often come in rectangular or round shapes and are perfect for adding a touch of sophistication to any living space. When decorating a tray on a tufted ottoman, consider complementing the button-tufted design with intricate patterns or metallic accents on the tray.

Leather Ottoman:

Leather ottomans offer a timeless and classic style, making them a popular choice for many homeowners. They are durable, easy to clean, and come in various colors and finishes, making it easier to match with your existing decor. When decorating a tray on a leather ottoman, consider using natural materials like wood or woven baskets to create a rustic yet elegant display.

Pouf Ottoman:

Pouf ottomans are small, cylindrical-shaped pieces of furniture that can serve as a footrest or additional seating. They come in various fabrics, patterns, and colors, making them a versatile option for decorating with trays. When decorating a tray on a pouf ottoman, consider using bold and colorful designs to add a pop of color to your living space.

11 Simple Step-by-step Guidelines on How to Decorate Tray on Ottoman

Step 1: Planning Your Decor

Before you start decorating your tray on an ottoman, it’s essential to have a plan in mind. Consider the style and theme of your living space and how you want the tray to complement it. Think about  the items you want to display on the tray and how you want to arrange them. Having a plan in place can help you create  a cohesive and visually appealing display. You can also gather inspiration from home decor magazines, websites, or social media platforms. It’s always a good idea to have some ideas in mind before you start decorating.

Come in Rectangular Or Round Shapes

Step 2: Choosing the Right Tray

Choosing the right tray is crucial when decorating a tray on an ottoman. Consider the size and shape of your ottoman and choose a tray that fits nicely on top. The material of the tray is also essential; opt for one that complements your living space’s overall aesthetic. But most importantly, choose a tray that is sturdy and stable enough to hold the items you want to display. This will prevent any accidents or spills. It’s also a good idea to choose a tray with handles for easy transport.

Step 3: Adding a Layer

Before placing your chosen tray on the ottoman, consider adding a layer underneath. This can be a simple table runner, a piece of fabric, or a decorative placemat. The layer adds texture and dimension to the display and can also help prevent any damage to the ottoman’s surface. However, be mindful of the color and pattern of the layer you choose; it should complement your tray and not clash with it. If in doubt, opt for a neutral color or pattern.

You Can Also Use Natural Elements

Step 4: Choosing Decorative Items

When decorating a tray on an ottoman, consider using decorative items that are both functional and visually appealing. These could include candles, books, vases, or small planters. Choose items that have different heights and shapes to create a visually interesting display. You can also mix and match different textures, colors, and patterns to add depth to the tray. The key is to choose items that complement each other and fit nicely on the tray without looking cluttered. It’s always better to choose a few statement pieces rather than overcrowding the tray with too many items. You can also switch up the decor seasonally to keep your living space looking fresh and updated.

Step 5: Filling Empty Spaces

When arranging items on the tray, be mindful of any empty spaces that may make the display look incomplete. These could be filled with smaller decorative pieces like trinkets or figurines. You can also use natural elements like small branches, pinecones, or seashells to add a touch of nature to your display. You can also use empty space to add a personal touch, such as a framed photo or a small piece of art. But remember not to overcrowd the tray; less is often more when it comes to decorating. The goal is to create a visually appealing and balanced display.

Using Woven Baskets

Step 6: Add Some Greenery

Adding some greenery to your tray display can instantly liven up the space and add a touch of freshness. You can use potted plants or succulents, or even fresh flowers to add color and texture to your tray. Be sure to choose plants that don’t require too much maintenance, as you’ll want them to look good for longer periods. Otherwise, opt for faux plants that still add a natural touch without the upkeep. It’s also a good idea to choose plants that are proportional to the tray, so they don’t overpower the display. But ultimately, choose plants that you love and that fit your personal style.

Step 7: Incorporate Different Textures

Adding different textures to your tray display can make it more visually appealing and interesting. This could include using woven baskets, textured candles, or velvet accessories. You can also mix and match different materials like wood, metal, and glass to add dimension to the display. Be mindful of the colors and patterns of the textures you choose; they should complement each other and not clash. The key is to create a balanced and cohesive display. It’s also a good idea to vary the textures throughout the tray rather than clustering them in one area.

Step 8: Play with Color

Adding color to your tray display can make it more vibrant and eye-catching. You can choose a color scheme that complements your living space or opt for bright and bold colors to add a pop of fun and personality. Consider using colorful book covers, decorative objects, or candles to add a touch of color to your tray. You can also use the colors in your display to tie in with other decor elements in the room. Be mindful not to overdo it; choose one or two main colors and incorporate them throughout the display.

Step 9: Consider Adding Layers

Adding layers to your tray display can create depth and dimension. You can stack books or magazines to add height to your display or use a larger item as a base and layer smaller items on top. Layering can also help create a visually interesting display by breaking up the space and adding variety. Just be sure not to clutter the tray with too many layers; it’s essential to maintain balance and harmony in the display. Experiment with different layering techniques until you find a look that you love.

Step 10: Final Touches

Once all the decorative items are in place, take a step back and assess the overall display. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure the tray looks balanced and visually appealing. Add any final touches, such as a small bowl of candy or some scented candles for added ambiance. Remember, decorating a tray on an ottoman is all about personal style and creativity, so have fun with it and make it your own. The possibilities are endless, and with these tips, you can create a beautiful and functional display that adds character to your living space.

It's Essential to Have A Plan in Mind

Step 11: Maintenance

To keep your tray display looking fresh and appealing, be sure to regularly dust and clean the items on the tray. This will ensure that the display remains visually pleasing and prevents any buildup of dust or dirt. You should also consider switching up the decorative items on occasion to keep your living space looking updated and avoid getting bored with the same display.

Finally, be mindful of any spills or accidents and clean them up immediately to prevent any damage to the tray or ottoman’s surface. With proper maintenance, your tray display can continue to be a stylish and functional addition to your living space.  Let your creativity shine and have fun with decorating your ottoman tray! 

Following these steps on how to decorate tray on ottoman and incorporating your personal style, you can create a stunning display that adds character to any living space. Whether it’s for functional purposes or just for aesthetic appeal, decorating an ottoman tray is a simple yet effective way to elevate your decor. So get creative and have fun with styling your tray!  Happy decorating!

Do You Need to Take Support From a Professional?

While decorating an ottoman tray is a fun and easy DIY project, there may be instances where you need the help of a professional. For example, if you’re unsure about how to balance the items on your tray or create a cohesive display, an interior designer can provide expert advice and assistance. They can also help you choose the right decorative pieces that fit your personal style and complement your living space.

Additionally, if you’re overwhelmed with the task of maintaining your tray display, a professional cleaning service can make sure it stays fresh and clean. Don’t hesitate to seek help if needed; ultimately, the goal is to create a beautiful and functional ottoman tray display that brings joy to your home. 

So whether you choose to decorate on your own or seek professional support, have fun and enjoy the process of creating a stunning tray display.  The end result will be worth it!

Use a Larger Item as a Base

Additional Tips

  • When Choosing Items for Your Tray Display, Consider Using a Mix of Old and New Pieces to Add Character and Interest.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Play With Different Heights When Arranging Items on the Tray. This Can Add Visual Interest and Prevent the Display From Looking Flat.
  • Use Trays of Different Shapes and Sizes for More Variety in Your Decor.
  • Consider Incorporating a Theme Into Your Tray Display, Such as a Seasonal Theme or a Color Scheme.
  • Use Your Tray as a Functional Piece by Including Items Like Coasters or a Small Vase for Fresh Flowers.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Change Up Your Display Regularly and Switch Out Items Depending on the Season or Your Mood.
  • Most Importantly, Have Fun and Let Your Personal Style Shine Through in Your Tray Display.  Happy Decorating!

 Lastly, don’t limit yourself to just using an ottoman; you can also decorate trays on coffee tables, entryway tables, or even dining room tables. The key is to find a balance between functionality and aesthetics and choose items that reflect your personal style.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I Use a Tray on Any Type of Ottoman? 

A: Yes, trays can be used on any type of ottoman, including square, rectangular, round, or even pouf-style ottomans. It’s a versatile and functional decor piece that can add style to any living space!  You can also use a tray on other pieces of furniture, such as coffee tables or side tables.

Q: How Often Should I Change the Decorative Items on My Tray? 

A: It’s entirely up to personal preference, but it’s a good idea to switch things up every few months to keep your living space looking fresh and updated. You can also change the decor depending on the season or for special occasions.

Q: Can I Use My Tray for Serving Food and Drinks? 

A: Yes, you can use your ottoman tray for serving food and drinks as long as it’s sturdy enough to hold the weight and has a flat surface. Just be sure to use coasters or placemats to protect the tray from any spills or stains.  It’s also a good idea to clean the tray before and after use for proper maintenance.

Q: How Can I Incorporate a Tray Display into a Smaller Living Space? 

A: If you have limited space, consider using a smaller tray that fits proportionally on your ottoman or furniture piece. You can also opt for multi-functional trays, such as a tray with built-in storage compartments, to maximize space and functionality. Another option is to use a smaller ottoman or pouf-style piece that can double as both a decorative element and extra seating.

Q: Can I Use a Tray Display in Other Rooms Besides My Living Room? 

A: Absolutely! Trays can be used in any room of the house, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, or even outdoor spaces. Just keep in mind the function and style of the room when choosing items for your tray display.  So go ahead and get creative with decorating trays throughout your home!  With these tips and ideas, you can create a stylish and functional tray display that enhances any living space.

Placing Your Chosen Tray on the Ottoman


In conclusion, the art of decorating a tray on an ottoman is a delightful blend of form and function. With the right mix of decorative items and practical pieces, you can transform an ordinary ottoman into a chic, functional showpiece.

Whether you opt for a minimalist approach or a bolder, more eclectic array, the key is to reflect your personal style while maintaining balance and accessibility. Experiment with different arrangements until you find the perfect setup that offers both aesthetic pleasure and convenience for your daily life. Thanks for reading this article on how to decorate tray on ottoman.

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