How to Decorate a Tiered Tray (for Tea Time Entertaining)

Welcome friends!  I’m so happy you stopped by!  Today, I’ve joined a group of talented bloggers for a Tea Time on a Tray Tour hosted by Katherine of Katherine’s Corner.  On this tour, 20 bloggers are sharing their tray decorating ideas with a tea theme!  For my contribution, I’m sharing examples of how to decorate a tiered tray for tea time entertaining!

*For your convenience, please note that this post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking my links below, I will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

Welcome to our Tea Time on a Tray Tour:

Tea Time on a Tray collage of tea cups

*Before we begin, I want to welcome those of you who are arriving from Katherine’s Corner, the host of this tour!  I’m sure you enjoyed her lovely blog post with her beautiful tea cups!

When you’re finished here, please be sure to visit the links at the end of this post to see all the beautiful tea time tray ideas!  Each of the bloggers are sharing their tea time ideas on different styles of trays.  From round trays to rectangle trays and plenty of tiered trays, I’m sure you’ll find something that catches your eye. Maybe we’ll inspire you to host an afternoon tea…or decorate a tray in your home!

How to Decorate a Tiered Tray:

A wooden tiered tray is a versatile piece for tea time entertaining:

Whether you’re expecting a few friends for a cup of tea or you’re planning a more festive afternoon tea party, a small tiered tray is great for displaying your tea essentials.  Unfortunately, my exact tiered tray (from World Market) is discontinued but this tray is very similar and this one is cute too!


Now, here are two ways I’ve decorated my tiered tray for tea time…


1- Everyday Setup Ideas for a Tiered Tray:

Simple Entertaining Ideas:

Next to my Keurig machine, I keep my wooden tiered tray ready for spur of the moment entertaining.  Even though I like to change out some of the decor pieces each season, I keep the basics displayed.  That way, if someone drops by for tea (or coffee) they can basically grab all they need.

Blue and white striped coffee cup on tiered tray - tea decorating ideas

striped mugs

Since I’m already in spring-mode, I decorated my wooden tiered tray with some blue and white striped mugs, some faux green plants and a couple white ceramic bunnies.  After all, Easter isn’t far away!

Metal and wooden tiered tray styled with blue and white mugs - how to decorate a tiered tray

striped mugswooden tiered tray

Not only is this little corner ready for guests, but it adds to my spring decor in the kitchen.  When decorating for each season, I always like to add tray vignettes around my house.  In fact, I just shared my spring home tour where you’ll see more vignettes (and more of this same color scheme!)

Two tiered tray with teacups next to Keurig machine - afternoon tea ideas

striped mugssimilar wooden tiered trayKeurig machine

If you’re planning ahead for other seasons, go take a look at my Christmas themed tiered tray.  This past December, I set up a coffee bar station in this spot and decorated my wooden tray for the holiday season.  For those ideas, see that blog post here – Kitchen Countertop Coffee Station Ideas.

2 – Afternoon Tea – Dessert Ideas on a Tiered Tray:

Now, let’s step away from the Keurig corner for more of a tea party feel!

If you’re planning a festive afternoon tea, here’s a fun idea!  Simply, fill a tiered tray with desserts and set up all your tea cups and tea serving essentials around it.

Flowers and tea party food on a wooden two tiered tray - how to decorate a tiered tray for tea time

similar wooden tiered tray

On my kitchen island, I displayed my two tiered tray with tea party food…well actually just tea party desserts!  Technically, when you host an afternoon tea, you would fill a three tier stand with sandwiches, pastries, jams and other traditional afternoon tea food.  

Pink flowers and tea party food on two tiered tray - how to decorate a tiered tray for tea time

similar wooden tiered traysimilar bunniessimilar bunny

On my tiered tray, I stayed with just fruit and desserts for everyone with a sweet tooth like myself!  Then to celebrate spring, I decorated with a cheerful color scheme which included a bunch of pink roses and faux pink peonies.

Pink flowers and decorative tea cup with spring bunny - how to decorate a tiered tray for tea time

ginger jar mug

With all the pinks mixed with the blue and white pieces, my tiered tray display feels perfect for an afternoon tea with the girls.  It would also be great for a Mother’s Day tea, a bridal shower or even a baby shower!  Yes, the pink and blue would totally make sense for that!

Pink spring decor and afternoon tea dessert ideas on tiered tray - how to decorate a tiered tray for tea time

And with the white bunnies, this afternoon tea tray would be nice for an Easter brunch as well!

Blueberries, flowers and muffins on wooden tray - tea party food

If you don’t have an island, you could set up a tiered tray display on a dining table, buffet table or even your kitchen table.  As we head into the summer months, you could even decorate a tiered tray outdoors for entertaining.  One year, I set up an afternoon tea table in my living room.  Since that table wasn’t huge, I arranged all the tea drinking essentials on the table and then set up a tiered tray of tea party food on the coffee table.

Pink flowers and wooden two tiered tray - festive afternoon tea ideas

Now, did I put you in the mood to decorate your own tray…or host an afternoon tea?  If not, I’m sure you will be after visiting all the pretty blogs from the list below!

metal and wooden tiered tray decorated for spring in white kitchen - how to decorate a tiered tray for tea time

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed my tips on how to decorate a tiered tray…for tea!

Shop the Look:


Once again, thank you to Katherine from Katherine’s Corner for hosting!  Also, please visit the rest of the participants on the tray tour from the list below. 

If you’re following along in order, Life as an LEO Wife is next on the tour!  Be sure to check out her lovely ideas!

For all the pretty tray ideas, here are the “Tea Time on a Tray” participants:

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

 Do you decorate with tiered trays when you entertain?

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Ways to decorate tiered trays for entertaining - afternoon tea ideas for a wooden tiered tray


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  1. Shelly, your styling of both trays is lovely! The bunnies are so cute and I love the mugs that look like ticking fabric. Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction

  2. Shelley,
    Your tray is so beautiful. What a gorgeous kitchen you have. I especially love all of the blue pieces and those mugs. Your desserts look so yummy.

    1. Thanks Beverly! Those mugs were such a find – and my family loved digging into the desserts when I was done displaying them!

  3. Loved both your tray designs Shelley! I’m in love with tiered trays and you showed how easy it is to take from a simple spring decoration to a lavish party piece. Thanks so much for the inspiration! Happy almost spring to you!

    1. Thanks Denise – trays are so much fun to decorate with, aren’t they? Happy almost spring to you as well!

  4. OH I love all the spring goodness on your trays. So many practical tips and all your stylings have me itching for spring. I would love to sit there with you for awhile & indulge. Great touring with you today. XO- MaryJo

    1. Thank you MaryJo! We had snow last night so now I’m really looking forward to spring! Great to tour with you too!

  5. Shelley, I love the idea of gathering people at my home for a tea party. Like you, the food would be yummy sweets! The stripe mugs are adorable and so pretty with all the pink flowers and napkins. You have a talent for combining these colors.
    Have a wonderful spring.

    1. Thanks so much, Rachelle! You always say the nicest things. And yes, those sweets are hard to resist! Happy almost-spring!

  6. Such a beautiful way to decorate a tray. Love the blue and white combination and then the goodies on a tray with the white rabbit are so inviting. The setting begs for a hot cup of tea and some quiet conversation.

  7. Oh Shelley, you had me at roses and bunnies! This is so pretty, it has such a cheerful feel to it! The ginger jar mug and stripped cups are so cute and the entire vignette on your island is so welcoming, perfect for a girls get together, so lovely!

    1. Thanks Jenna! Even though we had snow last night, I’m really in the mood for spring decorating! Thanks for the visit!

  8. Shelley,
    I love your wooden tray that you used and the desserts on it look so yummy!! The addition of the Bunnies are so sweet!! Thanks for the inspiration!! I enjoyed “touring ” with you today!!
    Debbie-Dabble Blog

  9. Shelley, I love using a tiered tray, and your suggestion of keeping one at the ready is an excellent idea. I also like the way you added fun special details and treats for a party feel on the island. Both great ways to use a tiered tray. Fun to hop with you on this fun topic.

  10. Shelley, I loved how you turned your tea tier into a tea time brunch. So beautiful my friend. Love all the pick flowers and white bunnies. Pleasure to hop with you. Have a great week.- Meagan

  11. Shelley, your ideas for styling a a tiered tray are great, both the everyday set up with the mugs and the delightful display of yummy treats for a tea party!

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