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Here you will learn about styling tiered trays, what is a tiered tray and how to make your own tiered tray with items around the house? Follow along as we dive into the step by step instructions on how to decorate a tiered tray and more.

Styling tiered trays with Valentine decor of pink, red and white m&m's, kiss me coffee mug, wooden beads, grey wool bird, plant, cotton and more.

Styling tiered trays have become the rage!  But these little treasures can be a challenge to decorate. I cannot wait to show you how to make your own tiered tray and how to decorate a tiered tray.


We had no idea how popular they were until we decided to do a round-up of tiered trays for Christmas.  Within two days that post, Jolly Inspiration to Styling Tiered Trays for Happy Holidays, took second place as the most visited post on our website. 

It was obvious that you all loved this so we decided to create one of our own out of what we had around the kitchen and give some tips on how to decorate tiered trays.

What is a Tiered Tray?

But what exactly is a tiered tray? Well, it is layers or basically plates stacked one on top of the other with something separating the plates in between. You can buy tiered trays already designed, you can buy frames that plates sit into or you can create your own tray.

How to Make a Tiered Tray?

I have a tutorial on how to make a tiered tray but if you are looking to create one in a matter of minutes use some cake stands in varying sizes and stack them one on top of the other.

styling tiered trays cake stands

I already had the one for the bottom and I found the other two in the dollar section at Target.

Don't you love improvising?

How to Decorate a Tiered Tray

My go-to advice on starting any project is, to begin with finding inspiration and my favorite place for that is Pinterest. Pinterest is a great place to start but even better is searching tiered trays on my website.

I bet you didn't know that we have ideas from all the holidays and a little of everything from two-tiered trays to three-tiered trays, galvanized, white, wood, farmhouse, and even more ideas.

Once you have some inspiration it is time to shop for some items.

styling tiered trays pinterest

What to Put on Tiered Tray

Now it is time to decide what to put on your tiered tray.  Begin with selecting your theme and color scheme.  Mine is Valentine's Day so my colors revolve around pinks, red and white. 

Make sure you consider the height between each tray.  Select accessories that will fit between the trays.  And think about an assortment of pieces. 

Here is a list of common items that are used on tiered trays.

  • coffee cups
  • wooden bead garland
  • dish towels
  • small bowls
  • Rae Dunn pottery
  • small signs
  • flowers and greenery
  • gnomes
  • marshmallow cups
  • candles
  • figurines
  • food
  • greenery
  • plants

The possibilities are endless on things you can put on a tiered tray. It all depends on if it is going to be functional or just for looks.

Styling tiered trays with Valentine accessories like a pink and white stripe dish towel, small glass bowl of pink, red and white m&m's, wooden beads, kiss me coffee mug, candle, plant and more.

How to Style Tiered Trays

I like to start with the larger pieces first. On my tray, I placed the plant and mug diagonally from each other. One of the top and the other below.

Then I started adding in the medium size items like the beads, bird and candy bowl.

I discovered about now that the kitchen towel was not fitting exactly the way I wanted it so I had to take off some items and place it under the middle cake stand.

Styling tiered trays with cake stands layered and filled with Valentine decor like a kiss me coffee cup, wooden beads, m&m's in a glass bowl, candles, kitchen towel and more.

Next, I started adding fillers like cotton. It really depends on what you like if you want more fillers. I am less is more kind of person so I decided to stop here with the fillers but some people love lots of greenery or more accessories.

Think about styling your tiered tray this way. Keeping adding and taking away as much as you want until it feels right. And feel free to move things around and keep trying different positions until you find the harmony and balance of the tray you are looking for.

Styling tiered trays with cake stands layered and filled with Valentine decor like a kiss me coffee cup, wooden beads, m&m's in a glass bowl, candles, kitchen towel and more.

Last, add something on the table in front of the tiered tray like this pretty plate. It gives the design more dimension.

Oh, I almost forgot. Repetition makes a good design great. So repeating accessories on the tray, like the cotton, will make it balance even better.

Styling tiered trays with cake stands layered and filled with Valentine decor like a sweet grey wool bird and cotton around his feet.

Isn't styling tiered trays fun!! 

Where to buy tiered trays

Tiered trays are easy to find today and they come in all different shapes and sizes. The best places to shop for tiered trays are Target (Hearth and Hand by JoAnna Gaines has a few cute ones), Hobby Lobby, Etsy, Wayfair and Amazon.

Here are some trays on Amazon to get you started and I added a few accessory ideas too. 🙂

Products from


To sum it all up here is a step by step guide on how to decorate a tiered tray.

  • Purchase a tiered tray or use something you already have like cake stands.
  • Hop on over to Pinterest or my website and search tiered trays for inspiration
  • Determine your theme and color scheme
  • Purchase accessories that will fit between the layers
  • Purchase accessories that are a variety of items like cups, beads, plants, candy and more.
  • Begin creating by placing items on the trays diagonally from one later to another. 
  • Fill in with medium size items.
  • Add fillers around the large and medium-sized items.
  • Feel free to move stuff around and keep trying arrangements until you get the balance and harmony you want.
  • Add a little something on the table in front of the tiered trays.

Styling tiered trays are what I call a bundle of joy all in one small space.  They are great to use as a coffee station, centerpiece on a table or a functional piece for a party. 

Styling tiered trays with cake stands layered and filled with Valentine decor,

I hope this post has given you the inspiration to create your own tiered tray. What holiday or event are you styling a tiered tray for?

Happy Decorating!

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