how to style a dessert table

How To Style A Dessert Table like a pro

Styling a dessert table for a party is so much fun. It allows you to bring the theme of the party to life. Whether you’re hosting a birthday bash or throwing a baby shower, these tips will help you create a sweet display that will dazzle your guests. Just follow these simple steps, and before you know it you too will know exactly how to style a dessert table!

How to Style a Dessert Table – all you need to know about creating a dessert table

dessert table ideas for childrens party
Photo credit Artsy Party Styling

A dessert table can be as simple or extravagant as your imagination and budget allow. The first step is deciding what kind of look and touches do you want for the room where you are hosting the party. Do you want kid-friendly, bright colors, florals, baby-themed, or holiday-themed? 

Once you have your theme and food ideas in place, it’s time to start styling the table. When choosing a style for your dessert table, think about color, height, and texture.

For example, if you are going with a bright and colorful theme, try adding some brightly colored candies in glass-shaped dishes or bright-colored serving trays. If you are doing a Smore’s dessert bar then you will want rustic and tan colors.  Match your serving dishes to your theme.

When it comes to height, try using a variety of different sized vases, bowls, and plates. This helps create an eye-catching table. And finally, don’t be afraid to use textures like beads, live flowers, or lace to add some flair.

Steps on How To Style a Dessert Table

1. Pick your Party Theme

how to style a birthday dessert table
Photo credit Trendy Events

Pick a theme to start your dessert table planning. Once you have a theme you will find it is easier to plan the rest of the table out. Some popular ideas include:

Once you have your theme selected be sure to take into account how much space you will need for the table and how many food items you will be serving.

2. Plan What Should Be On a Dessert Table

how to set up a dessert table

Once you have an idea of the style, it’s time to start thinking about what type of desserts and snacks you want to serve.

You want to make sure you have desserts on the table that are suited for your guests. Think of who the party is for and decide your desserts accordingly. Mini desserts in cups or glasses always work well as they are the perfect size for guests. See our 10 easy ideas for desserts in a cup here.

Now that your desserts are planned now think about the centerpiece and decorations you will be adding to the table as well. You want things that are eye-catching and of all different heights and sizes.

3. Plan Your Table Layout   

Now that you have your theme and color palette in mind, it’s time to start planning the layout of your dessert table. This is where you can get creative with groupings of different desserts as well as how to place them on the table.

Also using those different shaped platters and cups really help make the table a more visual statement. 

4. Add Height To Your Table

Using pedestals to give your trays and dishes different heights really helps style any food table. In case you are wondering adding height helps bring the desserts to the guest’s eye level. That way all your hard work isn’t gone unnoticed.

To add height without spending extra money look for things around your home you already have. For example, you can use pots and drape fabric over them. My favorite is using cardboard boxes but wrapping them in solid wrapping paper in the color of the party decorations.

Alternatively, woodblocks are always a great way to add height. Get creative, you can easily add height to help add some flair to your table.

how to style a birthday party des
Photo credit Artsy Party Styling

How many desserts do I need for a dessert table?

The number of desserts you need for your dessert table will depend on the size of your table and how many guests you are expecting.

You will likely want to have at least four to six different types of desserts so that everyone can find something they like. If you are serving a large crowd, you may need to prepare more than one platter of each dessert so you can quickly switch out and refill during the party.

Here are some great dessert suggestions for any dessert table: 

  • Brownies
  • Cake
  • Mini pies
  • Truffles
  • Candy
  • Bite size Cheesecake squares
  • Cookies
  • Macaroons
  • Themed Sugar Cookies
  • Mini desserts in a cup

How do you set up a dessert table for a party?

ideas for stying a dessert table
Photo credit Ms. Laine Events

The first step is to choose a location for your table. Next, decide on the size of the table. You will want to leave enough space between each dish so that guests can easily reach in and grab a sweet treat.

Then, it’s time to decorate! Use coordinating colors or themes to create a cohesive look. Don’t forget pieces of wood or even cardboard boxes wrapped in decorative wrapping paper to add height to some of your platters.

How do you set up a dessert table backdrop?

A dessert table backdrop can be a great way to add interest and visual appeal. You don’t need anything fancy just choose some color coordinating fabric, tulle, or even paper flowers in pastel shades that will compliment your desserts.

I love the idea of balloons as a table backdrop for a dessert table. Balloons are cheap and are available in any color you could imagine or need.

Other ideas for dessert table backdrops are: 

  • Freestanding Backdrop boards
  • Chalkboard with lettering
  • Artificial Boxwood Topiary
  • 3D Letter
  • Banners
  • Beads or Curtains
  • Streamers
  • Paper Lanterns

Check out our DIY Backdrop Ideas here.

Top tips for styling a dessert table  

dessert table styling tip
Photo credit Hip Hip Events
  • Rent a table that is the right height for your room and party size. A shorter, rounder table will complement more casual events while larger rectangular or square tables work well with formal events.
  • If you want to save cost ask a neighbor or friend if they may have one you can borrow.
  •  Choose a color scheme or theme for your table. This will help you to choose the right dishes, linens, and decorations.
  •  Keep it simple! You don’t need a lot of items to create an elegant dessert table. A few well-placed items will go a long way.
  •  Use a mix of different textures and materials to add interest. Think about using lace, sequins, metallics, or even fruits and flowers to dress up your table.
  • Group desserts together on the table for visual appeal. This will also make it easier for guests to choose what they want.
  • Use serving platters that are tiered will help bring style to your tables. 

The best tip I can give you when it comes to hosting a party is to do everything you can the night before the party. That will help take some of the last-minute pressure and stress off of you as the host.

How to style a Dessert Table – Final Note

Oh and one last thing! Don’t forget to take some photos so you can remember how cute your dessert table was for your party. You can also look back on them and see how to style a dessert table for your next party! We all know that will be another one!

So grab that camera and take all the photos! You will want to look back on all the hard work you put into it, trust me on that! 

About Author

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Jane Sheriff is the founder, creative director, party planner and mom of three. She started Darling Celebrations back in 2012 to share easy and beautiful ideas for celebrating the special events in life.

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