Once upon a time, there was one style of sofa tray table. It had folding X-shaped legs supporting a cheap metal or composite wood table, it came in a set of four, and it sat in front of the couch so people could lean forward to eat their newfangled TV dinners while watching Gunsmoke or The Beverly Hillbillies.
Those cheap sofa tray tables are still around, but we’ve come a long way from the 1950s and 60s. We may be viewing YouTube, the latest shows on Netflix or a new release in our home theater, but we still watch our HDTVs while relaxing on the couch. And there is now a wealth of designs for tables and trays that can be used in front of, beside, above and directly on top of sofa cushions.
Let’s look first at materials used to make modern versions of TV tray tables. Most metal models are stronger than the old flimsy ones, and many are powder-coated so they can blend into a contemporary décor. Today’s manufactured woods are a lot stronger than the material used in the mid 20th century, and a wide choice of veneers lets them fit almost any design. Hinges on today’s folding tables are much more reliable, too. These tables are available in plastic polymers like ABS as well. It’s also easy to find an (admittedly more expensive) solid oak or mahogany sofa tray table which will fit into an upscale room, a metal one with beautifully-crafted scrollwork to match a country-style design, or a chic metal-and-glass unit.
The bigger advance in sofa tray table design involves how these tables can be used. Perhaps the most popular style features a table sitting on a single “L” or “U” shaped leg that’s mounted on a rolling or stationary base; the base can be pushed or rolled underneath a couch or chair so the tray can be positioned right above your lap. You don’t have to lean forward to eat – the table comes to you.
There’s an extra benefit of these single-legged tables. If the couch doesn’t have an arm which extends all the way to the floor, the table base can be positioned underneath the side of the sofa to hold your snacks or drinks next to you. That way you’re not crowded by a table in front of you, and you’re not blocked from making a quick bathroom run.
One more style you’ll see is a tabletop tray. It can be flat or flexible, made of plastic or wood, but it serves a brilliant purpose: it attaches directly to a couch seat or armrest and sits flat, creating a “sofa tray table” which won’t interfere with you and is easily moved.
Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.
A cool simple side table. A staple-like base of black square metal tubes is built of 2 double-tube legs and a rectangular foot (tucked e.g. under a sofa). A rectangular top with a drawer (having a metal handle) is of wooden materials in browns.
Rustic look for a couch armrest wrap table, made out of solid walnut wood with a dark tint and a rough finish. The table has a natural vibe with no coat of paint and provides a nice area for recharging devices and storing drinks.
Cozy setup for a bright living room furnished with a large and thick-cushioned sofa sectional upholstered in a cotton fabric in a beige color, fitted with a matching sofa table made out of chromed aluminum with a slate top surface.
A set of two contemporary-style sofa tables with frames made out of black-painted aluminum, resembling wrought iron. The tops of the tables both have a handy drawer and are made out of cherry wood.
C-shaped, this unique console tray table constitutes a perfect proposition for all, who want to add a stylish and functional accent to their living rooms. Finished with bright oak, it corresponds nicely to the metal framing.
An interesting aesthetic practical foldable tray which can be used on square or rounded armrests as well as on tables. It consists of thin narrow wooden slats finished in mid browns and an anti-slip pad fixed to flexible non-skid material.
A simple but cool contemporary sofa tray table. Its chromed metal base is built of a round tube bent in the shape of 2 staple-like supports with a flat foot tucked under a sofa. A square tray top with raised edges and rounded corners is red.
This sofa tray table combines smoothly style and functionality. Densely grained wood embodies the natural character. It features a convenient pocket for newspapers or documents.
A cool contemporary under sofa table. Its rectilinear base is made of grey round metal tubes and rods. It features 2 staple-shaped legs joined by a bootom stretcher and a simple openwork top apron. A rectangular top is of faux marble in beiges.
Elegant setup for a space-efficient living room with a folding table tray made out of dark oak wood, perfect for working with a laptop. The tray comes with a larger folding table, which is a nice coffee table replacement.
Contemporary setup for a compact and elegant living room, furnished with a single armchair made out of faux black leather. The armchair is fitted with a matching, glass-top end table which is perfect for holding a drink.
An aesthetic practical foldable tray for tables, seats as well as square, rectangular and rounded armrests of sofas and armchairs. It's composed of thin narrow slats of MDF board finished in mid browns and fixed to flexible nonslip textile material.
Minimalistic take on a coffee tray for a side of a sofa in the living room. The tray is made out of painted aluminum in a black color and has stained glass motif on the side as well as a top surface made out of dark oak wood.
Modern design for a sofa tray table made out of European walnut wood, giving it an elegant, classy finish. The tray table is adjustable and fits on any sofa table and provides a neat place to store a drink and a snack.
Oriental style for an exotic sofa tray table, made out in a shape of a wrap mat crafted from bamboo wood. The tray table not only provides a comfy armrest but allows you to store a drink on it without spilling.
A simplistic take on a bright couch tray table, made out of pieces of joined oak wood with a white coat of paint, providing a nice contrast to the light gray couch and creating a handy spot for storing a drink or a snack.
Vintage look for a unique-looking sofa tray mat made out of painted wood with alternating colors of white and black with a shiny finish. The top of the tray is fitted with an anti-slip material to prevent spilling drinks.
Modern look for a contemporary sofa tray mat, made out of solid pieces of oak wood with a dark tint and a polished finish. The tray mat comes in handy for storing a drink or a snack during a séance of a movie.
A pleasing to the eye practical contemporary tray table for furniture armrests. It's made of thin long slats of bamboo (in beautiful natural shades) fixed widthways to thin anti-slip material. It can be rolled after use.
A nice-looking practical contemporary tray table for flat and gently rounded furniture armrests. It's made of wooden slats finished with oak brown veneers. Widthwise arranged slats are fixed to nonslip fabric.
This wood bendable tray table can be a perfect addition to the arm of your favourite chair of sofa, providing a provisional, yet fully functional, solid tray table. Dark stained wooden finish embodies elegance and class.
Made from bright, wooden boards, this smooth sofa tray table constitutes a practical solution, which allows saving space and money. One moment and you have a place to put your plate or glass of juice.
Contemporary design for a sofa tray table made to rest in the middle of the piece. The table is made out of oak wood with a light tint and has a smooth, shiny finish, and provides a handy spot for storing a plate or a remote.
This wooden tray table would be a functional addition to your sofa or armchair, creating quickly a provisional spot for your laptop or plate and cup. Stylish dark stain embodies elegance.
Thanks to the beautiful combination of chrome and dark stained wood, this sofa tray will be a perfect to a stylish, contemporary living room. Ideal spot for a remote or a cup of tea.
A pretty practical portable sofa arm table made of wood finished in mid brown shades. It's composed of a central rectangular panel and widthways arranged slats on sides. All elements are fixed to an anti-slip mat.
An aesthetic practical portable sofa arm tray table made of narrow wooden bars finished in dark brown. Heat, water and abrasion resistant bars are fixed to anti-slip fabric. A tray can be be used on rectangular flat arms or surfaces.
Stylish design for a sofa tray table with a divider function. The table is made out of solid oak wood with a wrap-like structure on the front, and provides a perfect addition to a sofa, allowing anyone to place a drink or food on it.
Old-fashioned take on a classy tray table made in a C-shape out of wrought iron with a distressed, weathered look. The frame of the piece is fitted with decorative floral elements, nicely matching with the cherry top.
An aesthetic simple and useful portable armrest tray table made of slats of solid wood with a black or light brown finish. Narrow rectangular slats are fixed to robust anti-slip fabric so the tray table is bendable.
An aesthetic practical portable armrest tray table crafted of wood finished in warm mid browns. It has a square top, 2 side protective panels to put on armrests, an outer pocket-shelf. It fits flat and rounded armrests.
A smooth, practical addition to your living room decor. This cool bamboo tray table will help you quickly assemble a spot for a cup of tea, a plate or your mobile or remote control. Its bright, bamboo finish provides a warm ambiance.
This sofa tray table constitutes a perfect proposition for a stylish, contemporary living room. Functional and stylish, the wood and iron combination will be solid construction, lasting for years.
Chromed metal base legs and stylish oak countertop distinguish this modern sofa tray table from the others. Thanks to its contemporary, minimalistic appeal, the item will add a fresh, lightweight touch to any space.
A super practical traditional tray table for rectangular armrests. It's crafted of wooden slats finished in light browns. Slats and a top tray (its ovalish centre is covered with black anti-slip material) are fixed to nonskid fabric.
A cool practical side table with a rectilinear frame of thin black square metal tubes. It's built of a flat rectangular frame-like foot, tucked under furniture, and 4 tall upright legs. A framed rectangular top is of wooden materials in mid browns.
An elegant look for a slide-under sofa table with a frame made out of chromed aluminum with a silver coat of reflective paint and a top made out of oak wood with a dark tint and a shiny, polished finish, which gives the table a classy vibe.
Natural approach to a flexible sofa armrest table, made out of light pine wood with a smooth finish and no paint. The sofa armrest table provides a perfect place for placing a snack or a drink when relaxing on a couch.
Rustic approach to a handy sofa arm table made out of oak wood with a dark tint and a primitive, rough finish. The table has an additional compartment on the back, perfect for storing either a remote or some magazines.
A rustic take on a handy sofa side table made out of oak wood with a rough finish and a burned appearance. The sofa table provides a useful spot for storing a charging device or a glass with a drink.
With its beautiful, charming oak tree color, this sofa tray table measuring 30 x 40cm will be a great addition to your living room decor. Ideal for a plate or cup of coffee, it is easy to clean and has dirt-repellent properties.
High-quality timber from ash tree and smooth design make this sofa tray table a functional and stylish accent in your living room decor. Handmade, it constitutes an ideal spot for a cup of tea and your remote.
An elegant practical trendy side tray table with a rectilinear frame of square tubes of chromed aluminium alloy. It has a flat rectangular foot tucked under a piece of furniture and 4 upright legs. A rectangular top is of white tempered glass.
An aesthetic useful portable foldable tray table designed to protect furniture with flat wide arms. It's composed of narrow solid wood slats and a wider rectangular panel (with an anti-slide surface of dark grey material) fixed to anti-slip fabric.
A cool useful portable bendable tray table to protect furniture with wide flat armrests. It consists of narrow slats and a wider rectangular panel (with a nonskid surface of grey material) of solid wood in mid browns fixed to anti-slip fabric.
Vintage design for a side sofa tray table with a frame made out of wrought iron with a distressed, delicate coat of bronze paint, paired with a cherry wood top surface and floral carvings on the front of the piece.
A contemporary approach to a compact sofa tray table made out of oak wood with a light tint and a high polish finish. The tray table provides a handy spot for storing a drink or a snack, or for recharging electronic devices.
An elegant sofa tray table made out of cherry wood with a vibrant, red tint and a polished finish. The middle of the tray table is fitted with an anti-slip cover, which makes it safe to place a glass of wine on top of it.
Crafted from the Brazilian walnut, this sofa arm tray table constitutes a perfect provisional table for your meal or laptop. A convenient and stylish addition to any living room decor.
Laser cut, this beautiful sofa tray table enchants with its deep wooden appeal. It will fit smoothly into both traditional and modern living room decors. Ideal as a base for a meal and a cup of coffee.
TV trays are accent pieces that multitask to serve many purposes in your home. A mindfully chosen tray can add chic to the charm of your home or become the focal feature of your living area. Let us help you choose the right one for your home.
TV trays are like Swiss knives; they do much more than what their name indicates. This is largely due to their light-weight and portable designs. Some practical uses:
Store the books you are currently reading; they are especially helpful if you have the habit of reading multiple books at a time. Users also place magazines and entertainment media on them.
How often have you forgotten where you placed your car and home keys? Use this tray to overcome the problem.
Place your lucky bamboo plant, a retro analog alarm clock, or a small artifact on it to lift the looks of your room.
Your morning cup of coffee will sit pretty on it, and so will an evening glass of drink in your porch or balcony.
Students and work-from-home professionals have used them for writing and taking notes.
Singles and couples use it for a quick breakfast or cozy dinners.
TV trays are veritable fruit bowls and snack-tray holders.
And of course, use of laptops is common on these trays.
They are ideal for small homes and small families, and versatile enough for indoor and outdoor use. Be it your child's homework or brief cake-cutting occasion, they will multitask efficiently for your many needs. Opt for them if space-saving, portability, and easy storage are your vital considerations. They are usually available in a cross-legged design, so check for the stability of the model that you buy.
Additional tip: Buy a set of two or four foldable TV trays and convert them into a cozy dinner table or use them for a game of cards.
Users find it a valuable accent piece that allows floor-seating as well as sofa-seating work posture, with the tray in your lap. Bring home one if you like the floor as your working or relaxing plane - for example, a floor mattress to sleep on and a bean bag to relax.
Sofa couch tray
This is a bespoke design innovation for arm sofas. The tray is not the conventional standing type but is a lay-flat platter made of wood or plastic slats. They are flexibly joined, so they fit the armrest in a tight-hugging position when opened. The design usually has a center panel with a depressed plane to safely hold a drinks glass or a coffee mug.
You will love this type instantly if you are an out-of-box person and like innovative solutions to furniture design. Elegance and simplicity are the hallmarks of a sofa couch tray, so they will best suit decent, single-shade cushioned sofas and soft-shaded walls.
The following materials are popular when it comes to TV trays.
Wood. Teak, birch, cedar, and oak are commonly used to manufacture TV trays, because of their strength and unmatched surface texture and grains. Wood can be finished in different ways to match various interiors. Apart from the popular French polish, varnish, stain, lacquer, shellac, and oil paints are the other elegant finishing options.
Manufactured wood. It is an affordable option with real-wood looks and appeal. Although durable and strong, it is more porous than hardwood such as teak, hence, it expands and gets affected by climatic factors. Nevertheless, it is ideal for indoor designs.
Metal. Mostly steel and aluminum tubes and pipes are used for the frames of foldable models. These metals are light-weight and portable yet strong. Like wood, metal also offers wonderful finishing options that gift the TV trays their elegance and style. Buff and brush finish will be natural, while dry electro-coating will give a matt finish in many colors. Bronze, brass, chrome, and other finishes are also available.
Plastic. Plastic furniture including TV trays is one of the most affordable products in the market. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are manufacturers' choices. These thermoplastics are strong and durable, yet affordable and light-weight. And they can be produced in attractive colors that harmonize with many types of decors.
If you choose a plastic TV tray for exterior use, keep in mind that it will chip, crack, or become brittle over time when exposed to UV rays. For this reason, be ready to trade their longevity with their looks and appeal.
Natural materials such as bamboo, cane, rattan, and wicker. Their strips and strand are finely hand-weaved to make the tray-top over a metal or plastic frame. They often have paneled edges.
Caution: All natural materials will degrade over time, and they can breed bacteria. This type of TV tray will need regular cleaning and upkeep, even if the surface is seasoned and laminated.
TV trays' legs play a major role in styling. These are the prevailing trends:
Legs angled at around 30° for low-height trays. They create a pleasant slant and offer an ergonomic surface to work on.
Cross legs are prevalent across designs, especially the light-weight foldable and portable ones. They offer good stability because the tray weight is distributed evenly due to the X angles. They also collapse the tray in a perfect 2-dimensional lay-flat position, making them easy and safe to store.
You will also come across pedestal or pole-mounted trays and L-shaped 2-legged designs with the tray-top opening up at 90 degrees. Both are distinct styles; more bespoke than universal. Choose them if they make good accent pieces with your pre-existing furniture and décor.
The other styles:
Round tray-tops with or without depressed sections to hold a coffee mug or a flower-vase. It will match your room decor if you have other curved or round furniture.
Tray-tops with surface decoration. The range includes:
Carving in various forms and shapes that have retro chic.
Hard screen-printed forms, objects, symbols, and animated characters. This could be anything - from a soccer ball to your zodiac sign. This style adds a personal touch to the tray.
Marble, granite, or other stone texture on faux rubber tray-tops. This is a unique style meant for kitchen utility but can match living-room décor if there are other similar elements.
Victorian motifs, and other classic prints. Choose them if they accentuate your décor suitably.
Slatted tray-top, wooden or plastic. This is a contemporary minimalistic style that will suit your décor if you have other slatted furniture such as a chair or a work-desk.