It’s hard to find good TV trays. Many are made of cheap plastic, cheap metal, or a generic-finished wood, which makes it difficult to find one that looks like real furniture. Especially if you have a sophisticated modern decor, even an otherwise nice light oak folding table looks out of place. But never fear – your search isn’t in vain. These seven TV trays are both attractive and functional, and will work great with a modern decor.
Keep It Classic
Now, I’ll start by saying: there’s nothing wrong with a standard TV tray design. A folding X-framed table is easy to store and easy to use; it’s a ubiquitous design for a reason. But because the bare-bones version of these TV trays are the default go-to for most low-end offerings, it can be difficult to find designs that set themselves apart visually without losing functionality. Even a solid wood construction won’t always get you there. So what will? Changing the silhouette. Adding a tray with handles or distinctive legs will earn an otherwise classic TV tray a second glance.
Or Make It Modern
That said, you’re probably reading this because you’d like to avoid the whole stow-and-go folding table aspect of TV trays in the first place. And good news: there are a whole lot more options now than there have ever been. Folding, X-frame tables might be the iconic option, but the changing shape of dining rooms, kitchens, and home offices has raised a very solid contender: the C-table. So called for the asymmetrical shape of their frame, C-tables make excellent, unobtrusive TV trays for a few reasons. The first? They just look like simple but stylish modern side tables.
Why Do They Work?
So what makes C-tables more usable as TV trays than any other end table? The asymmetrical frame means that in addition to sitting next to your sofa or chairs, they can also slide underneath them – putting the tabletop right over your lap at perfect eating height. This type of tray table comes in a wide variety of sizes and styles, but on the whole they’re both more attractive and less likely to advertise that you use them for eating in the living room.
Worried About Height?
The big drawback with C-tables is that it does take a little care to ensure you get one that’s the right height. Sofas, tables, and laps all come in different sizes, and you absolutely want to make sure that the table you choose is a good fit for the sofa/lap combo you’ll be using it with. After all, a tray that’s way too high (or worse and more likely, just a little too short) will be uncomfortable or impossible to use for eating. For more flexibility (like using the table for different seats), look for ones that are height-adjustable. It’ll narrow your options a little, but is your best bet for guaranteeing a comfortable fit.
Find Your Style
That said, even the simplest rectangular C-tables are available in a wide variety of modern materials, from metal, glass, and leather all the way up to fine marble or granite tops. Lately, I’ve also seen a surge in tables topped with food-safe, easy-to-clean Melamine with a pretty convincing stone finish. Quality materials make for a sturdy, nicely weighty (but still easy to move) piece that you can keep placed beside your sofa or chair and simply turn and slide it when you need it. The look is infinitely more sophisticated than your average folding table, but will still give you the utility you need.
Upgrade Your Coffee Table?
Since the original writing of this post, multi-function, folding coffee tables have gone from being the next-big-thing to a novelty. Which is a shame; I still stand by coffee tables that have hinged tops you can raise and pull toward the sofa to use as a counter-height table. That said, if you don’t want to rely on hefty hardware or a transforming table, I’ll offer this instead: a coffee table that comes with paired or integrated lap trays. These are an odd-but-fun option if you’ll use them often, and have a neater, more polished finish than simply leaving a lap desk hanging out next to your sofa.
Keep It Bite Sized
Last but not least, what if you don’t eat meals in the living room, but could use a table for drinks or snacks? X-frame TV tables almost intrinsically evoke the image of eating a microwave dinner in front of the television, but that’s far from the only way one of these tables can be useful. And lately I’ve seen a huge growing trend to fill this niche: drink tables. That is, itty bitty pillars or slim, petite C-tables designed to be just big enough for a wine glass and whatever snack you set on your cocktail napkin. The same strategy holds: choose nice looking tables that you can slide next to your chair or over your lap, but that will blend right in to your living room when you aren’t using them. These, too, come in a few different modern designs.
Even the classiest among us succumb to the temptation of eating in front of the TV once in a while. But that doesn’t mean you have to make a mess or clutter your home with a lot of extra furniture. In fact, with the right TV trays, no one will never know your secret…unless you want to show them how your awesome new table works!
Shop Tray Tables: