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Party Dessert Table Ideas – 17 Tips to Make your Sweets Table Decor a Hit

Putting together a great looking table for desserts and sweets is not as hard as you might think. These easy party dessert table ideas will rock your next gathering.

Do you have an upcoming occasion where you will be serving special desserts? Many get togethers, such as wedding and baby showers, mother’s day teas, charity events and the holidays will often have a sweets table to showcase some lovely dessert offerings.

I’ve put together my 17 ideas for making sure your dessert table is really something special. Be careful though, after seeing the way you put together your sweets table decor, your guests may want you to host every gathering from now on!

Be sure to check out this post for other cooking and kitchen tips. They will help you get the most out of your time in the kitchen.

Cupcakes, and other sweet treats set up on a dessert table.

Are you having a party soon? Dessert tables are a popular gathering spot. Get some ideas for making your sweets table a hit. #desserttable #sweettreats 🍪🍰🎂🍨 Click To Tweet

Dress up your special desserts with these party dessert table ideas

Putting together a special table for desserts for an upcoming party may seem like a daunting task, but it really isn’t.

Just keep these treat table ideas and tips in mind and planning will be a breeze.

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1. Keep the dessert table decor suited to the guests for the party

It doesn’t do any good to have a frilly and romantic sweets table, if the occasion is a some kind of child’s party. The adults may like the decor, but the kids surely won’t!

Perhaps your guests are older, and wild colors may not appeal to them. 

Think of who your guests will be first, and then decorate the party table with them in mind.

Kids with arms raised and balloons and party food.

2. Pick a theme to start your dessert table set up

What is the occasion for your party? You will want to incorporate the theme of the party into the all aspects of the table, so choosing one is very important.

A Halloween desserts table will look very different from one for a baby shower! Once you know your theme, you’ll be able to coordinate desserts to match that look.

Pumpkin cake pops and ,monster cookies on a sweets table for Halloween.

3.  Choose your colors for the sweets table decor

After choosing the theme, move on to the colors. You will want a cohesive look when you are done. Choose your colors and then work around this with plates, napkins, and tablecloth.

Most importantly, make sure the desserts themselves coordinate with your colors if you can. There are lots of ways to bring colors into your desserts themselves for a cohesive look.

Sweets table with lots of blue desserts.

These blue cakes and cupcakes would look fabulous on a beach wedding dessert table.

4. Add heights to your sweets table

Height is essential when you are trying to figure out how to set up a dessert table. This adds interest to the display and allow you to use the tallest placement for your most special desserts.

The dessert table below uses many items to add height to the look of the table. Cake tiers, desserts with serving forks inserted and and pedestals all offer an opportunity to add height to the table.

Even the sweet treat signs and pedestal covers seem to be a part of the overall look.

Party dessert table ideas: Cakes and other desserts on a table with lots of height.

5. Using levels

You will keep your guest’s eyes moving over the table if you use levels to take you from table level to the higher displays. This also adds balance and symmetry to the display.

Cakes and other desserts on levels on a party table.

This technique can easily be done by placing cakes on pedestals of differing heights.

Dessert table ideas on a budget: You can accomplish the same look with overturned plates glued to sturdy glasses from a thrift store if you don’t want the cost of additional serving dishes of the right height.

Using more than one level is effective. Notice how the eye moves from one the table level to the tallest cake on this table of tasty desserts.

6. Pick a focal point for your best dessert

Choose one really special dessert – such as the tower of macarons shown below to showcase on party table.  If you don’t have a tall dessert, a  beautiful display of flowers that ties the colors of the table together will also make a good focal point.

Tower of macarons on a party table.

The focal point does not have to be the tallest either. Choose an area where your gaze would naturally linger on.

All of the desserts on this table are lovely to look at, but the tower with pastel colors and elephant on the top draws the eyes up. The similar animals on the other cake tops tie in with the subtle colors of the other desserts.

7. Make use of a back drop 

Most dessert tables look best when placed against a wall or background that can be tied into the look of the table. Backgrounds can be created in many ways.

Try using wallpaper, fabric or any number of other resources.  Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration. 

Even using just a single dessert in front of an interesting backdrop adds a dramatic look to a dessert table.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on this either. This simple look is very effective and just uses some soft cloth in back and a wood slice to showcase the cake and drink.

8. Be Creative with the desserts you choose 

No matter how well you decorate your dessert table, if you just have a few brownies, or chocolate chip cookies, it is not going to look special.

If you try to be a little more creative with your dessert table set up, you’ll end up with a more professional look that will wow your guests.

Try serving cupcakes with fancy cupcake wrappers, home made truffles covered in sprinkles, personalized cookies, pretty petit fours, specialty candy and other creative treats.

Decorate the top of cakes or cupcakes in a special way for a delightful look.

Decorated pastel cupcakes in fancy liners.

More simple party dessert table ideas for displaying sweets

Once you have your theme and colors and overall party idea figured out, there are lots of other things that will add to the overall look of your dessert table.

9. Special serving trays add a touch of class to a sweet treat table  

There is no room on a dessert table for a metal 8 x 8 baking pan!  Now is the time to bring out your prettiest containers. 

Add some apothecary jars for small desserts and pretty plates for petit fours.

Place the cake on a pretty cake stand. Doing things like this will really dress up your table and make it special.

This easy candy table is all decked out for Independence Day in a patriotic way. See the tutorial for these easy 4th of July candy jars. It is simple to put together and it’s low cost is great for dessert table ideas on a budget.

4th July candy table

10. Should you label desserts for your party table?

Some people label every dessert, but I feel that this is unnecessary. Most of the time I don’t label at all, unless the dessert is really something that the guests would not guess the ingredients (the flavor of a frosted cupcake, for instance.)

If you really want to label, how about a chalkboard menu instead?

dessert menu on a chalkboard

11. Don’t plan for too many desserts

Yes, it is wonderful to have some desserts that say “wow,” but if you try to make them all do this, you will be a slave to the kitchen the week before the event. 

Pick just a few really special desserts, choose wisely on their placement and then round out the table with some that are much easier to prepare.

A good rule of thumb is 1 or 2 really special items (which could be bought), 2-3 home made desserts and then 2-3 candy items which can be purchased.  Store bought can be your best friend at a time like this!Good proportions for a dessert table

12. Manage the space on your dessert table 

If you put your desserts fairly close together, the finished look will be one of abundance.  If your table is larger than the amount of desserts, fill in spaces with creative color matching flowers, or other decorations.Crowded dessert table

13. Moderation is key

It is easy to get carried away with a table bursting with desserts.  Your guests will be tempted by them for sure, but won’t eat them all if you have too many.

A table full of sweet treats may look fabulous but do you want these desserts calling your name next week if your guests don’t finish them?

Brownies and cupcakes for a sweets table.

14. Make your dessert table the right Size

Be sure to choose your table size with your number of guests and the amount of desserts that you will be serving. 

If you don’t, you will either end up with way too many desserts or a table that will need to be filled with too many other items.

If you are using heights, as you should, the table size will be much smaller than you may think. This lovely table is the perfect size for the food and extra decorations.

15. Dessert table ideas on a budget – re-purpose dishes to keep the cost down

Once you have the theme and the colors, you can look around your home to see what can be re-purposed for the table. Stuffed animals are perfect for kid’s dessert tables.

A set of pastel ice cream bowls will make great candy dishes for an Easter party table.pastel bowls and matching spoons

16. Summer dessert table ideas.

Having desserts outside in the summer months can be a challenge because of the heat. See my tips for a summer dessert table here.

Timing is the key here. Serve items in individual sized portions with eating utensils in the dessert.

Bring out these desserts at serving time, especially if they contain cream or frozen desserts.

Individual sized portions with serving spoons inserted into dessert.

17. Easy Recipes for Your Dessert Table

Getting ready and setting up a dessert table takes a lot of time, so use common sense when it comes to choosing the types of desserts you will be serving.

Some of my favorites are easy bar recipes. They are quick to assemble, very tasty and seem to disappear quickly on any dessert table.

I’ve put together a collection of over 25 of my tested bar and slices recipes that are sure to be a success on any dessert table.

Strawberry oatmeal bars, lemon bars, apple bars and raspberry bars in a collage.

Once you have incorporated these tips, have fun!  No matter how your table looks, your guests will love what you have put together. It isn’t about perfection but about sharing and having fun with friends.
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Special desserts to try

By now, you may be wondering what to add to your dessert table. Why not try one of these really Special desserts? Any of them would look wonderful on a dessert table.

French Chocolate Silk pie with words reading 25 special occasion desserts.

1.  7 layer Bars – aka “Magic Bars” really have a magical taste!

2. Snickers Peanut Butter Cookies

3.  Elegant Eggnog Dessert.

4.  Lemon Snowball Cookies

5.  Pecan Pie Cookies

6.  Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta.

7.  Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

8. Strawberry Buttercream Cupcakes

9.  Skittles Sugar Cookies

10. Neopolitan Cream Filled Cupcakes.

11. Melting Moment Cookies

12. Peach Cookies.

13. Confetti Cookies.

14. Edible Teacup Cookies.

15. Best Yellow Cake with Candy Kiss and Wafer Decoration.

16. French Silk Chocolate Pie.

17. Chocolate Coconut Balls.

18. Chocolate Pudding Cupcakes with Strawberry Centers.

19. Orange Sponge Cake Roll.

20. Spiral Sugar Cookies.

21. Champagne Cake.

22. Want your guests to feel really special?  Offer them Billionaire Bars!

23. White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

24. Orange Cheesecake Bars

25. Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Pin these party dessert table ideas for later

Would you like a reminder of these ideas for putting together a sweets table?  Just pin this image to one of your party boards on Pinterest.

Party dessert ideas with words reading 17 dessert table ideas.

Admin note: This post about party dessert table ideas first appeared on the blog in July of 2013. I have updated the post to add a printable check list, new photos and tips and a video for you to enjoy.

Yield: 1 spectacular Party Table

Dessert Table Check List

Dessert Table Check List

Print out this check list and take it with you when you are shopping to make sure you don't forget anything when planning your dessert table.

30 minutes 30 minutes
2 hours 2 hours
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $25-50

Materials

  • Table
  • Tablecloths
  • Serving dishes
  • Party food

Tools

  • Printer
  • Printer paper

Instructions

  1. Consider your guests when planning to choose the right table
  2. Decide on a theme.
  3. Choose the overall party colors.
  4. Use heights and levels to make the eye move around the table.
  5. Have at least one focal point on the table.
  6. Use a back drop behind your focal point.
  7. Be creative with desserts and displays.
  8. Use special serving trays.
  9. Consider adding a chalkboard menu.
  10. Don't plan for too many desserts.
  11. Place desserts close together and use moderation in numbers.
  12. Keep the table and amount of desserts in balance.
  13. Repurpose old dishes to keep costs down.
  14. If you are doing the cooking plan easy desserts.

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