Nothing sets the mood for a party quite like a snack table. Whether you have guests coming to watch the big game or you’re hosting your annual cocktail party, snack tables are a must. In this guide, we’ll help you create the perfect snack table for any event, complete with tips, tricks, and stylish options to upgrade your space.
Snack table basics
Setting up a snack table is relatively simple if you focus on the basics. However, if you host events frequently, you can translate these basics into a complete snack table checklist to use every time.
A tablecloth is a must-have whether you’re using an inexpensive folding table or a dining table. Guests, snacks, and parties make a messy combination, and a table cloth helps contain the mess. This is especially helpful since most snack tables end up in the living room.
If possible, pick a themed tablecloth to add a festive atmosphere to the event you’re celebrating, such as football motifs or holiday patterns. If themed tablecloths aren’t your thing, choose a color that goes with your event.
Hot, cold, and drink zones
Use masking tape on the table cloth to divide the table into thirds to designate hot, cold, and drink zones. Label the zones by writing on the masking tape and using arrows or whatever you need as a guide. Then, remove the tape before your guests arrive but after you’ve set out your snacks.
The hot and drink zones are self-explanatory, but the cold zone will be for refrigerated and room-temperature foods. You might also designate a small space for servingware, such as cups, plates, napkins, and utensils; or you could set these on a small accent table beside the snack table.
Featured foods are those that took time to prepare or were ordered special for the event. Anything homemade, pricey, or time-consuming counts, and you don’t need to make more than five or six featured items.
This is where you pull out that killer queso dip recipe everyone loves, your favorite cupcakes, or your signature slow cooker chili. Look for easy 2- or 3-ingredient recipes if the event is fast approaching. A few favorites:
Remember, delivery food like pizza or wings also counts if you don’t have time to make something from scratch.
Once you have five or six featured dishes, fill the rest of the table with easy snacks. Chips, pretzels, fruit platters, cookies, veggie trays, hummus, nuts, and trail mix are some quick examples but don’t be afraid to mix it up.
What matters is that your tabletop has an assortment of snacks for everyone to enjoy and graze on as the party continues.
Bonus: Snack table tips
The four basics above will help you create a dynamite snack table on your own. But these snack table tips will make sure you nail it.
- Double up: Add twice as many easy snacks as you have feature foods. So, if you have five feature foods, add 10 easy snacks.
- Make it a potluck: Ask each guest to bring something if you’re short on time. Assume that a few people will probably bring something even if you don’t ask.
- Consider a themed snack tray or a DIY snack board: Football-themed serving trays are trendy and typically have plenty of room to contain chips, dips, veggies, and more.
- Decorate around the table: You don’t have to change all of your home decor, but some themed decorations around the table can set a fun mood for guests.
- Don’t forget guests with dietary restrictions: Unless you’re positive that no one coming has dietary restrictions, it’s best to offer a few vegan snacks with no meat, fish, dairy, butter, or other animal products. Have some gluten-free options as well.
- Keep TV snack tables at the ready: A snack tray table for each guest or shared between a couple of guests can minimize the mess you have to clean up later. It’s also more convenient (and hygienic) for your guests.
- Offer a range of drinks: Examples include water, sparkling water, juice, beer, champagne, coffee, espresso, and punch.
Our favorite snack tables
You officially have the ingredients for tasty snack table treats. Now it’s time to consider the table itself. If you want to use furniture you already have, consider any combination of bedroom, home office, or living room pieces. Here are some ideas:
- Plastic folding table
- Free-standing bar unit or wine storage rack
- Coffee tables
- Sofa side tables
- End tables
- Console tables
- Laptop desks
- Foldable TV tray table sets
- Bed tables
You have options if you’re using smaller furniture, like laptop tables or ottomans. For example, you might push them together to make one bigger snack table. Or you could keep them slightly separate, using hot, cold, and drink tables instead of zones.
Whatever you do, make sure you top soft furniture like ottomans and poufs with a stable surface. You could use a piece of plywood, a few boards, bed trays, serving trays, or even cutting boards in a pinch.
Designated snack tables
If you entertain frequently, it’s often easier to purchase a snack table than to improvise for every event. Below are some of our best snack tables to help you find a perfect fit.
Sorrel 3-Door Server
The Sorrel 3-Door Server is boldly designed with a hand-stenciled pattern across the front that’s sure to impress your guests. With spacious cabinets underneath, you’ll have plenty of room to store all of your snack table essentials when they’re not in use. The cabinet features a light walnut finish with natural wood grain for rustic charm.
Pro tip: A server is your best option if you like to host. Check out our full selection of servers for more options.
3-Piece Faux Marble Top Occasional Table Set
This 3-Piece Faux Marble Top Occasional Table Set is an excellent multipurpose option. It includes a coffee table and two end tables, and you can use all three as snack tables when hosting. When you’re not hosting, the end tables are perfect accents for your favorite sofa or sectional.
Pro tip: Most nested table sets that include a coffee table work well for game day snack tables when you don’t have room for (or want) a server table.
Mindo Rectangular Counter Height Table
The Mindo Rectangular Counter Height Table is a multipurpose piece you can use as a dining table, home office desk, or snack table. It’s made from solid Sheesham wood with an iron double trestle base for stability. And thanks to the two-tone finish, the solid wood tabletop has an earthy, rustic vibe.
Pro tip: You could keep this piece in the living room if you have the space. If not, you might use it as a dining room table that you move to the den for game night.
5-Piece Tray Table Set
We recommended providing guests with TV snack tables, so we had to include this 5-Piece Tray Table Set. These pieces are beautiful and functional with a cappuccino finish and solid wood construction. The set consists of four collapsible wood snack tables and one tray table stand for storage between uses.
Bonus: This folding snack table set with a storage rack comes in golden brown for those who prefer a lighter finish.
It’s party time!
Putting together the perfect snack table is a rewarding experience. Nothing beats watching your guests happily munching away and milling around the arrangement you’ve designed for them.
If you want more ideas for a designated snack table, check out our Coaster Furniture console and sofa tables for more options. And when you’re ready to buy, use our store locator to find a retail outlet near you.
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