How to Create a Multi-Level Food Service Table

This multi-level food table is a beautiful way to optimize space and add artistry and visual interest to any buffet-style service.

My dear friend and World-Beautifier owns Adyson Lane Events in the greater Phoenix area and she shared with me this simple way to stack tables for not only optimizing table space, but to add visual interest and dimension to food service areas. We used this technique two different ways for the two wedding receptions we had for our son and daughter-in-law. Both ways were stunning and helped maximize the table space, but they also became the centerpiece for the food service and made the food easily accessible for many people at one time.

For the first reception we used two long folding tables and placed them side by side in the center of the room which we were using for the food buffet. By placing them side by side we created a square base, then we covered the entire table with table cloths that went to the floor. It is important to get the table cloths that touch the floor so that you hide the table legs and keep the focus on the food.

Once the two long tables were set up and covered with tablecloths, we used three plastic bins of equal size to serve as the base for the top layer. You could use crates or buckets of any size as long as they are sturdy because they will be taking the weight of another layer.

We placed the three bins equal distance from each other (like a triangle) on the middle portion of the two long tables. On top of the bins, we placed a smaller square table with the legs folded up so we were only using the table top. We already had the smaller square card table but you could also use a round table instead of a square one which is also really beautiful and creates a lovely juxtaposition to the big square base created from the two long tables. Either way is fine, you're really just creating layers.

Once we had the top table in place we covered that with table cloths, tucking the ends loosely under the edges of the top table. The layered table was then ready for the food for the reception and we also added a few pictures, candles, and greenery to fill in the spaces and provide variety to the table.

We also incorporated some log pieces into the food table to create even more dimension to the area.

*These pictures were taken before we had all of the food out but you can see how the layering added some dimension. The tables were filled up with food and nobody had to reach over to the middle of the table to get to it. Everything was within arms reach and because we placed it in the center of the room rather than against a wall, our guest were able to easily walk around the table and not have to "line up."


For the second reception, we used the same concept but we had a different configuration for the tables, due to what we had to work with at the venue. The tables there were long but very narrow. To create width to the narrow tables,we set up four long tables, two side by side, the other two side by side, then we place the two groups end to end creating a very long table. We then took a few more narrow tables and place them end to end on top of the crates we had there. Rather than having a square service area like the first reception, we now had a rectangular service area. We covered the tables with the table cloths just like we did at the first reception and then brought in the food, and added some greenery once again.

We used layered serving trays at this reception which again made the food accessible and beautifully displayed.

This simple technique doesn't require much extra work but it sure does take the display of food to the next level. I love how each reception turned out and that we were able to take the same structural idea and make it unique to the space we had.

Create a Beautiful Life!

xoxo Karen

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