5 Simple Steps to Create a Dessert Table

5 tips for designing dessert tables

It’s fun to indulge in a variety of sweets on occasion, so I designed this display to illustrate 5 simple elements to create a dessert table. I’m going to break them down for you below, with a little help from Cold Stone Creamery and their specialty ice cream cake as the centerpiece.

First let me tell you my thoughts on this design.  I love the look of dessert tables but the pragmatist in me thinks they can be overwhelming with too many options to choose from.  That’s why I like to focus on one key dessert – in this case They Call it Truffle Love” cake from Cold Stone – and fill in with items that complement the focal point.  Check out the photos and my tips for putting it all together…
5 simple steps to create a dessert table banner with heart detailcake as centerpiece 5 Cold Stone csc 6 champagne 7 strawberries 8 pretzel sticks 9 cupcakes and trufflesdiy heart banner tablecloth red and white dessert table

Focus on these 5 simple elements to create a dessert table:

  1. Tablecloth – For this table the tablecloth is a stand out feature and the secret is…it’s a shower curtain!  That’s right, as I was shopping around for something unrelated {at Bed, Bath, and Beyond} I stumbled across this textured shower curtain.  The size is right and it inspired the entire look of the design.  Think outside the box when you need fabric and table coverings.  Curtains, shower curtains, even sheets can all do double duty here.
  2. Focal Dessert – Spend your money and/or time wisely and invest in one awesome dessert.  This ice cream cake, They Call it Truffle Love, is made up of layers of red velvet cake & fudge truffle ice cream, wrapped in rich fudge ganache and chocolate shavings.  It’s pretty spectacular, from Cold Stone Creamery.
  3. Hanging Garland – Nothing rounds out a celebratory space more than some type of hanging decor.  There’s no need to go very elaborate either.  This simple strand of gold glitter paper hearts hung with gold washi tape adds a modern finishing touch above the desserts.  I made it myself by cutting out hearts from scrapbook paper and stringing them onto gold & white bakers twine.
  4. Crafty Accents – Because the little details count, it’s nice to add a few crafty touches to the table.  Here, I used a small bag of red glitter heart stickers, and some gold paint.  At first glance those red stickers seem rather cheesy and only appropriate for children’s projects, but when used sparingly and unexpectedly they add a touch of whimsy to a display that’s attractive to all ages.  I added a couple to the hanging garland, and to the corners of a platter.  Those tiny pops of red keep the eye moving around the entire space.  As for the gold paint, I just spray painted the champagne bottle around the bottom 2/3 because I don’t want to get too close to the opening since it’s not ‘food safe.’  I didn’t even tape off the stop line because I like the faded look of the paint at the edge.
  5. Store bought items – Make it easy on your self by filling in with store bought items like mini cupcakes, chocolate dipped pretzels, truffle candies, and fresh strawberries.  The colors coordinate with the rest of the palette and the flavors and textures balance out as well.

These tips will help you create a beautiful, functional, but still easy to handle, dessert table for any occasion.  This design would work well for other “love” themed parties too, like a bridal shower or engagement party, since the colors are fairly neutral with pops of red and some hearts thrown in.

12 cold stone creamery truffle love cake14 Cold Stone Truffle Love cake

create a dessert display in 5 easy steps #desserttable #valentinesday

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About Chris

Chris Nease is a party stylist and home entertaining expert with over 15 years of experience. In addition to her work as founding editor of Celebrations At Home, Chris is an editorial stylist and has contributed to Homes.com, SheKnows, and countless other websites. Most recently she was featured in Celebrate magazine, and her work has been published in Woman's World, Ocala Style, Yum Food & Fun for Kids, and Cottages & Bungalows.


  1. This is stunning Chris! I’m more of a pink girl myself, but this color combo and the deep dark brown in the cake is just perfection.

    • Thanks Jessica. I wanted something that could go beyond just Valentine’s day inspiration. I really like this color combo – somewhat unexpected. And I’ve always loved how well red and brown go together!

  2. I really like how you styled this table- so elegant. I’ve ordered some cake pops and my 6 year old daughter is having a few friends over for a “tea” party.

  3. I wish I could say I am doing something wonderful with my husband, but I’ll be helping with my son and daughter’s school parties. I will make a nice dessert for later that night. I’m totally NOT lame at all, eh?!?!?!?

  4. Now I want cake for breakfast. Gorgeous.

  5. OH My LOVE this but my fav part is the shower curtain table cloth! HUGE WOW! GORGEOUS!!!

  6. As far a celebrating, well the hubby will be working – so we will likely celebrate another day instead, which i like bc i hate the crowds just bc its a holiday :) I love me a steak dinner and a babysitter lol (mom of 5 under 12) and im not a roses type of gal, id rather have an airbrush, or cake tools..

  7. laura londergan says:

    Super fun post, easy to follow tips and love the ‘table cloth’ . . .looks amazing! That cake looks soooooo good and who doesn’t just LOVE ice cream cake? As far as I’m concerned it’s the ONLY cake! ;)

  8. Love, love your tablecloth/shower curtain and I would love that cake for our Valentines day. Beautiful table as always.

  9. We will celebrate at home with our 2 sons and have a nice dinner then watch a movie afterwards…I will set up a small dessert table for them and your table provides the perfect inspiration :) Thank you!!!

  10. I’m going to dinner with my mom

  11. With a romantic dinner with my husband on vacation in St. Augustine, FL!!

  12. wild orchid says:

    My hubby and I will have a romantic dinner at home!

    Entered the rafflecopter as “Wild orchid”

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  13. Debra Wostmann says:

    Beautiful and elegant setting. Loved the idea of a shower curtain for the table cloth….

  14. I am going to take my daughter to chuck e cheese

  15. Another special way to celebrate the Valentine Day. Only you would find a shower curtain to take your breath away. Love your hints and finds and creativity. Thank you.

  16. I let the kids pick their favorite dinner entree on Valentine’s Day so we usually end up eating filet mignon (daughter) and hot dogs (son)!

  17. We have a dinner date planned

  18. Gorgeous, simple, doable. Loving the cake too!

  19. We’re going to have a fun dinner at home with the kidlets!

  20. I celebrate Valentines day with LOVE :)

  21. Hubby and I are having a special dinner with a dear friend. Lots of food, fun and laughter will be on hand!

  22. I’ll celebrate by baking for my loved ones!

  23. Julie Hammonds says:

    This is simply beautiful, and that cake looks scrumptious!

  24. carol jane says:

    A quiet day/evening with my family and my 4 day old baby grandson Austin John!

  25. So pretty! My hubby and I will probably just stay in with pizza and a movie :)

  26. Shanna Uptergrove says:

    Not doing anything- my 10yo will be recuperating from tonsillectomy and my hubs will be recuperating from back shots.. fun fun.

  27. Mary Happymommy says:

    We go out to lunch and then exchange chocolates.

  28. With my son, my husband will be at work but he always makes a wonderful meal the night before or early in the morning so all I have to do is warm it up. We catch up on his break and snuggle when he gets home later that night. Thanks

  29. Colleen Boudreau says:

    I’m not doing anything special.

  30. A dinner out in Atlantic City

  31. just going out to eat

  32. yajaira p. says:

    I actually have this shower curtain…hope i w8n i would love to try this out for my daughters baptism :)

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