Not many people I know have a dining room nowadays. It’s an extra room that can’t be made useful except at mealtimes, or has become repurposed to serve another function. Most of us aren’t at home preparing lavish meals, and sometimes we just have a few minutes before we get to the next thing on our schedule. Other times, we do want to relax and watch something while we eat.

Sofa arm tray tables are smaller and easier to use than the tray tables that became popular in the 1950’s, and come in a wide array of materials with extras like pouches to hold electronics, drink holders, and storage space. Amazon is full of options, including those sold by DM Concepts and Meistar. They’re quite affordable, hovering around just thirty dollars.

Of course, if you’re a DIY-er at heart, you may want to tackle this project head on and make your own version of the sofa arm tray table. You could use all sorts of materials, including wooden boxes or bamboo placemats, small plastic tubs or organizers, and rope or cord to secure the tray table to the sofa arm. You can cover it in pleather, stiff upholstery fabric, or even felt if you prefer. Make sure you measure and create a sort of guideline or pattern before you begin.

Whether you decide to DIY or purchase one of these, it’s an easy way to keep spills to a minimum while keeping everything perfectly tidy.