When it comes to home decor we all want simple and affordable ways to add style and flair to our home.  Today I wanted to share with you one of my favorite items to decorate with – TRAYS!  Growing up having trays in our household either meant we were sick or giving Mom breakfast in bed.  I love how something so useful and incredibly ordinary has exploded in the world of home decorating and for good reason!

In our home I pretty much use trays for everything, I constantly play around with them, and while some stay stationary others I’m constantly moving around.  A tray that might be on my coffee table one week could be on the kitchen table or in the guest room another week.  I’m always on the lookout new interesting designs to add to my collection and I find most trays are affordable.  It’s incredibly satisfying arranging useful or pretty objects on them, items that otherwise without a tray might look lost, too small, and out of place.

Below let me show you some of my favorite ways I’ve used trays in our home.  When you’re looking at these photos imagine the objects without a tray.  In nearly every situation it doesn’t work because not only do trays enhance your home they help anchor the objects on them and please the eye.



They cut down on clutter – This is a huge positive for me.  My nightstand especially used to look so cluttered, but now with those same exact objects on a tray it looks organized and nicely styled.  Trays work beautifully in kitchens and bathrooms too when you need to keep bottles and useful objects nearby.  Just moving those everyday cluttered counter objects to a tray visually calms the eye and creates a pleasing look.  Coffee table magazines look amazingly organized in trays as well.

They protect surfaces – Trays are more than just decorative, they protect furniture and sensitive stone surfaces.  There is no fear of objects moving around and doing damage.  A tufted ottoman with a tray is protected and now useful as a coffee table to hold items that would normally be impossible.   Another plus is that it is much easier to dust furniture, just move the tray to clean instead of moving a bunch of small objects.

They anchor objects and add style – It can be very frustrating decorating a space that you just can’t get right.  I’m sure you know what I mean, you move stuff around, tweak it, and it’s still off.  This is where trays come to the rescue.  Sometimes those items just need to be anchored with edges or contrast.  A picture frame, vase of flowers, or candle that looks plain or lost can suddenly look stunning with the right tray.

They tell a story – Sometimes you need a tray to contain your clutter, other times they’re purely for decoration and joy.  Use a tray to set up tiny objects to tell a story or reflect on the season.  Display small souvineer items, such as bowls of stones, shells, pinecones, or books.  Create groupings of family heirlooms, display jewelry, or create a wine, coffee, or tea bar in your kitchen.

They’re so versatile –  They can be used over and over, moved around to pretty much any space, and bonus you can actually use them for their original purpose serving!  We spend a lot of time outdoors early in the summer and I’m always using trays to serve drinks and snacks outdoors, and yes let’s not forget the ol’ breakfast in bed – a true luxury!


Opposites attract, so mix up the elements when you’re decorating a space.  Metal, glass, and stone trays add great visual interest to wood surfaces.  Using wood trays on glass, metal, or stone surfaces adds warmth to your environment, mirrored trays will reflect light and add a touch of sparkle.  Consider natural fiber trays such as rattan or hyacinth to add texture to any surface, including wood or stone, for a charming effect.  Fabric ottomans or benches become so much more useful and stylish with trays.

Be sure to have fun with different shapes as well.  A round or freeform tray can soften any harsh lines or angles from a square or rectangle surface, while square or rectangle trays can add visual interest to any round surfaces.  Of course there are always exceptions to every rule, sometimes round on round or square on square looks best.  The point is to just have fun coming up with different style combinations.  You can add a little pizazz to your home with bright colorful or patterned trays.

When it comes to styling the objects on the tray the sky’s the limit.  There are no rules, but try using items of various shapes, textures, and heights for an interesting look.  Small bowls and decorative boxes do well to add more interest and contain small items.  You can create a bold effect by using a group of similar objects such as candles or vases.

If you’re unsure what kind of tray to use, take inspiration from the objects you’re going to place on it, working with the same concept.  If you have an old ugly tray and it’s just being used for decorating purposes then try spray painting it.  Oh, how I love my spray paint, especially gold!  So go have some fun and style a tray for yourself with some favorite or useful objects.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I’ll see you next week!







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