Special Nonexistent Furniture

Decorating with Trays in Every Room

by Jackie Hernandez

Jackie Hernandez blogs at Teal & Lime, sharing her daily adventures taking a basic builder house and making it a DIY modern home. Jackie believes you are the best person to decorate your own home. Teal & Lime empowers readers to decorate in an easy and approachable way through simple DIY and decorating ideas, online decorating services, and decorating e-courses. Teal & Lime will inspire you to make it home, make it you.

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  • coffee tray
    Photo: Jackie Hernandez
  • Trays are a styling staple because they solve a multitude of decorating problems. Trays help corral smaller items and instantly eliminate visual clutter. A bunch of small objects on a tray reads as one item, not a bunch of stuff. Trays can add a layer of color, texture, or pattern between a surface and the decorative items on top of it. Trays can turn almost any surface into a table.

    Here are the 10 trays you need to style every surface in your home:

    1. Serving Tray.


    Get those serving trays out of the cupboards and put them to good use every day, not just when you have company. One great place to use a serving tray is on the kitchen counter to corral countertop items, like this coffee bar on a bamboo serving tray (above).

    2. Silver Platter


    Another tray that doesn't have to stay hidden away waiting for company is a sliver tray. A little shine to any space by using a silver tray under a cluster of vases to create a centerpiece or under your collection of perfume or cologne bottles.
  • decorating with trays
    Photo: Jackie Hernandez
  • 3. Long and Narrow Tray


    When a space is shallow you'll be happy to have a long narrow tray. Use this tray to layout long necklaces on the top of a dresser or as a pretty patterned layer on a narrow bookshelf.
  • decorating with trays
    Photo: Jackie Hernandez
  • 4. Round Tray


    A round ottoman calls for a round tray; but round trays can also be used to break up the boxiness of any rectangular surface.

    5. Catchall Tray


    You can always find a spot for a small catchall tray. The bedroom is an ideal place to use a variety of small trays. A flat tray on the nightstand doubles as a coaster and a spot for watches, jewelry, and spare change.
  • decorating with trays
    Photo: Jackie Hernandez
  • 6. Trinket Tray


    The littlest trays are perfect for catching pocket change, jewelry, keys, or holding business cards. I love layering a trinket tray on top of a larger tray on an ottoman to hold the TV remote.

    7. Tiered Tray


    When space is at a premium, go vertical. Tiered trays can almost double your storage space. We use a tiered tray on our bathroom counter to hold small beauty products. They're also a stylish way to store jewelry--let the earrings dangle off the top tier.

    8. Vanity Tray


    On the vanity or even on top of the toilet tank, a vanity tray is a glamorous way to display perfumes, lotions, nail polishes, and small toiletries.

    9. Paper Tray


    A well-styled office is clutter free. Papers can get out of control fast, so keep them neat and tidy in a multi-level paper tray.

  • decorating with trays
    Photo: Jackie Hernandez
  • 10. Mirrored Tray


    Add instant glamour to any surface with a mirrored tray. Ideal for the top of a bar cart, a vanity, or anywhere you want a little extra sparkle. Remember, when displaying items on a mirrored tray everything will be reflected in the mirror, so make sure the bottom side of your objects is just as pretty as the top. Tip: Candles (whether lit or unlit) are especially pretty on a mirrored tray.
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