the old barn

A tufted ottoman table holds a white square tray holding a plant, wooden candle sticks and a bowl of heart shaped rocks.

How to Use Trays in Your Decor…and Why You Should

June 29, 2021

Trays, shallow baskets or bowls, platters, and even cutting boards are all great tools for your decorating toolbox no matter your style.

These items are not only beautiful, but they are also very useful and functional. One might even say using tray in your decor make everything ‘tres belle.’

I love to use trays in my decor. They are perfect for corralling small items that need a home or place, to keep them from wandering or looking scattered.

The shallow basket below holds 3 items that would appear disjointed without it.

I love creating pretty vignettes using a tray to contain it.

Sometimes one item as a centerpiece doesn’t feel like enough. Using a cutting board as a base, you can group functional and decorative items for a relaxed, yet pulled-together look.

The tray on the wicker trunk below provides a stable flat surface for decor and a good place to set a glass or mug.

Without this tray, the unevenness of the wicker would cause the vase to be tilted and drinking glasses would be likely to spill.

The white tray on the ottoman coffee table provides the same function. Both of these trays can also be quickly and easily removed, along with the items they hold, to get inside the trunk or put your feet up for a movie night.

Also, if a spill does occur, these trays contain the runoff and protect the surfaces below them.

Trays or shallow bowls are perfect for displaying collections like this heart-shaped bowl of heart-shaped rocks.

Collections usually look best when grouped together.

Use a bathtub tray to add texture, interest, life, and warmth to you bathroom.

Besides holding the items you want to keep dry while bathing, a bathtub tray gives an extra surface to add decor when you’re not bathing.

With lots of white and hard surfaces, bathrooms can tend to feel cold and lifeless.

A tray allows you to introduce warm wood tones and candle light.

It can also provide a surface to add life and texture with a small plant.

One of my favorite reasons for using trays is I can quickly move a group of items for easy cleaning.

This enameled tray holds a pretty flower arrangement and our scrub brush for dishes.

When it’s time to wipe the counters, it all can be picked up and replaced with one hand while I clean with the other.

You can find the above tray HERE

To sum it all up, trays are not only pretty, but they SERVE the following helpful functions:

  1. Base for pretty vignettes
  2. Protect surfaces from scratches or spills
  3. Contain or provide “Home” for small items that would otherwise look scattered or not be returned to their place
  4. Quickly remove groups of items for easy cleaning and dusting
  5. Easily make surfaces available for fun like games or puzzles, etc.
  6. Add warmth, life and texture to your bathroom
  7. Provide a level surface for decor and beverages
  8. Contain/group a collection together for display
  1. SARAH GUITON says:

    Could you tell me where you got the striped throw? And I just love your pillow combinations. I’m having the hardest time piecing everything together for our new couches. I love the blues and I’m having trouble finding the right color. We are building our farmhouse. Any words of advice how not get discouraged and keep your eye on the end goal?. Some of the rooms in our house are finished While others are not. And the process seems so daunting. Decorating from scratch it’s harder than I thought! I always thought this would be my dream to decorate everything from scratch but my personality is so impatient and I’m wanting to set all the rooms up right away. And I’m just not able to do that. Any insights would be wonderful. I feel like I’m making trying to make too many decisions too fast and it’s resulting in things not coming together the way I want.

    • Jessica Starr says:

      Hi Sarah,
      the striped throw on the living room chair is from Schweitzer Linen. I plan to do a round up soon of throws so stay tuned for that! If you’re drawn to blues, go with that! I truly believe that if you choose items you love it will all come together. I like to start with a light bright neutral base and choose neutral colors on the items that are more expensive and will be in my home for many years like a sofa. I save pops of color for the easier to change items like throws and pillows and even rugs. That way as my tastes change, I’m not stuck.I hope that helps!

  2. […] I have a whole blog post about trays HERE. […]

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