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  • Writer's pictureAmy Blossom

How To Decorate With Trays

I am not an interior designer, but I know what I love to use when I decorate my home. One of my favorite ways to decorate is with displays of things I love.

I am drawn to rustic and farmhouse inspired items, but I also love vintage and glam as well. As I was walking through my house this past week, I was smiling at all of the things I have acquired that add to the charm of my home. Many of the items I have are things that I have made or repurposed and some are gifts or have a special meaning to me.

Today, I want to share with you my favorite way to feature all of my favorite things…in trays.

I am a little particular when it comes to how I decorate. I love symmetry and organization so the things that I have displayed throughout my home mirror my particularity.

For example, I always use something with height, greenery or floral items, pieces made of different materials (like wood, metal & ceramic) and each item must look as if it belongs with every other item within the display. Would you believe that I have at least 12 tray displays throughout my home? I didn’t realize just how many I had until I counted. For some this may seem like a little much, but I love each and every one.


Why decorate with trays and baskets:

  • For me, decorating this way gives the pieces cohesion. It gives a sense of belonging rather than just having random pieces sitting around. Sure, I have random pieces here and there in my home, but decorating with trays and baskets gives more interest to a table or nightstand or even a bathroom counter.

  • I love organization and this is the perfect way to organize your pieces into pretty, interesting groups while at the same time eliminating clutter

  • Using different materials adds texture to a random table or empty hallway.

  • It gives you the ability to mix many of your favorite pieces in one place that you may not have otherwise thought looked good together.

  • Lastly, the trays can also function as a way to store items.

For example, on my family room coffee table, I have a wire basket where I have placed different decor pieces and a tray that not only holds decor pieces, but also a ceramic planter that I use to keep our remote controls and my husband's glasses close by. (Teal is the pop of color in this room and my baby Baxter in the middle picture loves how it looks, too!):


Where to place your displays:

Honestly, I have tray and basket displays all over my home, from the top of my refrigerator to my bathroom counter and every room in between. Specifically, however, you can place these items anywhere:

  • Ottoman

  • Coffee table

  • Dining room table

  • Nightstand

  • Kitchen (great for organization of kitchen utensils, etc.)

  • Nightstands

  • Bathroom (another great place to organize your items

And that list is just the beginning!

I have 3 trays in my kitchen: on my table, on my counter and on top of my refrigerator:

Here you can see that I have used three different types of trays. On my table I have a short crate made from old barn wood where I keep my napkins and S&P shakers and vintage bottles. On my counter I have a vintage pie pan with different size glass bottles and succulents. On top of my refrigerator (which I love, by the way) I turned the tray over to give the items some height.


What to place in your displays:

  • I always start with greenery or floral pieces and build from there. I love all of the artificial plants that are out right now. I’m sure that many people use real plants and flowers, but I do not have a green thumb, so I stick to my artificial items.

  • I also pick items of varying heights. I like to have one item that is taller than the rest and scatter the heights from there.

  • I like to mix materials as well. I try to have a metal piece, a wooden piece and a ceramic or glass piece. This is where the different textures look so awesome together. I also try to put a candle in each display, either real or flameless, doesn’t matter.

The first picture below is the tray I have in my guest room. Red is the accent color I have in there and I love it. This tray has a pretty white pitcher with red stripes filled with greenery, two red candle holders, 2 vintage containers and a beautiful gourd that was carved by my friend's very talented mom.

The second and third pictures are trays that I have in my upstairs hallway. You will notice that in the second picture I have greenery and cotton plants on a metal tray with an industrial night light and candle holder. In the last picture I used a sea grass charger plate as my tray and added a ceramic pitcher with greenery, a grapevine ball, and a cute little birdhouse with a small succulent inside.


Where to find items for your displays:

I find items everywhere, especially at thrift shops and estate sales. Many times I find things that I know will look good only when I upcycle or repurpose them, and trust me, I do just that! I also make a lot of the pieces.

In the first picture below, the tray is on my living room coffee table and everything in the tray has been repurposed, upcycled or made by me.

The second picture features a tray that sits on a cabinet in my dining room. The tray itself is metal and came covered with a canvas lining. This tray I purchased at a thrift store for about $3.00.

The last picture is a tray that I have in my bathroom. I bought the tray at Goodwill for $2.52 and painted and distressed it.

I do buy things at different brand stores. For example, I buy a lot of my greenery at Old Time Pottery. They have very inexpensive greenery and small picks that can be added to your displays. They also have a lot of little items that you can add to your displays.

I really don’t spend a lot of money on anything home décor because, well, I am frugal when it comes to that stuff, but I also love the challenge of finding unique things to repurpose or to create that will add interest to my home.


Lastly, I use trays to store things that I use very frequently; in two rooms in particular. I have a two-tiered tray in my bathroom and one in my craft room. I use these trays for the items I want at my fingertips.

In my bathroom, I keep some toiletries on the tray, but also have some cute greenery and small decor items. In my craft room, well, it holds all of my favorite pens.


And there you have it...the hows and whys of decorating with trays. It is truly one of my favorite ways to decorate with small items that I love and to also store the items that I need to have handy.

Have fun decorating!




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