Don’t you love decorative trays? I know I do. Trays used to be the vehicle to transport dinnerware from one place to another. They were strictly functional pieces. (Please note- article may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure at the end of the post.)
Luckily along the way, someone (had to be a designer) decided to chuck those boring trays and get creative. The decorative tray was born and trays all over the world were very happy.
Today, decorative serving trays are used not only to transport items, but they’re a great way to display and corral your home decor. They’re easy to style, and best of all, mobile. In about 2 seconds you can clear your table by picking up your serving tray and whisking it to another location.
HOW DO I CHOOSE A DECORATIVE TRAY?
When you shop for your serving tray, ask yourself questions:
HOW DO I WANT TO USE MY DECORATIVE TRAY?
Will you be using your tray to transport something from room to room like coffee or food? You need a serving tray with easy-to-grab handles and a flat surface large enough to hold your cups and dinnerware.
Looking for a large ottoman tray? What a great choice to decorate your living room furniture.
What about a vanity tray to hold jewelry and perfume on your bedroom dresser? This calls for a dressy tray – possibly glass with silver or gold accents.
WHERE SHOULD I USE MY DECORATIVE TRAY?
Decorative Serving Trays are a great choice:
- At Your Dining Room Table – they’re the ideal foundation for your dining room centerpiece
- In Your Living Room or Family Room – using a large ottoman tray is an easy way to display your decorative items and coffee table books
- On Your Kitchen Counter – use a tray to corral your napkins, utensils, and salt and pepper
- At Your Bedside or Small Table – trays are the perfect foundation to hold your lamps and nighttime reading
- On Your Coffee Table – use a tray as the base of your coffee table vignette
Think of the tray as the focal point of the room, it’s the base where you’ll build your creation.
Mix textures when searching for your decorative serving tray. For example, if you’re going to use your tray on a wood table, consider using a metal tray. If your table is glass, try a wood tray or a basket tray.
WOOD TRAY – A POPULAR CHOICE IN DECORATIVE TRAYS
One of the most popular is the wood tray. Wooden trays are versatile and go well with any color palette.
Some wooden trays are painted and some are natural wood. You can’t go wrong choosing any of these.
Wood serving trays are great in your kitchen, living room, on your kitchen counter, or as coffee table decor.
WHAT SIZE, SHAPE, AND COLOR TRAY SHOULD I USE?
Your best bet is to stick with a solid color scheme like gold, black, white, brown, clear, or cream. This makes it easy to decorate the tray in various ways for every season.
Rule of thumb – the length of the tray should measure approximately 1/2 the width of the table…what? If your table measures 40″ wide, a good size tray to use is 20″ and if your tray doesn’t fit the perfect dimensions, don’t sweat it
Think timeless – styles and tastes change over time. Textures like wood, iron, acrylic, ceramic, or natural items are good choices for any type of home decor, especially trays.
Need help styling your tray? Check out my post How to Style A Decorative Tray
When you shop, don’t overthink it. There is no right tray or wrong tray.
I’ve broken all the “rules”. My favorite tray is rectangular, wood, and iron – it sits on my rectangle table made of wood and I LOVE it! Told you I was a rule breaker.
Rectangular Table – Best Tray Choices
- Round or oval decorative tray for interest (large trays are best for long tables)
- Long dough bowl
- Long flat basket
- Large ceramic platter (oval or anything with rounded edges)
Round Table – Best Tray Choices
- Rectangle Decorative Tray or Basket
- Dough Bowl
- Square Serving Tray
- Lazy Susan
Will you be using your decorative tray as a centerpiece for your table? See my post 23 Stylish Centerpiece Ideas for Your Kitchen Table
TIPS TO HELP YOU CHOOSE YOUR DECORATIVE TRAY
Be mindful of trends – any type of wording or design on a tray may limit its use.
If your table is large, consider using two trays or one long tray.
If your table is small, go vertical, use a tiered tray. Check out the 2 and 3 tiered stands below. They’re fantastic.
If you can’t decide between large and small, go with the large tray, you won’t regret it.
Most importantly, if you can’t figure out what to choose, buy what makes you happy.
WHAT DECORATIVE ITEMS DO I USE TO STYLE MY TRAY?
Need specific direction on HOW TO STYLE A DECORATIVE TRAY? Click HERE to check out a post I wrote to help you out.
Got a small space? Use a small tray. Just because your tray is small doesn’t mean you have to use small items to style it.
Your decorative items look best in sets of 3, 5, or 7. Items grouped together in odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye.
Here’s a list of decorative items to get you started.
- Natural Elements – greenery, seashells, coral reef, a small plant or flowers
- Books – books with beautiful book covers or coffee table books
- Small Basket – this can hold items you don’t want seen like remote controls, keys, or matches for your candles
- Candles and Candle Holders
- Unique Pieces
Now that you’re ready to choose your perfect tray, check out these Related Articles:
Best Tips on How to Decorate a Serving Tray
23 Stylish Centerpiece Ideas for Your Kitchen Table
How to Stencil a Tile Table
Decorate Your Vase With Pampas Grass: An Easy How To
15 Creative Decorating Ideas Using an Old Wooden Ladder
I love hearing from you. Drop me a note or better yet send a photo of your decorative tray.
Until Next Time-
Please note that some links in this post are affiliate links. At NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU, I will earn a small commission on any purchases made.