Accessorized table trays are a hot decor trend that looks good in just about any style house. They offer additional storage, come in a variety of styles and textures, and add more dimension and interest to counters, tables, and other surfaces.
As a bonus, they’re also an amazing staging tool for the homeowner who is living in the house while it’s for sale. Used as a marketing “hook,” trays are an effective way to draw a buyer’s eye to features you want to highlight, like a gourmet kitchen island or spacious bathroom countertops. But the best part is that they’re super easy to move! Just pick it up when you need to use the space, and put it back in place when you want the room to look decorated.
But using trays efficiently as a decorative accessory or as an organization tool takes a bit of finesse — sorry, Susan, you can’t just toss all your magazines and candles on there and call it a day. We’re sharing a few of our tips on choosing the right tray for the job and how to accessorize it so that it doesn’t end up as a cluttered catch-all.
How to Choose the Right Table Tray for the Job
- Determine how you’ll use it. If it’s going in the office to organize papers, get one that’s no larger than a standard letter size to prevent pile-ups of other junk in the same spot. Trays for the kitchen should be food-safe and easy to clean, typically ceramic or acrylic. You may want a bedroom tray large enough to hold jewelry, loose pocket change, or even a lamp.
- Think about your home’s style. Select a tray that complements the other decorative elements in the home. Galvanized metal trays are popular choices in homes that feature a farmhouse look. Hardwood trays are a great traditional choice for many homes, while clean lines and metal accents look nice in more transitional style houses. Mirrored trays are an elegant touch for bar areas and bathrooms.
- Get good quality. Trays are available in a wide variety of price points, but make sure it has comfortable handles and is sturdily built. For a tray that may be moved around a lot, make sure the edges are high enough to keep things from slipping off when you move it.
Tips for Accessorizing Table Trays
- Use bigger trays for bigger tables or ottomans.
- Mix height, texture, and color.
- Add in sculptural pieces, like a pretty knick-knack atop a stack of books.
- Follow the “rule of three.” Odd numbers feel looser and more relaxed when it comes to decorating — a dish to hold your remote controls, a larger decoration like a simple plant or a beautiful tall candle, and a smaller decorative object to add a bit of fun interest.
- Avoid overfilling the tray with small pieces. It makes the decor look too bitsy and cluttered.
- Layer in pieces that are a snapshot of your personality. Table trays are a great place to show off a collection. ***Note: This bullet point only applies if you’re decorating for YOU. If you’re staging a house to sell, keep the decor neutral and avoid any nods to politics, sports, religion, or culture.***
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