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Design: 10 ways to decorate with trays

The Villeroy & Boch Design Naif Plastic Tray

The Villeroy & Boch Design Naif Plastic Tray ($20 at depicts a couple gathering firewood to the surprise of two deer. Photo Credit:

More than just a means of serving coffee or bringing breakfast in bed, trays can be used in a variety of ways in your decor. Just consider now how many tray styles there are.

Trays can be found in a wide range of material from wood to metal to acrylic to mirror, and there’s virtually no design style that can’t use a tray of some type. Whether you use them for utility or decoratively, trays make great accents in your home.

BAR TRAY Be your own mixologist with a home bar set up on a tray. Arrange bottles on a tray with legs or on a tray with sturdy handles so you can take your bar wherever the party is in your home.

PHOTO TRAY Not sure what to do with all those itty bitty family photos? Put them all together on a tray. If your tray is silver, try putting your photos in silver frames for a rich and elegant look.

GUEST OR BEDSIDE TRAY Make it a treat when guests come to visit by adding a tray to the foot of the guest bed filled with fluffy towels, lotion, magazines, chocolate or other treats. A waiting guest tray is a welcoming gesture. Next to the bed, trays can hold jewelry, lotion and bedside flotsam and jetsam.

TRAYS AS WALL ART Many trays are oversized and look just as great hung on a wall as they do sitting atop a table. Group small trays on a wall for a unique look. Consider a tray as your artwork accent.

TRAY YOUR OTTOMAN Today’s living rooms often use large ottomans in place of a traditional coffee table. Use a tray here to corral the TV remotes, make a solid spot to put a drink or create a vignette with accent pieces for something more decorative.

BATHROOM COUNTER TRAY Add a sleek mirrored tray to your bathroom counter to hold all your supplies and perfume bottles beautifully. The tray will help reduce the visual clutter of having the items spread all around.

FOYER ACCENT TRAY Place a tray on your foyer console. Besides looking pretty, it’s a good spot to place keys or mail when you come in.

CANDLE TRAY Use trays to create a candle garden. The effect is pretty and will help protect furniture from candle heat and wax drips.

TRAY DISPLAY Use trays to create unique and unusual displays. Add in jars or accent pieces like glass balls, shells or potted orchids.

TRAY HEIGHT Trays don’t have to sit flat on a table. Look for a tray with feet or even legs to create a unique way to hold accessories or work as a stand-in for a side table.

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