Welcome to this month’s edition of DIY Decorating Tips & Tricks…and this month we’re talking trays. Trays are absolutely one of my favorite go-to decor accessories. A great tray can turn a jumble of odds and ends into a cohesive vignette…in about 5 minutes. I have a small collection of different trays…no two are alike. They are different colors and textures but they all move around my house and they seem to fit in where ever they land. (I will list some sources at the end for similar items.) If I had to pick a favorite it would be this wood tray that I painted Annie Sloan Old White. Right now it’s resting on a small chest in my entry. It’s been on my coffee table and dining room table too. It’s the added layer that is so important when you are trying to get that cozy, homey feeling. Layering is easy and anyone can do it. All you need is a tray. My second favorite tray is this woven beauty from Pottery Barn. My favorite spot so far for this tray is my coffee table…although I’ve tried it on my ottoman and dining room table. It works well on the coffee table because it’s a bit lower and smaller. Without the tray, the items on the coffee table would get lost and make no sense. Nestled in the tray, the blue jars bring out the blue books. The pumpkin is the surprise element and pop of color. Trays don’t always have to be on flat surfaces…they make perfect wall art. The set of three willow trays hanging on the wall add texture and break up the blue a little. They added a darker tone as well that I thought was perfect for Fall. When I needed a small round tray to add to my Thanksgiving Tablescape, the largest tray was plucked off the wall. (I simply added back one of the ironstone plates to the blank space on the plate wall.) If you don’t have any trays handy, other items can take their place. Books make amazing trays. You can customize the height by stacking and add color at the same time. I think it works best to remove the jackets from the books and then add your accessories. Here I used books to ground a silver pitcher of dried hydrangeas. The whole thing would have worked fine without the books…but the books add just a bit more interest and color. I have a few silver trays that were wedding gifts and I sprinkle them around my house. Silver trays are classic and pretty much go with any decor. They can be found for next to nothing at thrift shops because people don’t want to clean them. I still clean my silver but lots of people don’t. It’s stunning either way. I mixed silver and gold last Christmas when I used a silver tray to corral my fringed burlap Christmas trees. Silver trays are so versatile too…I use them for just about anything. Don’t forget about smaller trays…they can be used much like plates. Placed on an easel any small tray can become a lovely decor accessory. One of my favorite places to use a tray is on my kitchen counter. In fact I use multiple trays. My counter space is really limited and trays keep everything contained and neat. I use a wooden box-like tray beside my stove and another flat tray to stow my coffee stuff. This rectangular tray with the daisies is actually a plate that does double duty. Plates can be trays…and trays can be plates. Look around and I bet you have one of the two (or a few books) to try out this easy way to layer. I hope I’ve given you some inspiration for adding trays to your home and if you are already using them, I hope you came away with a fresh idea. I want to share one more picture…it’s from last Christmas and of my Nativity set. I had forgotten that I placed it on an old, vintage, oval wooden tray that belonged to my mother-in-law. I think I’ll do the same thing again this year.
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