Why You Should Use Trays In Your Home Decor

I think we’re all trying to simplify a bit in our lives — simplify our schedules, our projects, our home decor/clutter… but today I’m going to give you a few reasons that you might need MORE instead of less. Not just more of any old thing, but more of one specific thing that is both functional and beautiful: MORE trays in your home and decorating.

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Why You Should Use Trays to Decorate @Remodelaholic

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Why you should be using more trays in your home decor

Trays are an amazingly versatile and relatively inexpensive element to add to your home decorating. And since they’re not just for decorating, it’s a win-win. Use trays to

CORRAL AND ORGANIZE ITEMS on a horizontal surface, which also helps declutter a space, because when the tray is full, you gotta clear out! Grouping things on a tray also helps to…

CUT DOWN VISUAL CLUTTER. When there is a group of items on a tray, your brain is more likely to interpret it as one element in a space, rather than “seeing” the 5 things that are on the tray. So you’re both more organized and *feel* more organized, less cluttered.

MAKE ANY SPACE PARTY-FRIENDLY. Obviously, trays are great for entertaining and serving. Trays make it easy to put food or drinks where you need them, and clean up when you’re done, whether you’re hosting a large holiday party or a party of one with a good book and your favorite drink 😉

ADD TEXTURE. We talked a bit here about giving your decor variety by adding shape and texture — and trays are a beautiful and functional way to add texture and color! Wood, woven, metal, patterned — trays come in every color and every material under the sun to add variety to your decor.

GROUND YOUR DECOR. If you’ve felt like your decor was just missing something, it may have been “floating” instead of being grounded. In the 7 Simple Styling Secrets course (which closes TONIGHT, so go here now for instant access!) Jackie talks about the need to ground every decorating arrangement, and she shares great ideas for grounding your decor (plus 6 other secret-sauce strategies that will change the way you decorate. Do not miss this last chance to get the course for FREE!) The course is now closed. 

7 Simple Styling Secrets, School of Decorating (9)
Tips and Tricks for Decorating with Trays @Remodelaholic

10 places you should be using trays in your home decor

Not sure about using more trays? Everyone should consider using a tray in these 10 places in your home, for the one-two punch of decoration + organization.

1 – Ottoman

A tray on an ottoman gives it side-table or coffee table functionality, as well as corraling books, or even toys. It’s also a bit more chic than an arm table 😉

beautiful vibrant living room with wood upholstered ottoman and tray, Tracey Ayton via Decorology

via Decorology


2 – Coffee Table

Decorating is nice — but use a tray to corral magazines and keep track of remotes!

use a coffee table tray to corral remotes and magazinesA Bowl Full of Lemons 

beautiful living room and coffee table and tray Life on Virginia StreetLife on Virginia Street


3 – Nightstand or Bedside Table

A tray makes a convenient place to charge your phone, keep your spare change, and place your glasses.

charging tray for a bedside table or drop zone I Heart OrganizingI Heart Organizing

use a large tray to contain nightstand items via StyleCastervia StyleCaster 


4 – Entryway

If you’re always losing your keys or sunglasses, a small tray at the entryway gives them a home. A divided tray gives a home to everyone’s odds and ends!


in our entryway here — see it again here

use a divided tray in an entryway drop zone to keep small things like phones, keys, and sunglasses organized, via IHeartOrganizingvia I Heart Organizing


5 – His Dresser

Just call it a valet tray, and suddenly it’s a fancy receptacle for wallets, keys, and loose change.

leather valet tray for dad Apartment Therapyvia Apartment Therapy 


6 – Her Dresser

Keep track of earrings and other jewelry, plus keys and odds and ends, with a simple designated jewelry tray.

jewelry trinket dishes via Tatertots and JelloFlamingo Toes on Tatertots and Jello


7 – Kitchen

While it’s nice to have things stored in cupboards and drawers, often space or utility necessitates things being on the countertops. Keep them tidy and less cluttered by putting them in a tray. Works great for spices/oils, a coffee or drink station, kitchen utensils, or baking canisters.

wicker tray to organize kitchen essentials Homestead RevivalHomestead Revival

countertop tray for coffee or other ktichen items Liz Marie BlogLiz Marie

kitchen organizing with countertop trays Brandi SawyerBrandi Sawyer

kitchen tray with cutting boards and silverware Heather BullardHeather Bullard

tray to organize a coffee or drink station, Driven By DecorDriven by Decor

kitchen crocks for utensils organized in a tray, Martha StewartMartha Stewart 


8 – Bathroom

Toiletries can spread and expand and take over — use a tray to keep them under control! A tray is also a great place to store the hand soap and/or a towel.

Virtu USA vanity bathroom remodel (31 of 41)

in our bathroom makeover here

round wood vanity organizing tray mydomainevia MyDomaine


9 – Back of the Toilet

This sounds weird, but a tray is really quite convenient on the back of the toilet. Find one the right size for some added storage and decor, and it’s still easy to move if you ever need to do maintenance on the toilet.

use a wooden tray to organize items on the back of the toilet in a small bathroom Design Dining and DiapersDesign Dining and Diapers

back of toilet organizing with a bath tray via DesignSpongevia Design Sponge 


10 – At Your Desk

Use a tray to keep notepads, pens, and other office supplies organized — and it also makes a convenient mini-office if you need to move locations.

use a tray to organize desktop supplies and stationery Living in Color PrintLiving in Color Print

diy lucite acrylic catch-all desk tray Earnest Home CoEarnest Home Co



Next page: Best budget-friendly trays –>

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  1. Looking for a DIY tutorial on refurbishing a tray I gave that has damage in the paper surface inside. Still good otherwise. Just need to change the bottom surface. How?