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Decorating With Wood Trays: How To Instantly Boost Your Room-To- Room Décor

Decorating With Wood Trays: How To Instantly Boost Your Room-To- Room Décor

2022 Nov 21st

If you’ve always thought trays were only for carrying food and drinks, it’s time to expand your decorating horizons. While they are versatile and helpful when entertaining, trays are also flexible decorating accessories that can be styled in many ways. Adding an attractive tray to a room is one of the quickest and most affordable ways to give any room an instant decorative boost.

A wood tray filled with a few of your favorite things brings wow-worthy visuals to a space. Even if your space is small, you can avoid displays that feel cluttered by corralling items on a tray. Instead of having to pick out each item individually, your brain interprets the grouping as one. 

Decorative trays come in many shapes and sizes, and a variety of materials. A hammered stainless steel tray with brass handles makes an elegant base for a centerpiece in one room while a wood tray with iron handles becomes the backdrop to an eye-pleasing coffee table vignette. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box (or tray). You can get the same decorative dynamic with a basket, a wood cutting board, or even a carved wood platter.

Here we take a room-to-room look at how to instantly boost your décor using decorative wood trays. Plus we’ll look at seasonal styling ideas for wood serving trays and carved wood platters. Read on for hints on creating tray vignettes that are both fashionable and functional.

The Aria Scorched Wood Serving Tray with Handles brings rustic charm to your living spaces.

Photo by Giuseppe Cacioppo. Find him on Instagram:@gdolce3

On the coffee table

A tray on the coffee table is a great way to keep things neatly corralled. Hint: A wood serving tray with handles is a great choice. If you want to clear off the table for a game of Scrabble or set out some snacks for guests, you can simply grab the tray by the handles and set it aside.

Over the ottoman

Topping an ottoman with a large wood serving tray lets you use this piece of furniture as a table, without having to go out and buy new furniture. There are many ways to style an ottoman with a decorative tray. For visual appeal, choose a tray in the same shape as the ottoman. A large-scale tray leaves room for interesting objects while providing storage for things like reading materials and remotes. If you prefer to have space for relaxing with your feet up, use a smaller tray that you can offset on the ottoman.

Hint: Remember that less is more. Overfilled decorative trays will look messy and cluttered. Besides, you want to leave some space on the tray for drinks and snacks!

Hand-carved Faron Rectangular Acacia Wood Trays come in a set of three.

Photo by Giuseppe Cacioppo. Find him on Instagram: @gdolce3

Dressing up the dresser (his or hers)

After a long day, a carved wood tray on the dresser is perfect for emptying pockets and removing the day’s jewelry. It’s also a perfect perch for favorite colognes and perfumes.

Hint: Include a candle with a soothing scent to set the mood after a long day.

A vignette for the bathroom vanity

Create a unique vignette with a simple modern wooden tray filled with vintage perfume spray bottles and glass decanter jars brimming with bath salts.

Hint: Place taller items towards the back so you can easily reach for anything you need. 

Photo by Giuseppe Cacioppo. Find him on Instagram: @gdolce3

Top of the toilet

While the top of the toilet may seem like an odd place to place a tray, think of the toilet tank as a little shelf. If you have a small bathroom, adding a wood tray to your toilet tank is a great way to get more storage.

Hint: Give your bathroom a spa-like vibe. A scented candle creates the mood. Fill your tray with bath salts and other bathing accessories that you can use whenever you want to feel pampered.

Décor for the kitchen counter

A decorative wooden tray on your kitchen counter adds warmth and texture to cool stone or marble countertops. A tray filled with a collection of small vintage cutting boards and crocks filled with wooden spoons and other utensils makes a lovely display grouping while lending a cohesive look to your countertops.

Hint: Flowers or potted herbs add life to your trays. If you don’t have a green thumb, a few faux branches in a rustic urn can have a dramatic effect.

Photo by Giuseppe Cacioppo. Find him on Instagram: @gdolce3

Add style to the entryway

An entryway table is one of the first things guests see when they walk into your home. Although you don’t want to clutter it with everyday “out-the-door” items, a small carved wood platter for keys and other items can be practical and stylish.

Hint: For a large, long console table you can place a smaller wood tray inside a larger one. Fill the larger tray with a focal point decorative item (like a bright piece of coral or a decorative glass orb. A small house plant in a colorful planter instantly breathes life into the entryway.

Lauren Acacia Wood Trays with Iron Handles add a rustic modern look to a favorite space.

Photo by Bonnie Esty. Visit her at Pallet Signs By Bonnie Etsy Shop

Deck out the dining table 

Indoors or out, having a tray as a centerpiece is a lovely way to display florals and seasonal décor, along with keeping spices and condiments where diners can easily find them.

Hint: Creating a wooden serving tray centerpiece to suit any occasion doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as a large floral bouquet (real or faux!) in seasonal colors flanked by some candlesticks.

Topping the bedside table

Bedside tables aren’t usually large, so after adding a lamp, there isn’t usually a lot of space. A jar or two of creams, a pair of reading glasses, and a book, and the table is already looking cluttered. Having a catchall tray by the bedside to round up everything while keeping them within easy reach will keep your bedside table looking neat and organized.

Hint: Use it to keep things that you use often, like a jar of night cream, chapstick, a box of tissue, and your current mystery novel. 

A tray for all seasons

Consider a carved wood platter or wood serving tray as a base for stacking and displaying interesting found objects. Trays are a beautiful way to add texture and color to a space.

A wood serving tray with handles can have a purpose while looking pretty enough to display. Create a small herb garden and include a few indoor gardening supplies like brass and glass water spritzers. A simple wood tray becomes a mini coffee bar, complete with your favorite coffee, a few mugs, and a sugar and creamer set. 

Decorating a tray for the season doesn’t have to go overboard, a few subtle additions or changes to your trays can go a long way. A clear vase filled with sea shells announces the summer season and a planter of orange mums with a few miniature pumpkins nearby tells an autumn story.

Could your coffee table tray use some Holiday cheer? A pitcher of greenery with a few red berries, a gold Christmas tree statuette, and a Santa mug filled with cinnamon sticks a seasonal tray. 

We hope this look into decorating with wood trays has inspired you to include decorative trays throughout your home.

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