The simplest way to beautify your home is to get organized. Aside from the hygienic value of doing your chores, there are also plenty of design perks. And since we can all agree that styling is the fun part of tidying up, let's focus on that. Think design-savvy storage solutions like open shelving in the living room, a pretty pantry in the kitchen, and clothing racks in the bedroom. Once you've got those staples sorted, you can show your surfaces some love.
Here's where decorative trays swoop in to save your tabletops. In fact, we hesitate to call them decorative since they offer so much functionality. If your table is looking bare, put a tray on it… If you want to eat breakfast in bed, put it on a tray and enjoy. If your drainboard is looking crowded, stick all your items on a tray. Repeat after us: When in doubt, call on a tray. When we personally began searching for the most affordable, stylish tray options, we quickly decided that Zara Home was the place to bring our shopping carts. See how to style them for every room in the house and then shop your favorites.
In The Foyer
Justin Coit for MyDomaine
Considering this is the entrance to your home, it's your best chance to make a statement and the right impression. Instead of scattering your items randomly all over a console table or bench, use a tray. In fact, a tray in the foyer (boy, is that fun to say) will pretty much be a glorified catchall. And who doesn't love a catchall? If you aren't familiar with the aforementioned hero of home décor, it's quite literally a landing zone for all your knickknacks.
A solid color is another good option to bring in a stylish pop without appearing too busy on the eye. This red one is perfect; it's curvacious handles make for easy transportation.
In The Kitchen
Much like the entryway in your home, a kitchen can easily become cluttered, and it experiences a high volume of foot traffic. Have you ever noticed that when you have people over, everyone flocks to the kitchen? Maybe it's the close proximity to snacks, or maybe it's the casual environment. Whatever the reason, the result is that you have to make sure your kitchen is clean and stylish. A tray will be an easy way to tidy up quickly and keep all your random things easy to locate. We definitely feel like this is a far superior option to the junk drawer.
Casual but not at all rustic in a blond wood finish, this tray feels elegant without any effort. The silver hardware and rope handles also give that extra edge.
In The Living Room
Aaron Fallon for MyDomaine
If you only want to use a tray in one room of your home, the living room is the place to do so. Since this is where you will usher the guests once you've had enough overcrowding in the kitchen, styling the coffee table is a must. Plus, this is probably the go-to location for all your favorite decorative objects that you want to put on display. And if you don't yet have a coffee table, here's the hack of the century: Place a tray on an ottoman or pouf, and it'll magically become a hard surface for you to store things.
Fabric-upholstered trays have a nice warmth that will round out a family lounge area or bring in an interesting dash of texture to a dining room.
In The Dining Room
Since trays add some dimension, they're ideal in the middle of a dining room table. Place your florals or centerpiece on top and you'll immediately notice an improvement in the overall layout. Plus, most trays are transitional and versatile in style, so they can remain the same throughout the year and all you have to do is swap out seasonal florals and centerpieces when you see fit.
Slate trays are as sleek as can be. They're a little like the cool younger brother of an edgy downtown loft. Use it to serve your appetizers, or stack it with candles and small votives. You can't go wrong!
In The Bathroom
If you have a tiny bathroom, storage space is usually pretty hard to come by. If you're lucky enough to have any counter space, let alone ample surface area, it's prime real estate. Here's how you get the most out of it. The entire bathroom will feel less cluttered with a small tray to keep all of your things in one compact area. These lucite trays are particularly sleek, and they get the job done without being overpowering visually, since bathroom products tend to do the decorative job on their own.
If your style is more refined and dressy, you should opt for a mirrored tray. The geometric, clean shape of this one exudes a fancy feel.
In The Bedroom
The best thing a tray has to offer is its breakfast-in-bed potential (as if you didn't know that already). But when you're not using it to indulge in a day of lounging and fine dining, it's also a great styling tool. If you place your tray on top of a bedside table, you'll be able to make more space for your sentimental pieces, and you won't lose anything you store there while you sleep—like your jewelry. Trays in the bedroom are also optimal for guest rooms since they'll instantly make visitors feel like they're staying in a hotel.
This one is similar to the acrylic trays above, only with an extra pep in its step. This houndstooth is great because of its neutral black-and-white palette but sassy print.