THE QUINTESSENTIAL TRAY
If you were to ask me what is the one item that I could not live without when accessorizing a home, it would most likely be the “tray”. The tray is to me much like the blank canvas is to the artist….an opportunity to tell a story by brilliantly arranging pieces using ratios, dimension, color and depth. The tray implies that the objects contained have meaning and purpose because they do. Inanimate objects such as rocks, pencils and the random desk accessories somehow seem to have import when presented in a way that makes people take pause. There is an emotional response to the order that placing items in a tray can elicit vs. just scattering haphazardly onto a table top mixed with gum wrappers and empty water bottles. In essence, the tray gives its contents meaning.
Although the word tray derives from the word tree, my personal collection of trays range from not only primitive wood but include lacquer, glass, leather, paper, metal and marble, just to name a few. Their sizes range from very small to those as large as a coffee table. Long and lean trays, circular trays and big square options with small lips- I love them all. At a time when everyone seems to be looking for ways to declutter and commit to less, I suggest trying the tray first. Here are a few of my favorites anyone can purchase. Please share images of your favorite trays and masterpieces.
With a sleek finish and clean lines, lacquer trays are extremely versatile, and can be found in a variety of colors. Since they are wipeable, they function as excellent serving trays.
This tray I styled corrals books, a lovely scented candle, and greenery.
Woven trays, made from a variety of materials, introduce a relaxed vibe to any space. As you can see, I have utilized them to curate collections of all shapes and sizes, from the utilitarian (desk accessories), to the nostalgic (antique heirlooms), to the visually impactful (a collection of vivid glass paperweights).
Antique or reclaimed wood trays will introduce patina and warmth to your tabletop. At our mountain bungalow, this tray served up afternoon refreshments.
A marble or stone tray introduces a natural element that is durable and strong. It is perfect for corralling kitchen condiments, as shown here. Or, pair creamer, sugar, and a selection of teas for coffee and tea service.
A note: If your tray is marble, try to be careful with acidic foods, as they can etch or dull the surface.
A good rule of thumb is to mix materials and finishes throughout your space for a collected, yet cohesive look. The trays shown incorporate a number of materials, from antique brass, to faux shagreen, and inlaid bone.