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Photo Courtesy of White Marble Tray - Harlowe James

The Most Decorative Trays You’ll Want to Display

Use them for serving or for showing off.
by Carolyn Hanson Mar 13, 2023

Whether it be for perfume, for candles, or even for your keys, a tray is an easy way to elevate the décor of a room, reducing clutter in the process. If you have an assorted group of items that all need to go in the same place, a tray is the perfect way to group them. A quick search for decorative trays returns many iterations of the same cheap mirrored glass tray—perhaps, leading you to believe that you’re relegated to a basic one. You’re not. In fact, there are trays that come in all sorts of materials and in all sorts of styles.

Editors' Pick

Leather Trays

Leather is a great, upscale way to bring some masculine energy into your home. Often used in home bars, leather trays make great platters for drinks. There’s just an old-world air to these that evokes images of crystal glassware pulled out after a long day. If you’re looking for a classy way to serve guests, leather is it in spades.

Stone Trays

The drama of a stone tray turns any item into something important—whether it be for food and drink (like the Paris Marble Tray) or for beauty products (like the Vanity Tray from Marloe Marloe). Displaying something on stone suggests solidity. Perhaps, because of the weight of the material, a stone tray conveys that its contents are worth your attention. 

Wood Trays

Wood is a versatile material for trays that can serve a range of uses. A small wooden tray is great when filled with collectibles and placed on a console table—especially, if the tray’s surface is decorated like these tropical ones from Casarialto. As wooden trays can be crafted in large sizes without becoming heavy, we love them for serving as well. 

Ceramic and Porcelain Trays

While they may be on the more delicate side, ceramic and porcelain trays offer a truly formal experience. Perfect for candles since they’re inflammable, a decorative ceramic tray can stand alone as a centerpiece (even without anything on it). Some, like the Pop Platter from Kelly Wearstler, are sculptural and simply colored. Others, such as the Tema e Variazioni Ashtray from Fornasetti, are decorated with carefully detailed designs.

Metal Trays

The idea of metal trays might evoke images of school lunchrooms for some, but these upgraded pieces have very little in common with the utilitarian items from your childhood. The Ribbed Metal Tray from Kaymet looks like it’s straight out of Mad Men, while the Ralph Lauren Wyatt Tray appears as though it could be at home in a country club. Some metal trays even come etched with designs, like the Graffiti Tray from Christofle or the Les Ottomans Trays from Matthew Williamson.

Raffia Trays

Decorating with raffia is a great way to bring a breezy vacation feel into your home. The informality of the palm-based material makes it perfect for holding keys and sunglasses. Keep one by the door to hold essentials and one in a bookcase to fill with items from your travels. Similar to wood, the lightness of the material makes raffia wonderful for serving guests.

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