Living in a rented home means you usually can’t change things like the carpet, wall color, or architecture. In other words, you’re stuck with what you’ve got. But instead of it being an SOL situation, you actually have a lot of decor power in the items you bring in, like accessories.
Trays are one of those magical accessories. Aside from their functionality, they are great for framing a set of objects. If you have decorative items you want to highlight and show off, put em in a tray. Bam. Instant style.
Tray chic can be attained with several easy approaches. These are my tried-and-true methods:
1. Customize your tray with paint. Paint can be used to either revamp a tray or create a new, customized look. Latex and acrylic paint work well for wood, multi-surface acrylic paint (I use Martha Stewart’s) is great for metal or plastic, and (the right) spraypaint can be perfect for any surface.
For this tray, I started with a naked wood version and painted the outside to match my bedroom’s accent wall. I painted the inside/edges in gold and added an Art Nouveau-inspired design in the corners.
For my office, I whitewashed this wood tray from Target to create an earthy, textured look.
For my bedroom landing strip, I bought a cheapie metal tray at a thrift store and spraypainted it white. Thrift stores always have an abundance of metal trays just begging to go home with you.
2. Glue paper, fabric, or natural items to a tray to create unique style. I love bamboo, so I glued skewers into this patio tray from my last home…
… and hot-glued bamboo reeds onto this ceramic serving dish to create a candle tray for my newly made over bathroom.
In living room makeover 3.0, I created this tray (see #3 below) and glued cork inside, doubling its functionality.
3. Create a tray from scratch. To do this, I love to buy a plain basswood canvas, paint it, and attach drawer handles. With this tray in my faux linen closet, I added some super cheap clear handles from IKEA. To add some beachy style, I then wrapped hemp rope around the handles.
4. Add embellishments to your tray. In one of my former apartment bedroom makeovers, I created this footed tray by screwing in wood doll beads to the bottom. I also glued cowrie shell beads to the edges for extra detail.
5. Buy a new tray. If you’re not a DIY gangster, you can buy a decent tray at your favorite store. I use this one from IKEA in my kitchen to corral all our tea-making supplies. My dinky kitchen is limited on counter space, so the tray makes it easy to move my tea set-up when I need more room.
6. Use trays that can swapped between different rooms. To maximize the “shop your home” factor, choose a tray that’s in a neutral color or material like wood so that it will coordinate well in other palettes. This particular wood tray has made an appearance in several different rooms/apartments and received a chalk paint makeover as well.
Do you also have many trays in your home? What’s your favorite tray? Do you prefer to DIY or outright buy?