Few things in home decorating are as versatile as great decorative trays. I use them constantly in my projects to inject a little bit of personality into spaces. They are great for adding color and texture and also help to give a room a polished and finished look. And with so many styles and choices to choose from, it’s hard to find a bad one, but here are my absolute favorites.
Two of my favorite decorative trays would have to be these two above offered by The Lacquer Company and designed by my super design crush Steven Gambrel. In my opinion, these are more decorative than utilitarian meaning these are best left to enhance the ambience of your library or sitting room and not to carry messy hors d’oeuvres out to the terrace! The first is hand painted lacquer combined with eggshell lacquer finished with burnished brass hardware. The second ratchets the design chic up with eggshell lacquer used to cover almost the entire surface. These two trays are works of art in and of themselves and frankly need no embellishment.
For a nod to the swinging ‘60s and the start of the new modern age in decorating, I love the rich deep amethyst in this tray designed by Alexandra Von Furstenberg for Cavalier, Jay Jeffers’ store in Los Angeles. They have clear acrylic sides with colored bases (there are ten fab colors to chose from, and feel free to mix and match as they also come in three sizes – perfect for stacking!), so they not only are they decorative trays, but functional as well: the type of tray you can use to serve drinks without worrying about spills and drips.
More on the side of fine objet rather than functional, these bone inlaid teak trays offered by Serena & Lily in San Francisco would be great used to add useable surface spaces to big upholstered ottomans and even sofas. One of my friends in London has a great tray like this on the middle seat of his sofa for a place to rest a drink and keep a book, glasses and pen at hand– like a big vide poche! The mixing of the wood and bone inlay in these decorative trays is also perfect for adding a hint of pattern.
The teal and burnished nickel lacquered tray by Steven Gambrel (again) for the Lacquer Company is gorgeous and reminds me of the sleek modern industrial designs of the 1940s and 1950s. So chic!
The Italian Whanghee bamboo handle of this tray by Riviere Style in Milan and sold via Nestcasa in Miami, serves to tone down the formality of this elegant black lacquered tray taking it from a sideboard in your dining room out to your poolside terrace.
The last selection in my tour of decorative trays is this Italian tray by Silia, influenced by Florentine mosaic floors. Each acrylic piece is cut and hand dyed for the perfect hue then encased in a gilt highlighted brass frame for an added touch of high-end Italian craftsmanship.
I’ve given you just a glimpse of the variety of decorative trays that await discovery. With something for every taste and style from formal to casual, I dare you not to find one that would work perfectly in your own home!
Richard Rabel is a New York Interior Designer and Principal at Richard Rabel: Interiors+ Art, a design studio offering residential design, decorating and art advising services.
image credits: The Lacquer Company, Cavalier (through Dering Hall), Serena & Lily (through Dering Hall), Riviere, Silia (through Dering Hall)