Today’s staging tip is simple…but it makes a BIG difference in the styling of a home.  Using trays to anchor vignettes in your decor is a smart choice; it’s one of our top staging secrets over here at Colorado Staging + Design.  Shh…don’t tell anyone we told you!

Why We Love Staging With Trays

This simple tool can magically pull a room together.  It provides polish, organization, and a focal point in almost any space you choose.

  • Create a warm and welcoming display with a set of hardcover books, a candle and some decorative objects.  We like the mix of wood and metal on the tray pictured above… it brings warmth and texture to the space!

  • Turn an unused stretch of countertop into a useful beverage station by adding a tray and some tools that center around a theme.  This coffee station would be nice for everyday use or as a special treat for dinner party guests.  We also love setting up a bar station this way (think pretty bottles and some highball glasses).

  • Cutting boards make great trays in the kitchen.  We often lean one up against the backsplash to add some height on the countertop.  They are also nice laid flat next to the stove and topped with a crock of utensils and some pretty oil and spice bottles.

  • Coffee tables are a classic place to stage a vignette using a tray.  Think in groups of 3 or 5 objects, choosing items of varying heights.  The fun fall vignette above is an easy way to make a floral centerpiece.  To DIY, choose 3 different sized vases and fill with fresh seasonal greenery.

The #1 Reason Home Stagers Love Using Trays

The best part about trays?  They’re everywhere! They are available in a wide array of styles, sizes, and price points.  If you have an area that is stumping you in terms of decor… chances are that a tray might be the perfect solution.

Check your local thrift store or neighborhood garage sales for fabulously weathered plates, cutting boards, and serving trays.  Be creative!

If you’re more of a retail kind of shopper, there is a constantly rotating selection of options at stores like HomeGoods, Marshall’s, and Target.

More Ideas for Styling with Trays

  • Place a small tray or plate near the kitchen sink to hold soaps, a sponge, and a small plant.
  • Look for a narrow “tank tray” to place on top of the toilet tank.  Stage a pretty arrangement of bath products.
  • Place a tray on an ottoman or the foot of the bed to use as a landing spot for food/drinks or magazines.
  • A nicely sized tray on top of a dresser is perfect for arranging perfumes, jewelry, or keeping knick knacks grouped together.
  • Place a tray near the bathroom sink with pretty canisters full of cotton balls and cotton swabs.  Add a small bud vase with fresh greenery or a single stem.
  • Include a tray on your nightstand to protect the surface from watermarks.  This looks great with one photo frame, a small plant or vase of flowers, and a book. Keep your bedside table as clear as possible…using  a tray encourages this.
  • Use a tray to hold frequently used office supplies together on your desk. Include a pencil cup, a candle, and a dish of paper clips/binder clips to make a pleasant workspace.

You probably already have everything you need in your home to stage a tray like an expert.  We challenge you to find a spot that could use a little something extra… and try a tray!  We think you’ll be happy with the results.

Colorado Staging + Design


Photography By Christa Tippman Photography