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Trays for Days Ideas for Styling Your Table - The Watermark Shop

How to Style a Coffee Table Tray

Are you looking for a modern and easy way to style your coffee table or dining room table? Well, a simple tray might be your answer! Trays are very ‘in style’ right now when it comes to dressing up your coffee table, kitchen island, dining room table and/or patio table. But if you’re like me, pulling together that simple, modern look is sometimes easier said than done.

Here are 3 tips to help make it easy to choose and style the right coffee table tray for your space.

Texture and Contrast

First things first – the tray itself. Before you grab the first tray you see in store, consider what texture and colour would compliment your living room.

Consider the following when choosing a table tray:

  • Size – How much space do you have? Are you placing your decorative tray on an open countertop or dining table as a centre piece? Are you styling a coffee table? How big is your coffee table? Is it a round coffee table or a rectangular table?
  • Shape – Are you drawn to a rectangular tray? How about a round tray or a square tray? Or even something that is on a stand?
  • Colour + Texture – What is the colour and texture of the table your tray will reside on? When styling, trays with neutral colours are the most versatile.
  • Depth – Will the decor items you have chosen to display be seen on the tray? Is the tray too deep for them?

For example, if you have a wood coffee table with a bit of grain and texture, then you probably don’t want to pair it with another wood tray because that will either blend in too much or clash with your table if it’s a different tone of wood. Instead, it might be best to consider a white or solid, neutral colour tray.

These white rope trays are a good example, and the natural, cotton fibre also brings an added sense of warm to the space.

Conversely, if you have a white or solid colour coffee table, then a wood tray could be your best bet.

You can also consider the shape and size of your tray. If you have a big table, then you probably need a fairly large tray to balance out the surface area. And when it comes to matching the shape of the tray to your table, you can safely go either way. I personally like the look of contrast between the table shape and tray shape. So if you have a square or rectangle table, look for a circular tray and vice versa.

This rattan wicker coffee table tray is a versatile option to store on your counter with fresh fruits, or used as a coffee table tray. You can even use this as a serving tray when guests are over.

This rustic natural wood coffee table tray is a great option for your coffee table or kitchen counter. The wood tray would work great with coffee tables that are made of glass, white or black.

This hand carved paulownia wood coffee table tray is a great example of using neutral coloured tray. The cream and beige colours of the wood make it easy to decorate.

If you are looking for a tray that has more texture and design, opt for a woven tray. These trays are created from dyed natural sisal fibres woven over a core of forest grasses. The tea colour is created when the naturally shite sisal fibres are steeped in Rwandan-grown tea leaves. Plus when you get tired of using them as a tray, you can easily hang them on the wall as they come with a loop on the backside of the tray.

Accessorize the Tray

Now that you have a tray, you have to figure out what coffee table decor to put in it!

Trays are often used to organize a few items together on your table. To achieve an effortless and balanced look, consider the ‘power of 3.’ When it comes to decorating and accessorizing, it’s often best to work with odd numbers. Grouping accessories in even numbers can make things look too crowded and calculated.

So, aim to have 3 main accessories that will fill your tray space. Keep in mind the size of your tray, if it’s a bit larger, opt to fill it more, you don’t want it to look bare.

How to Style a Tray for Your Coffee Table - The Watermark Shop

Balance Colour, Texture and Height

When choosing your items to style your coffee table tray, you want to consider combining items with different colours, textures and heights. This will add a good amount of dimension, interest and balance to your look. Add some exciting shapes and really try to mix up the heights.

Sometimes it helps to find one piece that you really love for the tray, it will give you a starting point to style around.

Here is a great example of using height when you style coffee table trays. By adding one tallest object and some other items that vary heights it really helps the eye to see everything. This Minimalist Desk Clock from RC+Smith is a great functional piece you can incorporate on your tray. It adds design and functionality to the space. We love it paired up with more natural elements seen here in the photo below.

Lastly, think about what is unique and personal to you and work that in. Perhaps you have a favourite scent that you want to feature in a candle, or a favourite book that visitors might be tempted to pick up and flip through.

I hope this article gave you some inspiration and ideas when it comes to coffee table styling by using a coffee table tray in your living space! Sometimes a few guidelines and a bit of a plan is all you need. And remember coffee table styling is a reflection of your personal style, so have fun with it!

Happy styling!

Jenn & Carrie Signature

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