The Most Versatile Home Item You Definitely Need More Of


Allie Provost

Can you ever have too many trays? If you ask me, the answer is definitely not! Trays come in handy in all rooms of the home, and the best part is that there are so many different styles of them on the market, at a wide range of price points. Love boho design style? Grab a rattan tray for your living room. Looking to embrace your coastal grandmother side? There's a woven or striped tray calling your name. Below is a sampling of the multitude of ways in which you can use trays in your home... don't blame me if you find yourself stocking up on several after reading this!

Gather Essentials on the Nightstand

No one likes a messy nightstand. Let's face it, one of the reasons that it's so relaxing to walk into a hotel room is because the nightstand is completely clear, barring the basics. I've found that keeping a tray on my nightstand forces me to be a bit more organized and eliminate the clutter. Grab a tray that covers most of your nightstand's surface and use it to hold only the essentials: maybe a candle, your latest read, a pair of glasses, and a bottle of hand lotion. If you feel tempted to fill the tray with items like receipts, spare change, or miscellaneous beauty products, remember that those items can easily be tucked into nightstand drawers and kept out of sight. Your tray should be used to hold only the things that you will be using each and every night.

Corral Chaos on a Coffee Table

Set out a tray to keep things like your TV remotes, latest magazine, and box of matches within reach. When you're hosting guests, simply clear these items off the tray and use it to serve drinks or snacks. This will eliminate the risk of damage to your coffee table and make your space look more sophisticated — win-win!


Ashley Montgomery Design

Create a Drop Spot on a Console Table

This is a basic yet sometimes overlooked place to keep a tray. The entryway console table is a catchall for keys, mail, pet supplies, and the like. Use a tray to keep catalogs and envelopes nice and orderly. If you have room off to the side, you can designate a small flowerpot sized container to hold things like your dog's leash or that spare set of keys. Everyday keys should go on hooks above the console.

Assemble Supplies in the Laundry Room

Keep all of your laundry products accessible by placing them in a tray so that you don't forget what you have (and to keep track on what might be running low). You can always decant anything unsightly into a glass jar and place that on the tray, too.


Ashley Webb Interiors

Organize Necessities in the Bathroom

Who hasn't made use of a tray in the bathroom? I keep one atop my storage shelf and use it to hold products that I reach for every day. It's also a great place to set jewelry before stepping into the shower. When space allows, I've also placed trays atop the toilet tank to hold things like extra rolls of toilet paper—this is particularly smart tactic if you plan to host guests. No need for anyone to rummage around trying to find toilet paper!

tray in bathroom

Cathie Hong Interiors

Declutter the Office

Desks, light nightstands, have a tendency to become ultra cluttered quickly. And yet, we all know that there's nothing more overwhelming than a haphazard work station! Make sitting down for your day job feel a bit less daunting by getting your work from home space into tip top shape with a tray or two. Use one to hold outgoing mail or documents or important receipts to submit for reimbursement. Use another to organize all of your basic desk supplies—a jar full of pencils, a stapler, and some tape, for example.

Style the Bar Cart

I personally love placing a tray atop my bar cart and using it to corral bottles of liquor and other mixology essentials. It's all too easy for a bar cart to appear extremely cluttered. Note that by no means does every bottle of alcohol in your home need to live on the actual bar cart. Focus on handpicking your favorites and stash extras out of sight. Placing bottles on a tray can result in a chic, artful arrangement and make your bar cart setup look more organized and intentional.

bar cart tray

Interior Impressions

Group Items in the Garage

The garage is more than just a place to park the car; it's an important storage space, too. Making use of trays in this part of the home is helpful if you're looking for a simple way to stash things like gardening supplies or hardware. This eliminates the need for rummaging through boxes every time you're in need of a few screws or can't find that pair of pliers.