TRAY STYLING 5 Quick & Easy Tips

How was your weekend? I got to do some accessory styling and that’s always a good time for a decor-nerd like myself. Last week I received this stunning silver leaf tray from Joy & Revelry — a new home decor website curated by our favorite designers and bloggers — and could not wait to put it to good use!  I was thrilled that it fit perfectly atop my grandparents’ teak buffet, nestled between my refurbished vintage white lattice lamps. I immediately got to work styling it up, and then realized, I guess I kinda have a “method to the madness” for this stuff. Get the look with my five easy tips…

1. Break it up in half, then break each half again.
Create sections and take one section at a time. I think in quadrants is easy.

2. Build up height with books and/or magazines.
Take at least one of those quadrants and fill it with a stack of books. You want to create pyramid-like levels from bottom to top, and from front to back.

3. Top the books with an accessory and/or flowers.
Fresh flowers in a small vase are always a plus, but any figurine, ashtray or bowl works just as well. Vintage pieces or interesting textural items are even better!

4. Fill in the blank areas with smaller accessories.
Candles, a bowl of matches, coasters, etc. totally work! Trick is you want to vary the sizes of the pieces within the tray.

5. Stick with a color scheme.
So it doesn’t start to look too busy, be sure to coordinate all the pieces within the tray.  You see here I went with glammy neutrals like black, white and gold (my faves, of course!).


What do you think, does this help to break it down?

BONUS! Save 10% sitewide on Joy & Revelry with code LDV_WHITEBOX_10!!!

What a treat for the start of the week, right?

Photo and styling by Erika Brechtel; silver leaf tray provided courtesy of Joy & Revelry, handpicked by Paloma Contreras


Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. So helpful – I always get stuck on those blank areas and it’s a great rule of thumb to remember to stick with a color scheme so it comes together.

  2. I love this. I’m a huge tray fan and never actually thought about what I was doing but now it will make things easier for me. Thanks for sharing your tricks!

  3. amazing! You make it so easy for the rest of us! Can’t wait to check out the site – thnks for the link 🙂

  4. This is really lovely. I am obsessed with trays and organizing my home bits. I know I will be referencing this quite often.

  5. 1. Is it dorky that I got excited that I have those Gramercy Tavern matches too? Love that place. 2. {should have been 1.} this is amazing. I am clueless on styling home accessories so I am for sure using this. xoxo

    1. Hi Liesl! I would split it into 4 quadrants as well, with two in the center and one on either side. I would also build up the height from outside to center, front to back (so the center back quadrant would be the highest, and the two side quadrants would be the lowest). Hope that makes sense!

  6. Thank you for this information. You approach your trays like an artist does his or her canvases. Genius! I have a giant coffee table in my living room that I struggle with. I will try your method with it.

  7. These tips are going to help me fill my dining room tray! Thanks so much, Erika! In a dark apartment, what color would you want your flowers?

  8. Please tell me where you got that adorable bowl that the matches are in — I LOVE it! Love this table decor.