Decorative trays... Objects of beauty in their own right but also useful commodities to group like items together into a pleasing decor arrangement. They have a place in bedrooms and in bathrooms alike, they perform an aesthetic function in the kitchen when stood upright to add texture, and then the classic serving tray does what it does best in sitting and dining rooms, i.e. serve drinks and nibbles to whoever’s in waiting. So the question begs, where would we be without them?
Here, we turn to our Senior Creative Buyer Jessica Harding to share her selection of the best decorative trays, ready for the great season of gifting that’s set to unfold.
My first decorative tray idea puts the focus on one particular word—decorative. I love the slender proportions and the romantic connotation that goes hand in hand with this Michael Aram piece. Its an ornament in its own right and need not even behave as a tray should you want to admire it for its looks alone.
BRAND: Michael Aram
I see this as a vanity table tray with its elegant white braided leather surface and curved golden handles—it speaks of pared-down glamour, of boudoirs and powder rooms. Fill it with bottles of eau de parfum (preferably with a vintage atomiser attached) and perhaps a jewellery trinket box too in coordinating gold.
This coloured, cut crystal creation has to be one of the best trays I’ve sourced for contemporary interiors. It’s a work of art and teams multiple complementary shades of crystal, from one bar handle in cobalt blue to the one opposite that could be as though it is carved from yellow diamond.
BRAND: Reflections Copenhagen
This piece works well as a coffee table tray, because it’ll be front and centre in your living room so you’ll certainly want it to feel luxurious. And you just can’t go wrong with faux shagreen. I particularly like the resin inlays that give rise to its modern striped effect. Topped off with brass handles that have a walnut trim, this tray is handsome and then some.
BRAND: Forwood Design
This serving tray was made for entertaining with its circular stainless steel surface that’s hammered to give it light texture and a softer level of sheen. The brass handles have been delicately handmade to resemble the branches of the olive tree, giving this collectible a beautiful sense of symbolism.
BRAND: Michael Aram
For those in search of a decorative tray that speaks softly of indulgence rather than the showy sort, this purposefully minimal marble tray delivers accordingly. Its only flourishes are the understated brass feet and the raised lip edging, otherwise leaving the pedigree of the material to do all the statement-making.
A second faux shagreen creation but this time in an Art Deco oval shape should you prefer a softer silhouette. Cream in colour with polished brass handles, the design is one of effortless sophistication that will suit the ledge of a marble ensuite bathroom as much as it will a console table layer in a sitting room.
A tray of sorts, this opulent brass box by design legend Greg Natale is designed to transport, as a tray should, but in a much more reduced form than those we’ve seen so far. Less for carrying cocktails and more for housing jewellery and keepsakes, I see it pride of place on a bookcase to catch the eye of anyone who walks into the room.
BRAND: Greg Natale
Perhaps the most versatile tray of all, this Ca D’oro piece is part decorative dish, part stunning centrepiece and part serving tray for its just flat enough to safely support an ornament or two. Think glass orb sculpture at its heart, for example. Handmade, no two pieces will ever be quite the same which only makes it ever more alluring.
BRAND: Ca D’oro