When you think about decorating your home, the big things probably come to mind – your couch that you’d love to update, the coffee table that needs to be stripped, the floors that you wish were another color or the fireplace brick you’d love to paint. These are literally all the things that come to mind as I sit here looking around my house.
But the small things, the little details, are just as important than some of the big things. While the big things anchor the space, the little things make it.
Putting just as much thought into coffee table décor or countertop décor can make a big impact. And sometimes, it’s truly the little things that make us happy. Sometimes they’re sentimental or sometimes it’s just something that makes us smile.
Whenever I want to freshen up a space or just need to keep my head busy with something, working on coffee table tray decor can be a fun exercise for my brain and heart.
This spring, I intended to make a handful of tray for you in different styles. I wanted to showcase a variety so you could see your style somewhere in this post. However, with all these fast life changes in the wake of the pandemic, I only had the chance to make two similarly-styled trays before I could no longer go out to source things like fresh flowers.
That said, here’s a few things I always do when it comes to styling trays.
Add in some life to coffee table tray decor
I love adding in plants, real or otherwise, whenever I can on a tray. Plants make me happy and they always give me a sense of calm.
For the coffee table tray in the living room I used a few succulents and a cute, little air plant. The succulent in the teacup is from my brother’s wedding and the other is one of the first plants I bought after we moved to the farm. The air plant is new and from Rebel – my favorite shop in downtown Grand Rapids.
For the tray in the kitchen, I used a pilea plant. This seems to be the plant du jour and is also one of the first plants I bought last year.
Use books to create levels
I almost always include books in my coffee table tray décor. I use the books to give myself some levels and different height in a design. Usually three is my magic number but it depends on the thickness of the book too.
I also try to make the books I pick relate to the tray somehow. I don’t usually use or buy random antique books. Yes they look lovely in decor, but I have an issue spending money on books I’m never going to read.
For the coffee table tray décor in the living room I used the following:
- I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature
- The Secret Life of Bees
- How to Raise a Wild Child
For the tray on the kitchen the books I used include:
- The Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book – Since I purchased this they’ve changed the size of it to a coffee table size. This one is very similar and normal book size: Life’s Little Instruction Book
- A Year of Forrest School
- The Wild Keeps Her Holy
Aside from greenery, I always love to include flowers in my tray design when I can. They provide color, texture and can help give any coffee table tray décor some height too.
You might notice that I’m missing fresh flowers in these trays. I used dried flowers in these arrangements instead because both of these designs are a bit more rustic. I felt the dried flowers complimented them better.
I’ve actually been loving dried flowers lately. Since it’s too early to grow fresh flowers here, I like that these will last. The Eucalyptus and the dried hydrangeas are from Christmas!
Consider the materials on the coffee table tray
By this I mean, consider if your vases, candle or planters will be wood, glass, terra cotta or a metal or metallic. I like to use you a mix when I’m designing a tray that’s more rustic and farmhouse-like. When I want to create something more modern then the materials for these items might be more similar or fall into one family.
So, for instance, in the coffee table tray décor in the living room includes a glass bottle from the Magnolia collection at Target, terra cotta, a tea cup with w bit of gold and black and white planters and a sleek black bud vase from Pottery barn that I’ve left empty. A very diverse mix.
The tray I have in the kitchen includes a plant spritzer that I love from Rebel that includes a bit of eye-catching gold, an amber bottle (that did have live flowers in it at one point), a small, white bud vase from Pottery Barn (You get three bud vases in a set including the black one!) and a pretty basket from the Magnolia collection at Target, which you can find here.
Add in a bit of quirkiness or something you love
While neither of the coffee table trays have anything overly sentimental (with the exception of those two plants I mentioned), they both have things that are a little bit of me.
The living room coffee table tray décor includes some vintage mini pots that I bought last spring at Bluedoor GR, a vintage shop I love in Grand Rapids.
The kitchen tray has a few little things that I enjoy a vintage-looking spool of twine. I fully intend on bringing this into the greenhouse when it’s done to dry herbs. The best part of this little thing is that it comes in a package of three different sizes from Amazon. ( I said it was vintage looking. 🙂 ) You can find them here.
I also found this pretty, amber apothecary bottle from Amazon and it comes in a set of six. I have the rest of them lined up on a windowsill in my office, just waiting for some pretty wildflowers to pop.
Lastly, both trays include a string of over-sized wooden beads, which are fairly trendy right now. I found both of these at Hobby Lobby. I searched the website for them but couldn’t find them. When the stores open again, check in the section with the home décor and kids’ room items.
As for the trays themselves, one was from a small shop here called The Counting House and they don’t have a website you can order from. You can find some similar ones here.
- Round Rattan Woven Serving Tray with Handles (Least expensive)
- Creative Co-op Bankuan Braided Tray with Handles (Square)
- Pottery Barn Seagrass tray ON SALE!
- 3R Studios Round Braided Bankuan Tray with Handles
- Brown Johnathon Braided Bankuan Ottoman Tray
The wooden tray in the kitchen is from either Michael’s or Gordmans. And it was a steal! I’d check there again to see if you could find it.
Thank you for stopping by today! I hope you will come back and visit us soon. Let me know if you have any questions below!
You can find more farmhouse décor tips and inspiration here.