DIY FARMHOUSE DECOR | HOW TO STYLE TIERED TRAYS
How to Decorate a Tiered Tray
Tiered trays are a great way to display your treasured items and give your home a festive flair for the holidays. It is easy to get overwhelmed, however, especially if you don't know where to start. Luckily, all you need to do is follow a few simple tips and tricks to create a beautiful tray for any occasion or situation.
Finding Items to Display
Use seasonal items.You can give your home a festive touch without going overboard simply by displaying some seasonal or holiday-related items on a tiered tray. Take a look at your calendar and note any holidays that are coming up. Choose a holiday, then find items related to that holiday.
- You don’t just have to stick to holidays, however. You could use bright yellow and blue for spring and summer, stick with earth tones for the fall, and use white and metallic colors for winter, for example.
Choose functional items.If you are keeping your tray in the kitchen, use it to display items you frequently use, such as mugs, tea cups, or fruit. If you are keeping yours in the bathroom or bedroom, use it to display other items, such as makeup, and nail polish.
Make it personal with some meaningful words.Try carved wooden phrases or letters. You can leave them plain or decorate them with paint, scrapbooking paper, rhinestones, etc. You can also buy or make a mini chalkboard and write a message on it with chalk or chalk paint pens.
Add some holiday-themed treats.Fill a small jar, bowl, or dish with candy related to the season, then place it on one of the tiers. This is a great way to make your tray look more festive, even if you have nothing else related to the holiday. Best of all, you get to snack on the treats! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Christmas: starburst mints or mini candy canes
- Easter: chocolate eggs
- Halloween: candy corn, chocolate eyeballs, or mini trick-or-treat candy
- St. Patrick's Day: chocolate coins, skittles, or M&Ms
- Valentine's Day: red cinnamon hearts or conversation hearts
Make it personal with photos.They can be related to the holiday (such as pictures with Santa or the Easter Bunny), or they can be regular, everyday photos. They can also be ones that depict important events, such as weddings, graduation ceremonies, or birthdays. You can play the photos in mini frames, clear acrylic frames, or even on a metal photo holder/tree.
- For a more functional approach, include coasters that have been decoupaged with photographs on the tray.
Go with a theme.Tiered trays are a great way to display collections. Do you really like cows? Find all of you cow-related items, including figurines, mugs, and creamers, and display them on your tray. Try to use items in different sizes and materials to add a little bit of variety to your tray.
- Or, stick with a single color in various shades, such as blue, gray, or red.
Placing and Arranging Items
Place larger items on the top layer to add some height to your tiered tray.If you are decorating it for the holidays, keep the actual holiday in mind. Try a mini tree for Christmas, a heart-shaped topiary for Valentine's Day, and a bunny for Easter.
- The taller, thinner the item, the better. They will help keep the eye traveling upwards.
- Flowers, figurines, and candles all make great top tier choices.
- Choose stable, sturdy items for the top tier as they are the most likely to fall down.
Fill in the empty spaces with small items.Little collectibles, souvenirs, and knickknacks make great fillers, especially if you have a few large items on your tiers already. Don't get too carried away, however; if you only display small items, your tiers will look too busy and messy.
- Stick to 1 or 2 trinkets and ensure they fit with the theme or color scheme of the tray.
Mix and match useful and decorative items.If you are filling your tray with items that you use often, consider adding in some decorative items as well. Great choices include little figurines and bud vases.
- Try a glass with a sprig of your favorite herb in it. Then it becomes both decorativeandfunctional!
- If you plan to put reading glasses or sunglasses on the tray, store them in a decorative bowl for a nice touch.
Add some variety with different colors and textures.When filling your tray, it is easy to fall into a pattern and place like items with like. While there is nothing wrong with organization, too many blue or metal items on one tier can look a little boring. If you have too many items of the same color (or material) on one shelf, switch them around. This will help lead they eye around.
- This same rule applies to size: play around with placing large and small items next to each other.
Decorating an Old Tray
Clean the tray.Before you paint the tray, or add any embellishments, you need to clean it. Start by wiping the tray down with a damp cloth. Dry it off with a towel, then wipe it down with some rubbing alcohol. This will help remove any oils that might prevent paint/glue from sticking.
Decide how you want the tray to look.You don't have to do all of the steps listed in this method; some of them may not even work for the type of tray you have. Figure out what sort of look you are going for first, then choose one or two of the ideas listed below.
- Find inspiration online using sites like Pinterest, or browse a home decor store.
- Make sure the tray matches the room you plan to use it in. For instance, if the room has modern decor, make the tray look modern as well.
Sand a painted wooden tray if you wish to give it a rustic, antique look.Use some coarse-grit sandpaper (suck as P80 grit) to lightly buff the surface of the tray. This will dull down the paint and reveal some of the wood underneath. Keep buffing until you get the look you want.
- If your tray isn't painted, paint it first using matte wood or latex paint.
- Consider adding some wood stain after sanding your tray. Be sure to seal it in afterwards!
Stain an unpainted wooden tray.You can use store-bought wood stain or make your own using vinegar, coffee, and steel wool. This is a great alternative to using paint that allows the wood's natural texture to shine through. It is great if you want a natural-looking finish.
- Most stains need to be sealed. Choose a matte sealer for a more rustic look, and a glossy one for a fancier one.
Give an old tray a fresh look with a coat of paint.You can use regular paint or spray paint. Let the paint dry, then add another coat or two, if needed. Be sure to let each coat of paint dry completely before adding a new one.
- It would be a good idea to seal the paint in afterwards with an acrylic sealer.
- You could use chalk paint for an antique feel.
Add some design with stencils.If your tray is already the color you want, but is still looking a little dull, consider painting some designs using stencils. Place the stencil where you want it to go, then secure it with painter's tape. Apply paint over it using a foam brush. Peel the stencil off, then let the paint dry.
Give decoupage a try.Cut some scrapbooking paper down to fit the shelves on your tray. Apply a coat of decoupage to the shelves, then press the paper down onto it. Smooth out any air bubbles, then let it dry 15 to 20 minutes. Apply another coat of decoupage and let it dry.
- Cut down some more scrapbooking into individual designs and add it on top for a more interesting look.
Add a trim.If your trays have thick sides, consider adding some trim. Great ideas include rhinestones, ribbon, lace, etc. Use hot glue to apply the trims, then pull away any threads left by the glue. Make sure that the trims match the tray's style and your room décor.
- Change your tiered tray with the seasons and holidays.
- Use the world around you as inspiration. Take a walk outside, note the textures and colors, then try to use them on your tray.
- Look at pictures of existing tiered trays and shelves for inspiration.
Video: Tips & Tricks for Styling a 3 Tiered Tray | Home Decor
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