Tiered trays are extremely popular in decorating trends right now. You see them everywhere, in a variety of different styles. I think it’s because they are so fun to accessorize, and can easily be changed up from one season or holiday to the next.
I have a large island in my kitchen, so I like to have some kind of centerpiece in the middle of it to serve as a focal point, and also to give the kitchen a little bit of seasonal accent.
A 360° View
Since a tiered trays don’t have a “backside”, they looks pretty all the way around, which makes them a great choice for places like your kitchen island, dining table, or a coffee table. No matter which side people are viewing them from, there’s something nice to look at.
“Shop” Your Home
Another great thing about tiered trays is that you can use lots of the odds and ends you probably already have around your house to style your tray.
Here are some ideas of items that can used on your tiered tray:
- coffee cups
- small bowls
- pieces from your china set, like the creamer or sugar bowl
- cupcake stands
- wooden bead garland
- dish towels
- monogram letters
- small toys
- small signs
- flowers and greenery
- wood slices
- pine cones or grape vine orbs
Use Souvenirs, Ornaments and Momentos You Already Own
Some of my favorite things to use on my tiered tray are souvenirs or special little momentos that I’ve been gifted over the years, or collected on our travels. These small items tend to get packed away someplace where you can’t enjoy them, or randomly placed on a shelf and end up looking cluttered.
By instead grouping these kinds of things as part of a theme on a tiered tray, they form a cohesive look that allows you to enjoy having them on display.
Look for Inexpensive Items at Craft or Dollar Stores
When you’re out shopping, look for inexpensive items in craft or dollar stores that can be used on your tiered tray. I often find cute miniature-sized items in the holiday section at Hobby Lobby, Dollar Tree, and the dollar bins at Target.
However, I also look for small items that are versatile and not holiday-specific, because these can be used and reused for a variety of different tiered trays.
Steps for Styling your Tiered Tray
1. Start with the tiered tray of your choice. I chose this two-tiered tray, since it was going to sit in the middle of my kitchen island, and I wanted to be able to see over it to the kitchen table, out the window, or to the people sitting in the chairs at the island. There are many different options available in both two-tiers or three-tiers. I’ve linked a few of my favorites at the end of the post.
2. Choose a “theme” that will tie your tray together. For this tray, I wanted something that would fill the gap between Valentine’s Day and Easter, so St. Patrick’s Day was the obvious choice. However, I also wanted this display to fit in with my home’s overall farmhouse style. Green glitter and leprechauns would not have worked in my home. Instead, I focused on incorporating the color green into my display with just a couple of St. Patrick’s Day items worked in. It’s a more subtle theme that works better for my style.
The small sign and the green wooden shamrock in the back both came from Hobby Lobby. Both were 40% off and cost less than $2 each. They both looked a little too new and perfect when I brought them home, so I just took a piece of sandpaper to them and roughed them up a bit. Voila! They look like they’ve had some life experience now. 😂
3. Add the larger pieces to your tiered tray first. On my St. Patrick’s Day tray, I positioned the sugar bowl from my china set first. Be careful not to have too many bigger pieces though, as they take up a lot of room and can overly crowd your tray. At first, I had both the creamer and the sugar bowl on my tray, and I ended up removing the creamer, because it made the tray feel too crowded.
3. Tuck in some greenery. You can use real plants, or artificial. Faux plants have come along way, and many of them look quite real. I found the little mini pots in my St. Pat’s tiered tray at the Gordman’s near me that is going out of business. They were 30% off, making them all $2-$3 dollars each. Right now, the Dollar Tree has all of their spring items out, and I noticed that they have a variety of different artificial succulents and even some mini pots with faux lavender. I like to stagger the greenery so that there is some on all levels of they tray, and that it’s visible from all sides.
4. Use repetition. Using multiples of the same or similar items is a good way to tie your theme together and avoid a “too cluttery” look. On my tiered tray, you can see that I have multiple gravevine orbs (which also add a nice texture), two candles, two angels, and multiple plants.
5. Look for balance. You want items of varying height, size and color on each level of your tray. Notice that my St. Patrick’s Day tiered tray has green, white and neutral grays/beiges on both levels, and all the way around.
I used some of my favorite black & white buffalo plaid ribbon to add a little pop of pattern and to prevent the greens from just all blending together. I cut a length of ribbon to fit around two different plain white candles, and then fastened it on using removable glue dots to hold it in place. This way I can take the ribbon off and reuse the candles for a different theme later. I have one on each level for balance.
Varying heights of items also helps make your tray more aesthetically pleasing. I have several of these little wood slices left from our wedding where we use them as place card holders. I repurposed some as handmade Christmas ornaments, but still have several left. They work nicely to tuck underneath items on the tray and add a little lift in places where I need more height.
6. Add something whimsical or unexpected. Don’t be too predictable. A fun little surprise, or something out the ordinary will add a special touch to your display. I love this sweet little house on the top tier that I found at Hobby Lobby in the garden area. It has a little switch on the bottom that makes the windows light up!
On the top tier, I tucked in this horse shoe that I found. A horse shoe with the ends pointed up is considered lucky, so this ties in to my St. Pat’s “lucky” them, but still adds an interesting and unique element to the tray.
7. Rearrange, play, experiment. Last, just play with moving things around and trying different options until it works. When my husband asks me what I’m looking for when I’m shopping or creating something like this, I usually say, “I’ll know it when I see it”. Sometimes you just have to look at different options before one jumps out at you and says, “That’s it!”. Trust me, you’ll know when it all falls into place and you have a look that you’re satisfied with.
Recreate this look:
—Distressed Brown Wood Metal Handle Two-Tier Tray (available in black or cream also)
I’m so excited to style this new “toy” for upcoming holidays and seasons. I can’t wait to show you more. Stay tuned…