Purchasing for Trays – The New York Occasions

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Shopping for Trays - The New York Times

What's the hardest working accessory in your home? Chances are, it's a tray – whether you're using it to bring drinks to friends, frame a decorative vignette, or toss mail on your doorstep.

"We use trays for a lot of different things," says Krista Schrock, a director at Los Angeles-based Disc Interiors.

Sure, they're useful for serving cocktails and canapés, but they're also invaluable for keeping any type of mess looking organized.

"We use them No. 1 on ottomans," says Ms. Schrock, where they serve as a landing pad for magazines, books and remote controls.

But they're just as useful for organizing bathroom accessories on a vanity, jewelry on a dresser, liquor in a wet bar, or keys and sunglasses on a console, because they instantly make clutter seem more collected.

A tray “frames things, which helps set a nice visual tone when you want something decorative,” she said. "I use them all over my house."

  • What is the best material for a tray? “Brass, marble and wood are our favorites,” said Ms. Schrock, emphasizing that she prefers simple designs with a tactile appeal.

  • Should it have handles? "We definitely like handles on bigger ones," she said. "But it's less important with smaller ones."

  • Is One Shape Better Than Another? “Rectangular is the most common, but I also love a round tray,” said Ms. Schrock. "It's nice to use different shapes and sizes in different places."

Round brass trays with leather inserts, in different colors

From $ 170 at Skultuna: 011-46-21-783-03 or skultuna.com

Composite wood trays covered with marbled paper

From $ 62 at Jayson Home: 800-472-1885 or jaysonhome.com

Walnut tray with handles wrapped in cotton cord

From $ 450 at Heide Martin Design Studio: 614-787-3501 or heidemartin.com

Carved marble trays of various sizes and colors

From $ 90 at Lawson-Fenning: 323-934-0048 or lawsonfenning.com

Black-stained oak tray with feet

$ 129 at Ferm Living: 011-45-7022-7523 or fermliving.us

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