Have you noticed how popular tiered trays have become? You see them all over Instagram. I have seen some online that are GORGEOUS but extremely pricey or I’ve found equally beautiful but affordable ones that are super wobbly. We have a 9-foot long kitchen island that always seems to be covered with STUFF and when it’s cleaned off I’m not going to lie…the arrow on my stress-ometer goes down to about zero. I work within a lot of clutter on a daily basis in my own basement. So when I come upstairs to more clutter all over the island, I just can’t seem to think… it’s like clutter in my brain and anyone who knows me knows I do not need anything else taking up space in my brain that has a zillion tabs open already at any given time (I know I’m not alone in this, right?)! So, to help find a place for all those little things that seem to be needed frequently in the “island-zone”, I’ve come to love the tiered tray idea. My current tray was a Homegoods find. I’m not being paid a cent from them but I find almost all of my accessories from TJMaxx, Homegoods, and Target. Here are my five favorite items to use on a tiered tray. I’ve chosen to go with my summer theme which happens to still be patriotic in nature. Soon enough it will be Fall and I’m just not ready to go there yet. But perhaps in a future post, I will come back to these favorites with a new seasonal set up.
Here are my top five favorites:
- A mug-sized container or bowl
I like to have something to keep our pet meds in that need to be given to our cat on a daily basis. There are so many options for seasonal switch outs for this – a cute spring mug or, in this photo, a small bucket from the Target Dollar Spot. You may even have something lying around the house or in your kitchen cabinets that can be used for the small little items that kind of accumulate rather than get put back immediately. Maybe your school collects box tops – it would be a quick and easy place to toss them until time to turn in to the school. Think outside of the box on this!
- Greens (faux or real)
I tend to have a green thumb when it comes to our outdoor annuals but give me an indoor plant to take care of and you might as well give it a death sentence. That’s why I gravitate towards artificial plants – especially the small boxwood-looking kind that you can find very inexpensively at stores such as Homegoods, TJMaxx, or Ikea. I use these everywhere! Seriously… even my son asked for a couple for his room. The reason I love greens in the mix is because it adds not only an earthy element but they also help to soften the hardness of a wooden tiered tray. They also add texture and provide fullness to the space.
- A small sign or set of seasonal matching objects
Whether it’s a saying you just love and want to see every day over and over or a seasonal design, you can find small signs in so many places! (Occasionally, you may even find some in our online shop…Hint Hint!) Make sure to pick one that can stand nicely on it’s own – so one with a solid frame or good thickness to it so that it doesn’t fall over every time you reach for one of the practical items on the shelf.
- A remote holder
I am currently using a cute pen holder. I think I got mine at Michael’s a while back. It’s nice to have a place to store those easy to misplace remotes.
- A napkin “bucket”
Once again, TJMaxx to the rescue. I love this double bucket because it can serve dual purpose for both napkins and remotes! Or you could put a small green in one side and remotes or napkins in the other…
And if you have a large tiered tray, here are a few more items I love to use:
- A canister (or two in my case)
My love for Rae Dunn pottery coupled with TJMaxx and Homegoods means I have been super lucky to have found a good deal of pieces over time. I now have the “tea” and “sugar” small canisters. I drink a LOT of tea. I also tend to make tea and forget about it A LOT… I have several witnesses. But I don’t actually put anything in my tea. So, my sugar canister holds what I consider the sugar to my tea which is the caffeine. The “tea” one holds the decaf. But I love that it’s all right there at my fingertips on the island!
- Fun straws
I love festive paper straws! But, honestly, we rarely ever use them so I just keep cycling them back around for the seasons. I’ve found them in the dollar bins at Michael’s and Target – I just try to keep my eyes open for them and grab them when they are the best deal. I can re-use the red/white ones at Christmas time or mix them with green polka dots then as well. I can use green polk dots with cute little Easter bunny straws in the spring. They are an easy way to add height and dimension to a vase or creamer jar.
- Small accessories
I love my little set of houses from the Hearth and Hand Magnolia collection at Target. I’ve used these in multiple places in my home but currently have them split up on each of the three shelves. This is a great place for little pumpkins in the fall or little snowmen or mini Christmas trees over the holidays. Small vases are also great – in this case I wanted something to display my little flags. Make sure to use different textures and shapes and items that will provide fullness. Try a mix of wood, glass, ceramic, florals, maybe burlap or decorative spheres, cute mugs, small garlands, or fabric covered items.
- Salt & pepper holders
I found these cute little patriotic star-shaped holders in the Target Dollar Bins – I can’t tell you how many items I find in those bins for my home! Never overlook the power of the dollar bins in any store! When there is no particular holiday for which to decorate, I use my little mason jar salt and pepper shakers. Then they are right there to grab during dinner (we most often eat at our island) or meal prep.
- A cute sugar and creamer set
I must have friends in high places because I scored this Rae Dunn set from a friend/follower. How funny is it that I had purchased a set from – yep, you guessed it – good ‘ole TJ’s but it was not the set I actually wanted. I couldn’t find the set I actually wanted and I only shop for these items in TJ’s and HG’s. Here’s the short version of the story…
I had posted a photo about my Rae Dunn collection on Facebook and my friend, Christy, texted me saying “You’re not going to believe this but my friend just texted me that she saw your post and said she has the older design and wants the newer design that you have shown in your post!” What are the odds?! We ended up meeting to exchange our sugar/creamer sets (turns out this friend of a friend is pretty cool because we met up at The Container Store (another one of my very favorite places to shop)!!
If you like the idea of a tiered tray like this to use as a centerpiece on your counter, island, or table, give it a shot! Sometimes you have to be patient for the right one to come along but once you have it, I’d love for you to share your pics with me! If you’re looking for more ideas, search the hashtag #tieredtray on Instagram or just search Tiered Tray on Pinterest!
In summary, it’s important to be practical but, personally, I like pretty as well. If you want to keep down on the amount of stuff on your tray, then maybe a two-tiered tray is better than a three-tiered one. Or maybe you want a rectangular or square version rather than a round. Before investing in a tiered tray, you’d want to have an idea in mind for how you’d like to be able to use yours – what kinds of things do you want to be able to store on it? These are also great for coffee bars (for storing mugs, k-cups, sugar packets, tea bags, and so on). They are also great to use on a bathroom counter or beside a large tub for special soaps or bath salts and loofa sponges, or for storing candles. There are just so many possibilities!
Do you use a tiered tray in some way in your home? I’d love to hear how!