Tutorial Tuesday #1 - Embellished Towels and Napkins
How to Decorate Tiered Trays - Part Two

How to Buy Tiered Trays - Part One

I have this love affair going with tiered trays. They are so great in spots around the house where you want to add some height to your décor and not necessarily want to take up much table space. Today I want to start this three part series by talking about what to look for when purchasing a tiered tray. I might add here that what tray you buy is probably the most important part of having a well decorated tiered tray.

  1. Decide how you want to use it. Will you use it for serving food or will it be strictly for decoration? It is generally not safe to place food directly on wooden trays. A better option for food service would be metal or glass. Also consider the size - smaller trays are a smarter choice when serving food because you'll need to fill it. A smaller two tiered tray is great for small get-togethers filled with hors d'oeuvres or pastries.
  2. Although I tend to move my trays to different spots around the house, you probably will want to start by buying a tiered tray for a specific spot. Decide where you want to display it. Know your cabinet height if you want to put it under the kitchen cabinets. The one pictured here is huge (34" tall and 22' wide at the lower tray - purchased at Nell Hills KC). I wanted it to make a statement on my large kitchen island (5' square), but  the drawback is that it's so big that it won't work anywhere else in my house.
  3. Think about storage when not in use. All on my trays including the one in this post come apart by unscrewing the trays from the spacers, but this one, even when disassembled takes up a lot of storage space. Fortunately we have basement storage, but it's a good thing to think about should you ever need to store it.
  4. Probably the most critical thing to be aware of is the distance between the tiers. So many trays on the market are made with the tiers too close together. You probably will want at least enough room between the tiers to display a salad size plate on a stand. This one has 9" between tiers. Anything less than 9" can be challenging.
  5. Look for trays with flat tiers. This one dips down from the edges so it's hard to display things on it without things looking wonky. I've learned to work around the dip but prefer trays that are level.

In this post I'll show you how I've styled my kitchen tray throughout the year. It's kind of like a perpetual calendar that changes with the seasons and holidays from one year to the next. I never seem to grow tired of it because it never stays to same for long.

Here it is in January and the first part of February (the first photo is this year, the second is last year).


Notice the plates on the bottom two levels. You can't put them upright if the tiers are too close together.


If you don't have room to display plates upright between the trays you can always stack them like I did above.


My island has two chandeliers that I sometimes hang things from. It just extends the decoration a bit and is kind of fun.


In March and April I decorate for Easter and Spring. The next few photos are from Spring last year. (I was in my foliage phase). ha 


Here I hung glitter eggs from the chandeliers with clear thread - you can use floral wire, fish line or bakers twine too.


Did you notice how many candies I ate while I was hanging them? Smileyface


Here are some close ups of some of the areas on the tiers.


I save the candy that I use in the jars from year to year. It's expensive to buy fresh each season and it's not at all tempting when you know it's old and stale. I just empty the candy into baggies, wash the jars and refill them using saved candy from previous seasons.


Such a good place to display treasures that make us happy. That's what this is all about. Right?


Here is this years. Slightly more understated but the same recycled flowers, greenery and candy.



You may also notice that I tend to hang colorful napkins over the edge of the bottom two tiers. I think this adds a pop of color while softening the hard edge of the trays. You, like me will probably come up with a formula that you like and will find yourself repeating it time after time.





Here is last summers display. Since we live in Kansas the sunflowers seemed appropriate. I was also going for a blue and yellow French Provence vibe. 


You might notice that the foliage is basically the same as Spring. I just pulled out the pink roses, added the sunflowers and traded the pastel napkins for the yellow French provincial ones that complemented the yellow sunflowers.

We need to talk about that foliage. I often use wreaths on the bottom tiers and candle rings on the upper one.


In June, July and August I switched out the sunflowers for American flags and added some red dishes to the blue ones. Replaced the yellow napkins for red and white. The whole transformation took minutes.


In September, October and November I switch it into Fall by replacing the greenery with some fall foliage and pumpkins.



As I look at these photos I realize I need to add some more fall like linens to my shopping list.



Fall close up

Then of course after Thanksgiving it becomes Christmas...


I often add those cute little fairy lights with timers too.


and then in January I start all over with Valentines.

Next time I'll try and go into depth about how I style my trays and show you two more smaller ones. I hope you find this three part series helpful and that it encourages you to try a tiered tray, or two, in your homes décor.

Until then,

Encourage one another