These Trays Make Organization Look Chic

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Image: Abigail Ahern

I’ve got organizing in my genes. Son of an engineer and a bookkeeper, I was born and raised to prefer having a place for everything. In every job I’ve ever had, I’ve been responsible for creating processes and managing people. When the Chic Simple book series (remember those?) published their book about keeping the perfect desk, I snapped it up. You get the idea—I love organizing stuff. And one of my favorite ways to do that is to use trays.

A Small Step to Stand Out

If you’re the sort of person who has a lot of great things that you want to display, whether on a table (shown above), a desk, a nightstand, a bookcase, or most anywhere else, placing some of those items on a tray will set them apart and make them special.

Consolidation Creates Interest

Trays Coffee Table on the Interior CollectiveImage: Lonny

This is a terrific idea when you have fewer things you want to display but a large area on which to place them. Organizing them on a tray immediately adds visual weight to the grouping; the extra space on this table seems to disappear.

Organization, Meet Transportation

Tray Bar Organizer on the Interior CollectiveImage: Wythe Hotel

When focusing on your latest foray into interior décor, it can be easy to forget something as simple as the fact that trays are typically used to carry things from place to place. Using a tray to help organize your bar, like this image shows, can bring that utility back into focus—your bar is now portable.

Go for Something Different

Trays Used Sideways on the Interior CollectiveImage: Paperblog

I’m always attracted to an unusual application of an idea, so seeing this image of a tray turned on its side and used like a small bookcase was a delight. As an inveterate organizer, I’m well aware of how boring it can be to simply use variations of the same thing again and again—and boredom is the biggest enemy to creative home décor.

Are you inspired to use trays to upgrade your organizing?

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Dave Hime, founder/curator of, has been an interior design addict for as long as he can remember. In 2005, he bought a house-in-progress and missed several opportunities to have an influence on his own home decor–leaving him wanting more. With design heroes such as Blake Dollahite ( and Robert & Cortney Novogratz (, Dave began seeking out online resources that would exemplify the interior design practices he's most drawn to: using color, texture and simple materials well. Bringing all of this together, along with his specific focus on providing interior design inspiration from a man's point of view, is Dave's mission: masculine design.