New Displays for Old Trays

Use a simple accessory in a new way for an instant and inexpensive update.

If you're suffering from the decorating blues, then look around your home. You may just find an everyday item that can add fun and flair without any additional expense. Take this tray, for example. Tucked away in a china cabinet, it rarely made an appearance except at parties. Its wonderful color combination and graphic pattern, however, make it a perfect item to show off. It adds interest to a dark bookcase when placed upright; makes a clever side table on top of a metal stand; and serves as a writing board that's attractive enough to leave out. The tray would even work hanging on the wall as art, or it could be used to highlight a collection on a side table or hide a damaged finish.

Look inside cabinets or even your garage for ideas. While you're scrounging around, you may find a few more forgotten treasures that can breathe new life into your decor. Here are a couple more examples to get you thinking. Mint julep cups make great vases for small flower arrangements; group several together for more impact. They also make stylish penholders. Galvanized buckets are perfect for holding toys in a playroom and for iced beverages at a party. Smaller ones work as vases for a casual centerpiece. Happy hunting.