Trays and pitchers are home accessories that are profoundly important

Trays and pitchers are home accessories that are profoundly important to have at your fingertips—especially during the holidays! And guess what ladies and gentlemen? Here we are at the brink of the holidays.


Yes, indeed, you read that correctly! Trays are marvelous little necessities, but they tend to get tucked away in a cabinet and forgotten. So you may not know where yours are at the moment, but I'm sure you do have a couple of trays—if not five. I can just hear you saying, "Now what in the heck am I going to do with trays?" Well, take a seat gorgeous, and I'll tell you! It's Saturday, so top off your coffee or pour yourself a cup of tea and visit with me.

The snow is swirling, the fire in the hearth is crackling and popping. Now wouldn't a lovely cup of something warm and a few chocolates be just the way to end your evening? Serve up a snack on your favorite tray.

You are having a holiday gift exchange luncheon for the ladies from your church. Present the buffet on your kitchen island and place your luncheon plates and an arrangement of napkins on a charming tray. A beautiful way to start the beginning of the buffet.

You know that pile of magazines and catalogs on your coffee table? Gather them up and display them on a tray. When you finally have time to clip holiday recipes and tear out gift ideas, you can just pick up the tray and take it to a cozy spot. Are you elegant or what!

Place a tray on a plate stand or lean one against the backsplash in your kitchen, which not only offers a lovely view but puts the tray right at your fingertips.

Your breakfast table looks plain silly with only a small pair of salt and pepper shakers and a sugar bowl in the center of the table! Say it with me now: "I need a tray!" The perfect tray makes the shakers and sugar bowl suddenly appear special! I'm telling you, trays are magic!

Your bathroom vanity has become a cluttered mess. Find a proper-size tray and take all your pots, potions and other items that make you presentable to the world and put them on a tray. Now doesn't that look stunning. Lovely, lovely, lovely!

Your powder room is just divine, but you have a pedestal sink—meaning no cabinet and no storage for the toilet tissue! A narrow tray on the back of the commode is just the answer! Place a roll or two on the tray, such presentation! Go just one step further and display these unmentionables with a grosgrain ribbon bow around each roll. You will be the talk of town, you fancy person you!

Your recently re-did your guest room and it is worthy of photographs in a magazine, oh you Martha you! Put your guests towels all tied up with a ribbon on tray and place it on the bed! Your own little Bed and Breakfast……….now aren't you proud!

The table in your entryway is where the mail gets tossed to be sorted later. Keep that mail in line with a tray until you're ready to deal with it.

Now it's your turn to think outside the box. Where else in your home would a tray make sense and lend an unexpected bit of style to your home.

If you don't already have a collection of trays in an array of shapes and sizes to fit any situation, shopping for them is a snap! Pop over to your mom's house or visit a friend and ask to see what trays they might having hiding somewhere. Snatch up every silver tray you see at secondhand shops. (I have stacks of them, but no, you cannot have any—they are mine all mine!) Gift shops, department stores, discount places…trays are not hard to come by. Just be thoughtful with your decision making and find a few you can use in a number of ways!


You no doubt have a classic ice-tea and orange juice pitcher tucked away. A clever and smart way to decorate is to use an item for something other than its intended function. (And you know you are a real smarty pants, don't you gorgeous!) So try the following:

A pitcher in crystal, painted ceramic or even pewter makes a beautiful vase. These are just the pieces to display a wonderful floral arrangement on the kitchen or powder room counter.

Brighten up a buffet by stuffing rolled napkins into a squatty short pitcher with a large opening and serving up flatware in smaller pitchers.

Place breadsticks in a pitcher for an Italian dinner.

A large heavy pitcher is just the thing to hold wooden spoons and ladles near the stove.

Small silver and crystal pitchers are perfect for the makeup brushes on your vanity.

Pop your pens and pencils in a pitcher on your desk.

For the holidays, fill a pitcher with peppermint sticks for stirring your hot chocolate!

I firmly believe that we are not nearly as nice to ourselves as we should be—and that means you! So try this on for size and see if you don't feel downright royal! Locate a wonderful tray, with or without handles, and place your morning paper on it, a wonderful short crystal pitcher with a few carnations in it, a cup of coffee and some breakfast pastries and go enjoy 30 wonderful minutes for yourself! Every person needs to—and deserves to—feel special! Little luxuries like this set the tone for your entire day. I can see you smiling!

See, sweetie—I mean, Your Majesty—you are loving this!

Jan Colvin has been a professional interior designer for over 25 years (Allied ASID). She accredits her mother Pat Robinson and Lucille Chase for her intense interest and love for design. Jan has taught interior design at the college level and operated her private design business since 2001. Today she spends a majority of her time completing her new book which will be available in the first quarter of 2013.

Jan welcomes questions, which will be answered in her columns. Send your questions to: