Whether you use it to enjoy some breakfast in bed, serve up a round of martinis, or just as a permanent fixture to your coffee table, a good tray is a versatile purchase. Here we round up our favourites.
1. Scandi Large Painted Tray: £35, johnlewis.com
This pleasantly solid, wooden tray is the department store’s take on Scandi design. Its minimalist, fuss-free style will bring a bit of modernist cool to any kitchen and is available in a range of sizes and colours, including red, teal and this steel grey.
2. Ary Trays Folk Stripe Tray: £25.50, amara.com
The striking circular patterns on this tray remind us of the varying-colour-biro works of art we used to draw with our spirograph in childhood – but far more beautiful. This one is 38cm diameter, but there’s also a show-stopping red 65cm diameter design, if you really want to make a statement.
3. Roulé Tray Large: £70.14, hem.com
Continuing this season’s unstoppable copper trend is this number from French designer Pauline Deltour. With the elegance of the simple rolled edge (hence the name, ‘Roulé’), we can picture Jay Gatsby piling it high with saucers of Champagne. Also available in brass, should copper be too mainstream for you.
4. Lene Bjerre Darlia Tray Large: £36.50, houseology.com
A thick, rustic, effortlessly cool choice from the Danish design brand, this narrow tray is made from mango wood and will look cracking loaded up with your Handpresso cups and Alessi Pina espresso maker.
5. Large Serving Tray: £42.50, nomliving.com
Nom works with locals in Vietnam and Cambodia to bring beautiful handmade goods over to the UK and their range of trays is a prime example. It is wood with a high-shine lacquer finish, comes in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours (our choice is jade blue) and could make a more permanent addition to your coffee table or ottoman to protect the surface from your coffee cups year-round.
6. Alessi Dressed Tray: £70, store.alessi.com
One for special occasions, this mirror-polished steel tray by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders has a surface decorated in swirls fit for grand tables and long luxurious dinners. A clever modern touch comes at the tray’s edges, where the pattern upturns itself into a solid tactile rim.
7. Heal’s 1810 Herbarium Round Tray: £40, heals.co.uk
Danish illustrators Hvass and Hannibal are best known for creating whimsical artwork for magazine spreads and album covers. They drew on their Scandinavian heritage for this botanical print tray, which is made in layers of birchwood from the Swedish forests.
8. Seagrass Tray: £12.99, hm.com
This seagrass tray from H&M’s home collection brings just a touch of beachside chic into the home. Coiled and woven together in 100% natural seagrass, the tray is perfect for serving summer drinks outdoors, or as part of an alfresco dining spread.
9. Conran Round Tray: £39.50, marksandspencer.com
Sometimes it’s the simple things that serve us best. This smoothly finished oak wood tray is a good quality all-rounder: use it to make enjoying breakfast in bed or serving tea and coffee to friends that bit more stylish.
10. Ferm Living Star Ttray: £29, cloudberryliving.co.uk
A geometric star design bursts out from the centre of this laminated birch tray by Ferm Living. Illustrated with a pattern by Cecilia Pettersson, the tray comes in three versions: monochrome, or black contrasted with minty green or dusky pink.
For timeless simplicity, we're torn between John Lewis's Scandi-inspired number and Conran's round wooden one, while for something more striking, the geometric monochrome tray from Ferm Living gets our vote.
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