Tiered trays are a common home item that turned into a popular styling accessory in recent years. They started as a staple of the farmhouse look, but as that style begins to fade, you may be wondering if tiered trays are going with it.
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So, the big question is…
Are tiered trays still in style?
Like a lot of farmhouse decor, tiered trays are a classic item that have been used in homes for decades (or longer), so in and of itself, the tiered tray is pretty timeless. Plus, not only do tiered trays offer a fun opportunity for styling, they’re also incredible handy for serving while entertaining. Function never goes out of style.
At the same time, there are certain ways to style a tiered tray that are going out of fashion, and new ways that are considered more current and in-style.
Let’s take a look.
What is a tiered tray?
A tiered tray is, well, a tray with more than one tier. It’s basically two or three trays stacked on top of one another. They were originally designed as a way to serve food, particularly things like appetizers or small desserts, but more recently, they’re used for purely decorative purposes, and have developed a big following among farmhouse-decor fans.
During the height of the farmhouse decor trend, tiered trays became more than just a functional item that you brought out during the holidays, and were often used to display seasonal decor.
How to use a tiered tray & styling tips for 2023
Like I said, there are two big ways to use the tray (or trays?). The first if for serving, and the second is for decorating. You can also do a combo of both, say, if you were hosting a themed holiday party and wanted to serve up a cute hot cocoa bar.
If you’re trying to figure out what to put on your tiered tray, here are few suggestions..
Ways to use a tiered tray
The most popular spot to use a tiered tray is in the kitchen, where you can use it to display things like:
- Tea & coffee supplies
- Hot chocolate bar offerings
- Cocktail mix-ins
- Favorite china or dinnerware
- Ceramics and coffee mugs
- Holiday decor or seasonal items like signs, ornaments, floral arrangements, or holiday serving pieces.
Most commonly, however, tiered trays are use as a mix of all of the above, and it’s more about the look than the function.
A tiered tray can also be used outside of the kitchen, for example, in a bay window to hold small succulents or plants, in a living room as coffee table decor, or in a laundry room to hold laundry supplies.
Tiered Tray Style for 2023
The reason you may be wondering if tiered trays are still in style is because the look has been around for a while now, and some of the elements you usually find on them, like Rae Dunn-inspired text and cutesy farm signs are on their way out of style, simply because they’ve been done so much.
At the same time, there are new, fun ways to style a tiered tray that feel fresh. And, I think there’s still a place for the signage. Overall, tiered tray styling is moving toward incorporating more vintage elements and greenery, as well as using the trays as a way to create an elevated display for more mundane areas, like the laundry room or office space.
Here are some examples of how to style a tiered tray for 2023.
Neutral Tiered Tray
This tray feels more elevated than some of the theme-y ones we’ve seen in the past. It doesn’t have any loud sign or handmade crafts. Instead of a theme, the decor is centered on a neutral color palette and pretty greenery. This is a fun and affordable way to decorate an empty corner of your kitchen, great room, or living room.
Tiered Tray Garden
Here’s another example of a tiered tray that feels more understated and elevated than the styling from a few years back. The tray features live greenery, vintage decor and small framed art prints.
Valentine’s-Themed Tiered Trays
The one time when I think it’s still in style to go more cutesy, colorful, and fun with tiered trays is for holiday decor. Tiered trays are a great way to decorate for any holiday, and holiday decor should be fun (especially if you have kids).
Garden-themed tiered tray
I also love the idea of making your tiered tray a way to display a mini-garden. You can add potted succulents and small plants, and mix in gardening accessories and essentials like a pretty mister, a watering can, and garden signs.
Understated Fall Tiered Tray
First of all, I love the antique brass look of this tray. It’s styled for fall, but in a way that’s not over-the-top. Muted pumpkins, a few fall florals, some antique books and a fall-scented candle are all you need to recreated this seasonal idea.
Easter Tiered Trays
These two Easter-inspired trays by Liz Marie Galvan are from 2016, which prove that a simple approach to styling your tiered tray will stand the test of time. I still think both of these are lovely.
The Practical Tiered Tray
You can also use a tiered tray to turn almost anything into a cute display, i.e. plant seedlings, laundry supplies, your fruit in the kitchen, etc.
Tiered tray decor sets
As the tiered tray became more popular, many small shop owners and boutiques started selling tiered tray decor sets.
Most of them, again, have a farmhouse-style spin, but if you don’t love the farmhouse look, you can also find some cute seasonal options that feel more classic or modern.
Here are a few cute options. (Or, you can also look at my favorite assortment of cute and cheap decor to come up with your own arrangement!)