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Spring Coffee Table Styling Tray Hack

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Spring decorating made easy and on a budget with this spring coffee table styling tray hack.

I have more budget friendly DIY decor for you today.  Every season I like to change things up in my living room, nothing major just a few color tweaks in the way of decorative accessories, especially on the blank canvas sitting right in the middle of my living room, called a coffee table.

This year for spring, I simply could not find what I was envisioning to style my coffee table. Even after going through all my favorite decor stores. Everything looked too trendy to my eye and just not right for my personal decorating style. Lots of cactus, macramé and Boho accents which are all nice, but not for me.  They remind me of junior high school back in the early 1970’s. A part of my life I don’t want to repeat.

Grandin Road catalog pink door and boxwood initial wreath.

It was not until I got a catalog in the mail and started leafing through it and saw this image that I knew what I wanted to add. Not a front door, :-) … but I want to add the color of the door to my living room in a small way. It is the perfect pink and the color I have been looking for to use to accessorize and style my coffee table. The door wreath is pretty cute, too.

I continued to page through the catalog and then…

Grandin Road catalog table with pink tray

…saw this! I have a similar table in my living room that I DIYed. You can read about how I did that, here:  Spray Painted Round Metal Table

The two catalog images above, I scanned from the catalog so I could show you them since they are not on the catalog’s website. The pink tray is called The Celebration Tray.  The color is perfect, but not the fact that it has a design painted on it that says, Cheers!  Not what I want to see in my living room every day, maybe for a party, but not on a daily basis.

So…I am sure you know what I did next, right?

Spring living room coffee table styling

I went in search of a large square wood tray that I could paint the perfect pink. I found the tray for $12.88!   See it in its “BEFORE” state in the above photo?   You can find the tray here: BHG Wood Tray

It is nice just like this, but I had my vision and wanted to make it happen. I semi-DIYed it to fit my style.

I made the coffee table using 2 x 4’s and the mirror from a dresser.    How to Make a Coffee Table with 2 x 4’s and a Mirror

How to Paint a Large Tray to Style a Coffee Table

supplies needed:

How to prep a wood tray before painting with acrylic craft paint.

  1. Sand tray with sandpaper to scratch the surface a little bit. This will provide tooth for the paint to adhere.

What is the best type of paint to use to paint a tray?

2. I did not use primer, but you could add one thin coat and let dry. I found primer was not needed since the craft paint has acrylic in it. I brushed on 3 very light coats, letting each one dry for 6 hours before applying the next light coat.

How to paint a tray pink and seal it with wax.

3. Once the last coat of paint was dry – (24 hours), I rubbed a thin coat of Annie Sloan clear wax over the painted surface. I then buffed the wax with a soft shop towel until a subtle shine appeared.

How Do You Buff Wax on Painted Furniture or Surfaces?


After adding a thin layer of wax to the surface, it needs to be buffed with a soft lint-free cloth. After wax is applied, the first few buffing strokes you make as you go over the surface with a soft cloth or shop towel will feel like you are dragging the cloth/paper towel, but the more you go over the wax and apply pressure, the easier it will get to move the cloth freely over the wax.  You will have buffed  the surface enough when the cloth glides easily over the surface. You will also see a subtle sheen appear. If you want more of a protective finish, apply another thin layer of wax over the just buffed wax and repeat the process.

You can use any soft wax, Johnson’s Clear Paste Wax is the least expensive and works well. The only thing I don’t like about it is that is smells while you apply it and as it dries. Once dry though, it no longer smells.

Spring Coffee Table Styling Tray – AFTER

Spring decorating made easy and on a budget with this spring coffee table styling tray hack

After buffing, I placed it on my coffee table and watched spring instantly come to life in my living room.

Spring decorating in a living room made easy and on a budget with this spring coffee table styling tray hack

Seeing the pop of pink makes me happy every time I walk into the room now. :-)

It’s easy for a handful of items on a table, sideboard, or counter to look like clutter, but arrange them in a tray, and it changes the whole vibe.  Plus, when you want to clear off the table top to use for eating, playing games or to clean, you only have to move one thing, rather than several.

Decorating ideas using fake flowers on a tray

Square and rectangular trays are one of my favorite decorative accessories. They are multi-functional and bring together unrelated items that will create more impact in your decor   Tray on sideboard

How to spray paint a thrift store tray to transform it into a chic decorative accessory.

In my previous house, I found a thrift store tray and spray painted it to hold remotes.  In the tray they look decorative and not like clutter.  How to spray paint a thrift store tray.

Driftwood finish outdoor furniture with tray on top

I even like to use trays to help create ambiance outside my house, too.

Do you use decorative trays around your home throughout the year?  If so, what room do you use them in and what do you place on them? My mom used to place a crock filled with kitchen utensils and frequently used herbs and spices right next to the stove on her kitchen counter. All she had to do, was pick up the tray to easily clean up the counter instead of a handful of little items.

Coffee table styling idea using a tray. How to paint a tray to coordinate with a room's decor. Pink painted decorative tray.

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  1. I love the trays and the way you customized it to suit your needs. Great job. I have another how-to question that perhaps you can answer. I have dark rattan chairs in my living rom and want to lighten them. Have you ever painted rattan and have it come out looking good. Any how-to suggestions or should I just shine it on?

    1. I have a Pier 1 dark rattan chair also. Would so love to paint it white but not sure whether to spray paint it or brush. Waiting to hear Diane’s reply.

      1. I have outdoor furniture that was a bronze color rattan (Martha Stewart) ….and a couple years ago, I spray painted them all white, ….took off the olive green cushions and replaced them with sunny yellow and they have held up very well. I live in Florida and they stay on the Lanai year round.

        I did use a sprayer as I had two end tables, one coffee table, a love seat, two ottomans and two large easy chairs. I did not prime but sprayed two coats allowing to dry a couple hours between coats.

        Hope this helps.

  2. Hi Diane, love the look of your spring tray, it’s the perfect shade of pink. Love your hair too. I too have stopped dyeing and get many comments on my silver streaked hair. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say about why you stopped dyeing it.

  3. Trays really help things look put together and neat. I love your pink tray!! Looks wonderful in your home. :)

  4. Hi Diane,
    I love the idea of using trays too. I may have to go purchase some paint now to put life into my dull trays : )
    Have a wonderful weekend

  5. Hi Diane,
    Welcome to the Club. I stopped coloring my hair about 4 years ago – it is so liberating:). I love the pink tray – especially with gold. I have been following you for several years & I love your DIY projects. Look forward to seeing what you do next!