Spring Coffee Table Styling Tray Hack

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.

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 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 had 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? 

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?

Blogger of DIY Decorating blog Diane Henkler of In My Own Style

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.

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?

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. Nawm D. Gerr says:

    I love trays too! I agree, you can gather items in them and they look more decorative and easier to clean. I had a large tray out of plastic or some type of hard fiberglass type material that I was unable to paint, so I mode podged it with leopard tissue paper and it essentially created a shellac cover that I can wash. I love it now. Love your pink tray. I love all your stuff.

  2. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    Good for you on giving up hair dye! Most of us from my high school class have gone au naturale. Too much trouble to worry over such.

    I have a basketful of Apple Barrel and some Folk Art, but my Pink Parfait color is almost empty, so must go to Walmart for the Fuchsia! I’ve been thinking Raspberry but like your Fuchsia better.

    Thanks for this great idea!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sheryll – I considered Pink Parfait and a few other pinks, but Fuchsia is not too dark or light, just right. I love the cost too. 50 cents for a small bottle.

  3. Aquaguard RO says:

    Great idea. Thank you for the wonderful & simple idea.

  4. Lisa Ronan says:

    You are so motivating ? I have close to ten trays I’ve been collecting from the various thrift stores-and one is a blonde wicker basket! (I just read that post too!) looks like I better get busy DIYing them!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Lisa – You are like me, when I like something, I tend to buy a lot of it. Have fun finding new decorative uses and ideas for your trays.

  5. Hi Diane,
    Love your painted tray idea. Heading over to my local thrift soon to scout some out. Love how they corral everything and bring order in such a beautiful way. Recently purchased some AS clear wax. Haven’t used it yet, so thanks for the tip. This might be the right size project to try it out on. Can’t wait to read your blog on graying hair. I’m 63 years young, and considering the gray alternative too. Thanks for all your inspiration!

  6. I adore your blog! I love how fresh and simply adorable it is!
    I really like this idea! It adds functionality but also some personality with how you choose to decorate it! I love the bright pink for spring and the flowers to match it!
    Great post!

  7. Deanna Rabe says:

    That pink looks so pretty in your living room!

  8. Kari @ Me and My Captain says:

    You have done it again Diane, inspired me to “paint” to get that perfect color. I love that you went after the pop of pink for your living room and it turned out beautiful. Great DIY.

  9. Alison North says:

    I love your blog and the way describe to make living room according to spring. You DIY decoration inspire me every time.

  10. <3 LOVE the tray!! It's gorgeous, and exactly what your living room wanted! And I love the navy printed coasters next to the pink tray, with the yellow tulips! :) So happy!

  11. That is my color of pink! I need to remember that color. I love that tray and how you styled it. How did you like my fair city of Austin? I hate the traffic and the drivers, but I love the city. There is so much to do here and of course Chip and Joanna Gaines are only about 2 hours north of here (though I have never made it to their store, it is still too crowded for my liking)!

  12. I must say that you look very good in your new natural hair colour! :) You even look younger…
    It’s not for everyone though.
    (A lady I know looks like “Cruella Deville” since she let her hair go white and grey and has a very long side bang!)
    You are an inspiration!

  13. Love that tray! What a nice pop of color!
    Your spring mantel in the background inspired me to update mine for the season, using a combo of white and mint green. Thank you for all of the great inspiration you provide.

  14. Rosemary Gregory says:

    Love your hair! Let’s your pretty eyes stand out! And love the idea of the trays.

  15. Linda O'Neill says:

    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. Kari @ Me and My Captain says:

        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.

  16. 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.

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

  18. TerriC/HoustonLady says:

    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

  19. Connie Meints says:

    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!