Decorating Ideas | Room Makeovers

How to Make a Chic Butler’s Tray Table from Thrifty Finds

Creative & affordable ways to use TV tray tables to make chic Butler’s Tray Tables to decorate a home.


Before I show you how I created two very chic tray tables, I wanted to show you where I got the inspiration to make them.

Remember my guest room redo. I  never showed you the finished room as I was waiting to find just the right side table for the bed. I didn’t have to look any further than my basement. It is where I have been storing a few items from my mother-in-law that I am not sure what to do with yet.  She had a black antique butler’s table that was perfect for my guest room.  See it in the corner?

Guest-Room-After

Butler’s tables are both stylish and versatile! The tray top comes off so you can use it as  – a tray. Whoever invented it – smart idea.    The bottom folds up to store or to easily move from room to room.

Here is my table close up – it is very old – Asian inspired design.

Antique-Tray-Table

With a folding base and removable tray top –  a butler’s table can be used in more ways than one. They keep a room looking organized as it turns items that might otherwise look cluttered into décor.

Guest-Room-With-antique-tra

It is a side table one minute, but my guests could simply remove the tray and place it on the bed while they are snuggling with the cat who thinks the room is his.

Tray-table-versatility

I placed a basket on the bottom section to hold rolled towels.

Basket-under-tray-table

The tray holds some basic necessities my guests may need– water, reading material, an alarm clock, tissues, and…

How-to-decorate-a-guest-roo

chocolate in the way of Kisses.

a-chocolate-for-your-guest-

If you don’t have an antique butler’s table and like the idea of having one look no further than local yard sales and thrift stores.

I found these plastic TV tray tables and silver tray at my local thrift store to make my own chic butler’s tray table.  They look pretty mundane, but with the magic of some spray paint.

blue-tv-tray
tray-table-and-silver-tray

An ordinary TV tray goes from cheap to chic when a wicker basket is placed on top.

How-to-make-a-tray-table-fo
How-to-create-your-own-chic

Don’t like baskets?  How about a chic modern look?  Spray paint the TV table black and place a $4.00 thrift store silver tray on top.

How-to-make-a-tray-table-us

Tres Chic!

How-to-make-a-chic-tray-tab

TV Trays, luggage racks, and trays  of all shapes and sizes are abundant at flea markets and thrift stores this time of year if you can’t unearth any hidden away in your basement.

Other Places to Use a Butler’s Table:

  • Eating Alfresco? Place the stand next to the table and bring out the food on the tray.   This gives you extra table space.
  • Use the tray alone to turn an ottoman into a table.
  • Eat in front of the TV in style.
  • Place by a sofa or chair  – add a lamp and it makes the perfect side table.
  • Set it up as a party bar.

It is one of the most versatile pieces of furniture you will ever own.

Make it shabby, make it chic, make it rustic, make it simply –  in your own style!

To see the other posts and tutorials on how I transformed this guest room you can follow these links.

Other projects in the guest room include:

Update a Hand Me Down Dresser
Bed Hanging 123
No-Sew Drapery Panels
PVC Curtain Rod and Finials
 
DIY Butler's Table: Perfect for a Guest Room or TV tray for your living room. Use as a table or as a moveable tray.
  

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41 Comments

    1. Hi Heather –

      To hang the mirror over the bed curtain, I first added a EZ screw-in style hollow wall anchor to the wall behind the curtain. I placed it where I wanted the mirror to hang. I measured to get this at the right place.

      Once that wall anchor was in the wall, I added the a heavy duty screw into it. This screw is what the mirror hangs on. I hung the curtain and arranged the folds evenly across the wall. Next I found the center and felt around for the wall anchor/screw and snipped a tiny hole in the fabric to expose it.

      On the back of the mirror, I added a heavy duty hook hanger that screws in. Then hung it on the wall. For extra security, I wrapped wire through the hook on the back of the mirror and over the screw.

      EZ Screw Wall Anchor I used: https://amzn.to/2JRXyfs
      Heavy Duty Picture hanging hook: https://amzn.to/3qxZdrJ

  1. Love the black side table tray. Did I miss something in your post or did the TV tray already have the upper & lower rod looking supports on it? You were able to set your basket on the bottom “rods” I’ve ever seen ate tray like that, would love to though. I also liked your idea for the drawer pulls with the glass beadsw/ initials.

    1. Hi Lyn – The black tray table is an antique tray table that was handed down to me. It is complete with the upper and lower supports. In this post, I tried to make plain TV tables I had look more like it by adding baskets and trays to the tops of them.

  2. I stumbled upon your website whilst looking for ideas and must stay that I’m quite impressed. Thanks to you, I’ve now come up with an idea for an old plain wooden t.v. table and a wooden nesting tray that fits on top perfectly. I’m going to paint both pieces in a high gloss black acrylic paint then line the tray with a black and white brocade patterned vinyl placemat to create a gorgeous butler’s table! Can’t wait to get started.

  3. Hi Diane, Your guest room is fabulous! Love the ‘curtain’ framed bed and starburst mirror. The side table is so clever. Thanks so much for linking to the Sunday Showcase Party – I greatly appreciate it. I have featured this today. Enjoy the rest of your week ~ Stephanie Lynn
    http://www.bystephanielynn.com

  4. Can I say how much I love this room? I almost decorated my room with purple and green, so I love the white and purple you did. It looks so soft and homey. I like all the details you put into making this a cozy area for your guests. Very creative use of those normally ugly plastic tables. I like the look with the silver tray.

    1. Hi Shannon –

      Thanks. Since I was working on a budget, the color scheme for my guest room was kind of chosen for me as I had leftover paint from my dining room. It went well with the black and white accents I had in this room. I found the purple and white blanket at Ross for 5.99. I think it is one of my favorite bargain store buys!

  5. I love this! I’d like to invite you to post it on Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage. The link will be up all week, I hope you can join in. Have a nice week, Mary :O)

  6. Gosh, what a wonderful guest room! You did a great job with it. Love your butler’s table idea. Thanks for sharing and thanks for linking to Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays.

  7. That room is adorable, I would love to take some inspiration from it! You’re right, that table is definately a versitile piece. We may be in for a big cross country move soon and I will be using your blog as my main resource! BTW…Kisses with almonds are my absolute favorite!

  8. What a great idea! I love how yours looks. I think I will try to make one with a large silver tray I have.

    Thanks!

  9. I love the colors in your guest room! The butler’s table is a super idea. I especially like the items you included for your guests’ comfort.

    1. Thanks Sallie-

      I prefer neutral backdrops and am truly working on a budget since my hubby is out of work. I mixed two paints I had in my basement to achieve most of what I painted in the room. I used leftover paint from my dining room and mixed it with white for the walls. I also mixed two half gallons of two different colors of white I had to create enough paint to paint the dresser, too. I am s-t-r-e-c-h-i-n-g my decorating dollars for sure.

    1. Hi Jen-
      Love the name of your blog, very cute, clever, and such a big part of our daily lives as moms :) When my hubs and I were first married we stayed at a friend of his home in Newport, RI. The room we stayed in was so comfy and catered to our every need. I was IMPRESSED! Since then I have tried to create a place for my guests that will be super comfy and as private as possible. What you can’t see in the room is a TV across from the bed, and Ipod dock, extra blankets and pillows in the closet, and a black out shade for the window.

  10. Your room is lovely! What creative, neat ways to make a tray-table. I even have some of things to get busy and make myself one. Have a great week.

  11. Great ways to use those and I love the silver tray one. I have a bamboo rattan butler’s tray and it is put away. May need to drag that baby back out.

    1. Hi Kim-

      That is one of the best things about the tray tables – they are so easy to store and when you need them easy to retrieve, too. Your home is so beautiful I am sure it will go perfectly in any of your rooms.

  12. Diane:

    I love this table! Makes you think differently about those types of thrift finds, for sure.

    The room looks so great.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Cori

    1. Hi Cori-

      Thanks. I try to look at everything I see with “new eyes” and get excited with the process of thinking out of the box. There are so many things that I would love to have, but can’t afford and being able to create something I love out of ordinary stuff and junk truly makes me smile.

  13. Love your butler’s tray ideas. No guest room should be complete without one. Can’t wait to look around for what I have that could be transformed. Thanks for the inspiration. ~CJ

  14. Gorgeous room and I’m loving those butler’s tray ideas. I’ve got and old luggage stand that I could do something like this with.

  15. Such a great idea! I love tray tables in bed for so many reasons. Such a clever way to tie in the silver tray.
    Love it and your beautiful room too!
    xx
    Alison

    1. Hi Stephanie-

      This is the time of year to find one as everyone is spring cleaning and getting rid of unwanted stuff. I hope you find one.

  16. i like this idea. i am using a wooden type tv table that i painted white as an end table by my sofa. i think my lamp will look very chic sitting on a silver tray. thanks for the inspiration. got to go find me a silver tray (i chalkboarded mine and gave them away). oh well…i stop by the thrift store 3-4 times a week!