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

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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?


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.


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.


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.


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


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


chocolate in the way of Kisses.


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.


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


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.


Tres Chic!


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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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!


    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.

  4. 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