If it's framed, it's art. Sorting everyday office neccessities into a tidy tray elevates simple staples (pun intended) into a workspace vignette worthy of being oogled. Because, when the office looks this good, it's easy to feel motivated to work.

Here are three components for a great tray vignette:

  1. Tray: Acrylic, wood or stainless steel. With handles, or with feet. Whatever the style, start at the base and pick out a stellar tray.
  2. Color Scheme: Figure out what's going on the tray and coordinate a theme or color story. That doesn't mean going matchy-matchy (unless you want to!), but make sure everything looks like it fits together, like a painting.
  3. Standout Accessories: Whether it's a sentimental knick-knack or a unique pair of scissors (I've been recently eyeing these Japanese House Scissors), give the items on the tray a little whimsy. Or, makeover trusted tools with hemp-wrapped handles or a coat of metallic gold paint.

Each of the shots in the gallery above shows off a put-together desk tray where these ideas are put into action. Check out these drool-worthy vignettes before getting creative in your own home office.


  • No surprise that Chris Plantan, formerly Creative Director at Russel + Hazel, keeps beautiful office supplies at the ready. From a peek at her Minneapolis home on Design Sponge.
  • This acrylic tray is actually an inexpensive box picture frame, with patterned paper cut to fit, from Just a Girl.
  • A round wooden tray with enough space acts as an iPad docking station for chair*stalker's Michael Chua.
  • Toys can be office supplies too, as San Francisco design studio Pacific Helm shows us in their office tour.
  • The smallest desk tray, just big enough for a few personal trinkets, from the September 2013 issue of Lonny.


  • And the largest desk tray: A hulking silver footed platter to hold books and swatches for Caitlin & Caitlin Design Co.
  • Feeling golden? Monkey see, monkey do after seeing this office tray by Domicile Interior Design on Houzz.
  • Camille of Camille Styles stashes more than office supplies on her desktop tray, including a scented candle and a few blooms.
  • Glasses, a pen, and coordinated note pads are close by for quick notes in the office of The Everygirl's Danielle Moss.
  • A humble desk tray — placed literally on a pedestal — from the June 2013 issue of Lonny.


(Images: As linked above)