Privilege Blog

Small Interior Tweaks For Fun (Prettiness, Interest) Without A Lot Of Fuss

As I sort out larger furnishing choices, i.e. fabrics for my guest room and master bedroom, I’m amusing myself with small tweaks.

Anyone remember these doves? They’re now living a well-lit life on our Pottery Barn Extra-Wide Valencia dresser. And yeah, it’s dusty. I’m way better at beauty than I am at daily cleaning. Those of you who will tell me cleaning is beauty, I hear you, I understand conceptually, and I cannot feel that way to save my life.

The doves tolerate disorder.


In any case, having read Emily Henderson’s book Styled, I now realize that I want just a little more framing, a little more intention, in my house decor. And I’ve been possessed with the idea of a tray for those birds. Something to mark their place, something to add a layer between pink gold Murano glass and a 10-year old espresso veneer.

In situ.


I’ve got an old, worn silverplate tray. It belonged to my mother. But look, it’s too hard, too shiny, and brings too much metal to a bedroom already graced with two gilt wrought iron benches. Not to mention the gilt wrought iron tassels on said benches.


So I keep looking. I thought about color, but I’d prefer that the doves, and, oh yes, the magenta sari silk I’m planning to use for pillows on the benches, corner armchair, and bed be the only vivid accents. So if metal’s out, and bright color banned, I think we’re left with something pale. Wood maybe, or, even better, decoupage.

What I’ve Considered And Mostly Ruled Out

(By the way, DENY is an interesting company, based on artist designs, sold at Target.)

But I’m Still Thinking About

And I’m Coveting

There are, of course, premium art trays in this world. Consider Fornasetti. Whilst I like their tamer stuff,

others might prefer the more Dali-esque.

Fornasetti IIExcept they are really expensive.

And our American correlate, John Derian? Also expensive, although perhaps a little less so for us than Fornasetti? An essay on Central Park?


Or a tempest! Good colors, not perhaps the right feng shui imagery for one’s bedroom.

17T-Tempete_49fcd1ff-1590-4ece-a7e6-5fd301748db5_largeMaybe six pelargorium (sic) to keep the doves company in their pinkness. All, decoupage of art reproductions under glass.


And I covet their color palette trays maybe most of all. All, reproductions of antique and vintage art in decoupage under glass.

Derian’s products are sold at Neiman Marcus in limited numbers, also in bits and pieces at J. Crew, and therefore may be available to see at those local stores. For those of us who don’t live in Manhattan.

Feel free, as always to chime in. If you’ve explored the idea of objects on dressers, or layers of light and texture as part of your interiors, I would particularly love to hear.



Links may generate commissions.

67 Responses

  1. The trays are all beautiful. My immediate thought is to go with one of the Kelly Wearstler trays. It would pick up the gold in the doves and would provide a visual connection in with the gilt benches.

  2. It seems I am here all the time :-)
    The doves are so beautiful as they are.
    Although ,there are some very nice trays!

  3. I have made my own trays using picture frames and adding artwork, pressed flowers, wrapping paper, letters, postcards, tile, mirrors… sky’s the limit.

  4. I also like to use different textures in a room. So you’ve got a lot of wood and metal… I bet a home consignment store or thrift store would have some interesting trays at very reasonable prices. And then you have a piece with a story… J.

  5. The doves are beautiful. Very. My thought is why make them compete with any of these trays, lovely as they are. But I see the point in wanting them to stand out a little against the wood. Maybe a white unpatterned tray. Bone would be nice.

  6. Hi Lisa – an FYI to your readers, I think you can buy John Derian products online at Sue Fisher King (a shop in San Francisco).

    P.S. I love the round Pier 1 tray!

  7. I always love wood or rattan, but would also vote for the pelargorium. I purchased some small ceramic sushi plates at Cost Plus that I use for watches/jewelry. Not sure about the feng shui, but they assure me they know what they’re doing. ;-)

  8. My philosophy is that you can never have too many trays or mirrors. There is always a use for them in decor. I vote for the Kelly Wearstler trays.

    1. @Jane, The Wearstler trays are definitely the glam option. It would take me towards the Hollywood Regency style of the benches and the crystal ball lamps, and away from the 2016 boho Moroccan on the hardwood floors.

  9. May I suggest the Ben’s Garden version of a tray? It’s a local(to me)business and they can craft a version of the trays any way your little heart, privileged or not, desires.

    The maritime map of the local harbor graces the spouse’s Hunt Country Furniture Shaker dresser and a hydrangea mine.

    Speaking of things Shakeresque, the Shaker Workshop oval boxes and trays keep to the vernacular.

    1. @nyreader, Just browsed Ben’s Garden. Nice you have matching/not-matching trays. I like the one of the bird’s nest, good colors for my rug, and kind of nice to have birds in a nest.

  10. I’m thinking that the area doesn’t need another hard surface. What about a small natural colored linen table runner, or even a place mat? If you do want a tray, I’ve found some “Derian like” trays and plates, but melamine, at Etsy — check The Mad Platters (or maybe it’s TheMadPlatters).

    1. @Rebecca, Mad Platters! Ha! Cute name:). I’ve got lots of fabric texture on the bed, linen duvet cover, velvet headboard, and the armchair has white linen draped on it, so while I agree with you, out of context, in context, I think it’s best kept smooth.

    2. @Rebecca, Thank you Rebecca for the referral to TheMadPlatters, I love John Derian and Fornasetti but not their prices. Will be ordering some plates soon!

  11. This was a timely post for me. I need a small tray in my kitchen. So far, I’ve only peeked at Amazon. Nothing I liked there. Between your post and the comments I am getting more ideas. Thanks all!

    Really like your doves.

  12. I’m fond of the Kelly Wearstler tray on the left, and the beautiful pink flowers under glass. Those would be lovely with your doves!

    1. Those are my preferences as well! I’ve never heard of Kelly Wearstler before but his (her?) trays are beautiful!!!!!

      Lisa, if you are open to other ideas, how about Etsy or local estate sales? I’ve never gone to one but it seems like they can have really neat things! If you have the time and inclination, that is :)

  13. I love the doves. Instead of a tray to compete with them, you might just want to elevate one or both. I have purchased acrylic boxes at the container store.( meant to display hockey pucks or sports memorabilia). I place them under a bowl or a vase to give a little lift and interest.

  14. I’m with StellaA above, and making your own tray from a picture frame:

    How about a dull gold crackle-effect half-rounded square or rectangular frame, with crumpled-then-smoothed gold tissue paper placed under the glass? (Plus the low sides of the frame won’t obscure those lovely birds, as a regular tray might.) Of course, it would have to be the “right” gold …

  15. As a former interior designer, I agree with Mary’s suggestion to elevate one or both of the doves. You could try, for instance, one on a box (or a small stack of books) and one on the surface of the dresser.

    Also, you want to create some balance,in this case, asymmetric balance. If you only want the jewelry chest and your dove vignette to occupy your dresser, then you need to move the jewelry chest to the left.

    Play around with it until you get it right.

    1. @Diane, At the moment, the left side of the dresser, when not gussied up for a photography, is occupied by the contents of my husband’s pockets;). Maybe he needs a tray too? Books would work for my doves, I think.

  16. It seems to me that anything you could place the doves on would compete with them. As is, the dresser finish harmonizes with the blend of red/mauve and gold. Murano can so quickly look fussy. I can understand the logic behind lace doilies (shudder) but the most I’d do is stick felt to the underside for protection.

  17. I love them on the silver tray – nice reflection and doesn’t compete with the doves, it seems to me that it frames them, while also disappearing. But also agree with Susan B. that they don’t really need anything and go well with just the dresser.

  18. I guess I’m the odd woman out but I like the silver tray. I like the way it reflects the image of the doves. I like the contrasting textures of wood, metal and glass. It doesn’t compete with the doves as a design element. I like that it was your mother’s and that you don’t have to purchase something else if you use it.

  19. I would perch those beautiful birds on a stack of old books.

    Worn leather books. Or books without covers bound in beautiful shades of linen.

  20. My first thought was go to a thrift store and see they have. If you don’t find anthing, I like the bird tray best.

  21. I like Victoire’s idea, but if that’s not doable, the Wearstler on left looks best to me. The least detracting, and the glass brings a smooth but not metal element to the room. But, decoupage is really not that hard to do yourself!

  22. I like the birds directly on the dresser. They look pretty on the silver tray, but I am inclined to think it is too hard and shiny. Wood or decoupage sound nice. I’m sure the perfect thing will find its way to you. I too have been finding that I want a little more intention in my house décor, perhaps in my life overall.

    But aside from that, your second paragraph…. this speaks directly to my heart.

  23. Lovely dovies! Very pretty. I tend towards wood, myself, but whatever you choose will be lovely I’m sure.

    I also do a lot of my furniture/ accessory shopping at charity stores, junk stores, some of the lower end antique stores as I love a bargain and love the quality and craft of many of the old things.

    In terms of dressing table decorating, I just got a big ornate white and floral pitcher and wash bowl from the Victorian period which fills up all (possibly too much) of the space on the small chest of drawers in the spare room. It’s of no practical use, but I love its femininity and frivolity.

    As a bonus, I got it for about a third of the price similar ones are selling for online!

    1. @Eleanorjane, I love pitchers! And I wish I loved a bargain, but I tend to love the thing itself and the price doesn’t add or subtract much from how I feel about it.

  24. I like vintage silver and would probably opt for a larger rectangular footed tray one that had room for a candle as when lit would really pick up the glow of those fabulous doves.

  25. Lisa, I do love trays! Choose one with the colors and style that appeal to you the most! Some are truly works of art!

    Featuring Artist Scott McBee

  26. I see someone has made a similar comment but my first thought was a book or books as a pedestal. Perhaps the simplest of trays and a simple (but different) box with just one bird on it. Varying the height will help to frame it with intention without adding too many other distracting visuals.
    On another note, I am coveting about 90% of your tray selections.

  27. oh goodness. if you’ve never heard of kelly wearstler (cf. your 12:45 comment), you NEED to have a look at what she wore to judge Top Design. the woman is a force.

  28. Somehow they gave me the association cloud (well obviously) and leather right away, something soft to put them on. And putting them near plants. The research for “leather cloud” then led to, especially to her softly moulded planter trays from the exhibition “this little bird saved me”.

    May not be that helpful, but does perhaps provide some inspiration. She seems to work a lot with glass and light.

  29. That “pelargorium” (ha!) tray is so lovely and so far out of my price range….but I can pin it ;-)

  30. Another idea (perhaps inspired by Easter): two small baskets (or nests, if you will) – one for the doves and one for your husband’s pocket contents.

    The doves go into their basket at night.

    In the morning, you place them about the house, perching them in amusing places, according to your whim.

  31. I think the BIRDS need to be ELEVATED…….as in FLIGHT!
    Go to CHINA TOWN and find some black lacquered stands…….I think they would GO perfectly with your LOOK!Or even JAPAN TOWN…………

  32. I’m a latecomer to this entry so I hope my comment reaches you. This past week, the Container Store had a sale on well-made lacquered trays in solid colors. While I love the items you picked out, patterns might compete with and distract from the doves’ design. Pure shiny white might not be an exciting purchase but might really highlight their loveliness and reflect light.

    They also have some delicate rattan trays that would provide a textural contrast while picking up the gold tones in the birds.

    I don’t work for CS but love their products. Good luck!

Comments are closed.