Wearing vintage clothing and accessories is one of the most accessible and affordable (not to mention creative) ways to reduce the environmental impact of your wardrobe and home goods. So every week, I comb Etsy and eBay and find beautiful vintage pieces around a particular theme. (Check out last week's entry, Sparkly Accessories from the Past.)

 

Vintage trays are one of my favorite decor items, especially for the kitchen, where I have mine displayed side-by-side on the backboard of my counter. They are handy, brighten a still-sadly 1970s kitchen, and aren't too precious to be added to or replaced when need be. My trays are all about color and pattern, but other tray themes could group collections by era ('40s, '70s), by decorative element (fish, transit, stripes) or color (all red, or all yellow). 

 

Trays can be used for serving food and drinks, of course, but they are also good catchalls for keys and wallet, for jewelry, and to organize magazines, books or colored pencils and paper or other creative tools. Trays can be purely decorative, but their functionality is what makes them more than just pretty. 

 

This beautiful bright blue tray with gold embossing from Team Ruster on Etsy is perfect for serving cocktails — or a grilled cheese sandwich. 
 
Just because it's vintage doesn't mean it has to be fussy. This handsome teak Midcentury modern tray from VintageMementos on Etsy could hold magazines, hot beverages, or keys and mail by the front door. 
 
This vintage 1950s French tray from Ebay seller brickstreetcottage is made from paper mache, so might not be good for beverages, but would be ideal for serving cookies, crackers, or fruit in bowls. 
 
A set of sweet trays can organize and unify a collection (or start one off); these handpainted bird motif trays come as a set of 4 (two of each style) from BlankStairVintage on Etsy.
 
If flowers and birds aren't your thing, there is a whole subset of vintage trays that feature trains, cars and ships. This Queen Elizabeth II Cunard ship tray from Ebay seller jonathan1583 would look great on its own or next to a set of 'transit trays.'

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