5 Vintage Vanity Mirror Tray Uses | i should be mopping the floor

5 Vintage Vanity Mirror Tray Uses

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When I received my mother's vanity tray after her passing, I knew I wanted to use it for something other than its intended use. That idea gave way to many more and now I have several of these trays around our house, mostly used for organizational purposes. See below my five unique uses for a vintage vanity mirror tray. 

Vintage Vanity Mirror Tray Uses
Not only am I sharing these fun uses for vanity trays, it's also Thrifty Style Team day. I've teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers to bring you all kinds of thrifty ideas to use in your own home or workplace. Check out all of the fun below.


Thrifty Fall Projects
Above is a sampling of the Thrifty Style Team goodness. I've linked everyone's projects towards the end of this post. 

Vintage Vanity Mirror Tray Collection

Vintage Vanity Mirror Tray Uses

Above is my growing collection of vanity trays. While not all are technically mirrored, they're definitely all vintage. The tray that started it all, my mother's tray, is the rectangular one, pictured on the bottom right. I remember it sitting on her dresser for as far back as my mind can go. I also remember when my dad gave it to her for Christmas one year, in the early eighties. She kept all of her perfumes neatly displayed on the tray. The one that stands out in my mind the most was the classic Oscar from Oscar de la Renta. She actually didn't wear a lot of perfume, but when she did, that was the one she loved most. To this day, when I smell it, I think of her. 

I already had a newer vanity tray of my own, so I decided I wanted to find another use for my mom's. And that led to a collection of vanity trays over the years after I realized how versatile they are to use. I actually find these at estate sales all the time. It's almost rare to not find them there. They are so budget-friendly, and honestly, not exactly a hot commodity, so the pickin's are always good. Below are my five uses for a vintage vanity mirror tray (or non-mirrored!).

1. Office Organization

Cut Zinnias in Blue and White Vase
Above, my mother's tray sits on the corner of my desk in my office. It's a great way to help me keep things neat and tidy, rather than have lots of things strewn about. 

You're catching me at a fabulous floral time, too, y'all. Those zinnias are straight out of my cutting garden, which is really putting on a great show for the end of the season.  

Easy Desk Organization
In the little blue and white box (which was from a thrift store a few years ago), I keep all of my push pins for my cork boards. My kids use these on their bulletin boards in their rooms, too, so they're easy to access.

Monogrammed Stationery
And the vintage brass letter holder (again, thrifted eons ago), holds my stationery supplies and envelopes at the ready. 

The above pictured monogrammed stationery designs are free printables here on the blog. I have all of the letters of the alphabet ready to be downloaded. 

2. Powder Room Essentials

L'Occitance Hand Soap
I was giddy when I found the above "mini" vintage vanity mirror tray at an estate sale. I mean, isn't it just the cutest thing, y'all? Before I even purchased it, I pictured it here in my powder room.

Since there is such a limited amount of space in this little half bath, having all of the essentials corralled neatly together by the sink keeps things tidy. I like to provide guests with a nice hand soap, lotion, and then I have an unscented candle going, as well. I like keeping the candle on in here when we have company since this room has no windows or natural light. It gives folks a chance to find the light switch before closing the door behind them. Since it's such a small room, I opt for an unscented tea light, so it's not overwhelming.

L'Occitane Hand Cream
Also, have you tried this lotion? It's kind of everything. This is not a sponsored post, either, I just love this stuff...really anything from L'Occitane. I've been a believer in their products for several years now. This, Lavande (or, lavender lotion), is just dreamy. I pair it with their lavender hand soap in here to have the scents coordinate.

3. Coffee Table Corralling 

Brass Hollywood Regency Tray
One of my favorite trays is pictured above. I got it at an estate sale for ten bucks (and have since seen it on eBay for $80!). It's a brass faux bamboo Hollywood Regency tray. This is the larger version of this tray, but I've seen one about half the size. I have also seen a round version, as well. But, this one keeps the goodies on our coffee table in order. It is super versatile, and even though I've seen it listed at estate sales and online as a vanity tray, I've also seen it listed as a kitchen accessory, as well.

Coffee Table Tray
It's the perfect piece for this space. I like to keep fresh flowers, my sweet fishnet-patterned dog given to me by a good friend, and my matchbook collection on the table. The tray kind of unifies everything. Those are boxes of puzzles you see stacked up under the table, by the way. 


Matchbook Collection
Does anyone else collect matchbooks? They're a rare breed these days, but I inherited a bunch from my parents and love having them on display (my mom always displayed hers in a fish bowl). That Crystal Baking Company matchbook holds a special place in my heart. That was my family's favorite restaurant down in San Antonio when I was growing up. It was such a special place and we went there quite a bit with my aunt. It's no longer there, but gosh, the memories of it are so special to me. 

Living Room Tray

4. Candle Holder

Brass Candle Holder
This one is kind of sheer luck, but this particular vanity tray (one of the non-traditional sort) fits a three-wick Bath and Body Works candle perfectly. It's almost like it was designed for it. 

Gingham Candle
I love that it also protects the surface from the heat of the candle. I had never seen a vanity tray like this, but it's specifically for jewelry. When I purchased it at an estate sale, it had earrings in the outer brass work, dangling beautifully.

Vintage Jewelry Holder
The inside of it, pictured above, contains a fabric pad, to hold things like beads and pearls, to protect them from getting nicked or beaten up against metal. It's a pretty clever jewelry holder, but I really love it for my candles.

5. Coffee Service

Coffee Service Tray
One other use for a vintage vanity mirror tray is coffee or tea service. These are perfect for your sideboard, or even guest room, where a cuppa might be appreciated. 

Wedgwood Sugar Bowl
Incidentally, my sunflowers stood up after I took this photo (of course). They were a bit too freshly cut from the yard here. But, I love adding just a small vase of something living to a tray like this...to give it some life and color. 

Salt and Pepper Display
When not in use for coffee or tea service, I keep the salt and pepper shakers from the adjacent dining table on display on this particular tray. It's a tidy spot for them to be housed. Again, this tray was another estate sale find (I'm telling you, these trays are at every estate sale...you won't be able to not spot them now!).


Thrifty Style Team
Don't forget, it's another installment of everyone's favorite day: the Thrifty Style Team series. Below, all of my friends have shared so many lovely (and definitely thrifty) projects for you. Tell them I sent ya!


Pretty Desk Organization
What would you do with a vintage vanity mirror tray?


Home Decor Ideas and Printables



23 comments:

  1. I love this post! I have never looked for vanity trays before, but I will keep my eye out now! Yours are beautiful and I love how you have used them.

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    1. Thank you so much for that, Colleen. I really appreciate it. Have a great weekend. xoxo

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  2. I really love your posts Kristi! This one is beautiful and fun! Your blog is the one I visit consistently. Your writing and posts just speak to me :) Happy Friday!

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    1. Aww, Dawn, you're always so kind and your comments put a big smile on my face. I appreciate you so much, friend. Amazing how the internet brings folks together...but I love it! Have a wonderful weekend. xoxo

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  3. What wonderful ideas! Thank you for sharing and inspiring! I still have mine that I had as a teenager. I am going to get it out and start enjoying it again! Thank you Kristi!

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    1. Donna! So wonderful to see your name pop in...what a lovely surprise! Thank you so much for your kind words. I love that you're going to pull it out and use it again. That's awesome. My teenage one was acrylic, so it got a bit scratched over time. Nothing beats these vintage versions, huh? Hope you're all doing well. Take care, friend! xoxo

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  4. I love vanity trays, my mom had one too! You shared some fabulous ideas for using them around the home!

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    1. Thank you so much, Cindy! I think all those 80s moms were onto something, huh? Have a great weekend!

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  5. What a post!! Thank you so much. I, too, will be on the look for vanity trays of all sizes and shapes from now on. I truly enjoyed seeing how to incorporate them into every room. BTW, I love the vivid blue couches, the Staffordshire dogs, and the blue and white pottery! You're my kind of decorator.

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    1. Awww, thank you so much, Ginger! That is so kind of you. And yes, I love some good blue and white and the "staffies" are my heart. Be sure to look for #staffparty over on IG...they have the best Staffordshire dog ideas over there under that hashtag. So fun! Have a wonderful weekend. xoxo

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  6. I love all these ideas for using vanity trays! I have some vintage vanity trays from my grandma so I'm going to try a few of these ideas with them!

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    1. Thank you so much, Michelle! It's so fun using things from family! xoxo

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  7. This was a fun post! I have one vintage vanity tray, similar to your style, and it's, well... on my dresser! Great ideas to collect some more and use them in other ways. By the way I love the way you painted your sideboard :)

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    1. Thank you so much! They're so inexpensive and fun to collect. xoxo

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  8. I love this post, Kristi! My mom, all of my aunts, and both grandmothers had vanity trays just like your mom's on their dressers when I was a young. My aunt even gave me one when I turned 16 that I still have in its original box because I never used it. (Why? I don't know...I have a problem with saving nice stuff instead of using it.) It was so much fun to see how you use your vintage trays all over your home. Now I'm going to have to crawl back in my attic to try to find the tote that has my brand new 1985 tray.

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    1. I'm the same way, Paula. I have so many nice things tucked away in their original boxes because heaven forbid I USE them!

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    2. Thank you, friends. I was the same way until my mother passed away. I went through so many things that she never used...she was saving them until a special occasion, which, I guess never came. Since then, I've tried to incorporate more "special" things into every day life. But, I totally feel you...I still have those same thoughts! xoxo

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  9. Oh my goodness! I remember vanity trays from when I was little. My mom had one and so did my grandma. Your post brought back some wonderful memories and I love how you are displaying yours.

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    1. Thank you so much, Mary Beth! I really appreciate that. Yes, my mom's is definitely my fave. xoxo

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  10. Hi Kristi! I have a question about the room decor in these pics...is this your home? I would love to see more...it's so colorful, I LOVE IT!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Mary. Yes, this is my home. I post a lot more about it over on my Instagram account, but from time to time I share it here, too. You can find me on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/ishouldbemoppingthefloor/

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  11. Kristi, those trays are gorgeous! I don't have any...what is up with that, lol. I always love visiting your home...I could look all day. Your use of color is stunning!

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    1. Thank you, my friend! I sooooo wish I could have you over in person. Wouldn't that be the best? You're so sweet and your comments are always so appreciated. Thank you for organizing this wonderful group. xoxo

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