The essential interior styling accessory you probably have hiding in your kitchen cabinets

We guarantee your coffee table would benefit from at least one of these

yellow and pink ceramic trinket dishes with office supplies
(Image credit: Katie Leamon)

We like to think we have a pretty good eye for design and know what we're doing when it comes to styling our homes. But, occasionally, it can just feel like something's missing. 

Enter: the tiny tray.

blue and pink oliver bonas trinket trays

(Image credit: Oliver Bonas)

We've all seen those ceramic trinket dishes out and about. They're often inexpensive and at a glance don't look incredibly useful, but they're brilliant living room ideas.

Interior stylist Laurie Davidson has explained why pinch pots and small dishes are so useful on shoots - and why you need to start your collection right away or have a rummage in the kitchen cabinets. 'I've got lots of different designs, from glossy to matte, smooth to rustic,' she says. 

'They're my secret weapon for displaying smaller elements on shoots, whether it's olives or pink salt in a kitchen set-up, paperclips on a desk, or matches by a candle on a shelf or mantle,' Laurie adds. She also highlights that they help in making a good blend of heights and shapes on shoots, and that they photograph beautifully in detail shots.

colorful ceramic tray and pots on a desk

(Image credit: Katie Leamon)

Real Homes deputy styling editor Amelia Smith is also big fan of a tiny tray. 'When shooting a kitchen island, a cluster of three small bowls filled with berries or crisps is a great way to break up the large expanse of space on the worktop,' she says. 

'Or if you want to create height and show off the exterior, you can pile them up, position them on a shelf and they instantly become a design feature.'

Depending on their size, they're handy catchalls for keys, loose change and other items that end up lost down the side of the couch. Their cute aesthetics and functionality give these décor pieces top marks.

B&M ceramic dish on a side table with table lamp and accessories

(Image credit: B&M)

If you're wary of clutter, these trays are technically organization ideas, providing homes for bits and bobs, so they're allowed. Plus, they will work anywhere - on your coffee table, windowsill, kitchen worktop, dressing table and so on. They're an easy way to update your bedside table, which are prime locations for clutter as the places we put stuff when we're half asleep.

If your nightstand holds a chaotic array of earplugs, pillow spray, tangled headphones and hair grips, a ceramic trinket dish will make the whole situation much more aesthetic. For more bedroom ideas for cultivating a calming sleep space, take a look at our guide.

We'll be keeping an eye out for these trays this weekend...

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.