Bring Out Your Silver

Wall Silver

Wow, I’ve been writing my blog for four months now and haven’t delved into the topic of silver – real silver anyway – yet! So here goes….

When I married, silver was not exactly high on the list of things I needed or even wanted. All of that sort of thing seemed unnecessary and even frivolous to me –  flowerchild of the 70s that I was. How things change over the years, don’t they?

It was much later that I grew to appreciate the classic beauty of silver or silver-plated objects not just to haul out over the holidays but to actually use every day in a variety of ways. Silver trays are especially adaptable to practical and useful purpose in every room of the house. I have them throughout The Barn corraling things from bathroom hand towels to books and magazines.

My friend, Diane, who loves old silver and strolling antiques malls even more than I do (which is saying something) showed up at Christmas-time bearing gifts:


Why do these trays look lavender? They are not.

She knew I planned to complete a collection of silver trays for a wall display and, voila, here was a major leap forward on that project!

Diane has a beautiful collection of hotel silver trays. She has arranged them on a kitchen wall. Two things here: old silver looks great in any room and in any style of house, no matter the age. And you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg. Yes, real hotel silver is a bit pricey but vintage silver-plated trays are almost cheap (some under $20) in many of Richmond’s antiques malls.  And probably in your town too. Her arrangement is balanced and symmetrical but it doesn’t have to be.

photo 1

And D. breaks up all that silver with two porcelain plates. I like it.

Pinterest is full of great photos of things to do with silver trays. The various shapes and sizes of trays in these arrangements is what makes them interesting. In this example, a narrow wall is used to show off a really lovely assortment:


An elegant display – also with balance and symmetry.


Here silver trays are added to a country vignette which work, doesn’t it?


And here the front door is bedecked with a silver tray:


Love this idea for a Christmas front door.

My silver tray collection is going on the only kitchen wall which isn’t broken up by cabinetry, windows, or doors. Old houses, don’t you know. A few years ago, I had painted and framed in an area on that wall to hold artwork I brought back from a trip. That idea falls into the giant category of “Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.” And most decidedly it was not. 


Goodbye frame and goodbye paint:


This particular tray is a favorite. It’s quite large and is missing the ivory insert in the curved handles which would make it much easier to hold. I bought it to hang but instead have found that it works much better in my kitchen to hold mail, keys, phones, whatever.


This tray is almost too pretty to hang. Almost.


I’m using this one on a skirted table in the dining room. For now.


One of the tricks in doing a wall arrangement is to lay it all out on the floor first and tweak it accordingly. Once you get the trays the way you want them, prepare for one of two nosy Westies to plop right down and put it all in proper perspective!


And finally up on the newly painted wall:


Beloved Husband hung these perfectly – anything that looks askew is because the picture can’t be taken head-on easily.

I think William Morris had exactly the right idea:

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. And the odd thought or two.
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34 Responses to Bring Out Your Silver

  1. Mary Ellen Yost says:

    Loved it. I have some silver things that were handed down and now I will thinking deeper about them.



  2. Betsy says:

    Looks beautiful!! Love your ideas of repurposing in a new and fun way!!!


  3. Jeanne T says:

    This is beautiful, Barb! I love the way the silver adds an elegant coziness to any room. You and Di make a great decorating team!


  4. Caroline says:

    Love the idea of hanging them on the wall! I use them under plants and in the bathroom. So pretty and so functional. And I love old silver of any type – even when it’s tarnished!



  5. La Contessa says:

    I adore silver too!Even my cat eats out of a silver bowl and the dogs a silver fork when visiting at the table!I am collecting candle sticks…………….at the moment hope I don’t catch the house on fire!!
    I love your TITLE SILVER IN THE BARN……..I must go back and see do you live in a barn?


    • Hello, La Contessa. I am finding that one of my favorite things about writing this blog is meeting new and wonderful people from all over. I’ve just left your marvelous site where the image of you in a fur coat in your rose garden with pampered corgi is just sublime! I am going to enjoy looking through your blog, I’m sure. Thanks for popping over to mine. Barbara


  6. Thanks for sharing these creative ways of displaying silver. So many people keep their pieces hidden in drawers and cabinets it’s nice to see these on display


  7. Diane Ahlberg says:

    Your wall is beautiful! And we get to look at silver every day! I find they act like mirrors and expand the space- enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine and yes I continue to look for more pieces to expand the wall arrangement or move into bedrooms and bathrooms. Lovely Barb ( and Roger)


    • Next up we’ll talk about all the other uses for silver throughout the house. You were totally the inspiration for undoing the unfortunate purple wall and creating the wall silver. Such good taste!


      • Diane Ahlberg says:

        We do! I have the inherited silver tea service etc that sits in dining room but this is so much more fun! And it is the thrill of the hunt
        You and I do play off each other”s strengths !


  8. Dianna says:

    So beautiful! I love your display – and the “narrow wall” one that you shared from Pinterest. I received a couple of silver trays as wedding gifts back when I was first married (in the 70’s); I’ll have to drag those out and find something to do with them!


  9. Never thought of hanging silver trays before, but it makes so much sense. Thanks for the inspiration.


  10. Jane says:

    This silver display looks lovely. I especially enjoy the noisy Westie in the mix!


  11. dorannrule says:

    Now I am sorry I gave away most of my silver serving pieces. I love your wall arrangements and especially the door plate! What wonderful ideas and how clever you are.


    • Thank you so much! And I’m sorry I didn’t know you when you were giving away all that silver. Maybe you still have a tray or two you can hang. They look really good mixed with porcelain or pottery too!


  12. What an elegant display! I like having silver out in a room because of how it reflects the light, and brightens everything up so nicely. That is a very practical way to enjoy those beautiful pieces which otherwise might be stored in a cabinet or drawer. Your husband did a beautiful job with it. May all be well with you, WG


    • Thank you, WG. I will be showing more ways to use your silver throughout the house in future posts but it sounds as if you already do so. Good for you!


      • I grew up enjoying it, and just always have. I’m looking forward to your posts 😉 We found some plate Revere bowls at the Re-Store, of all places. After shining them up they look like new (on the outside) and so I have them on the mantel full of blown glass balls at the moment. We really enjoy them. Best wishes, WG


      • WG, silver bowls filled with blown glass balls is just the sort of thing I love. I have a rusty bird bath filled with blown glass balls and I love it. Such fun to repurpose stuff in the house. And I bet you are enjoying your garden on this beautiful day!


      • I am indeed… except I cracked my head this AM on a low hanging pipe coming up out of the basement. I didn’t remove my hat, so misjudged the space and didn’t duck enough. Sitting with ice on it at the moment, but high hopes to get back out into the garden soon!
        We found gorgeous glass balls in December- hand blown in Portugal, at our new Homegoods store. They are nearly identical to the ones I’ve been ordering from Glass Eye in WA, but a quarter of the price. I am looking forward to finding more of them when the Christmas decorations come out next fall. We gave quite a few, and also purchased some for ourselves, which we are thoroughly enjoying! Best wishes, WG


      • Ouch! Hope you’re okay! Why am I the only human being alive who cannot find anything at Homegoods? Everybody else does. I need to give it another try!!


  13. I looks great! I love that you have them displayed.


  14. Christi says:

    What did you use to hang the trays. I tried attaching paper clips to the back, but they keep falling down!! Thanks.


    • Just regular old plate hangers, Christi. Nothing special. You can usually find them at any antiques mall or home decor place. They’re sized for plates but work just as well on these trays. I bought the spring-loaded kind.


  15. Mohd Shakir says:

    I m mohd Shakir from moradabad.
    Manufacturers of trays, basket,box and many more indian art ware items.


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