Before we get into the specifics of ottoman trays let me first get this off my chest. What the hell is an ottoman tray anyway? Seriously. What is it? It’s a freaking serving tray that you place on an ottoman. So why do they call it an ottoman tray then? If you put an ottoman tray on a car, is it then called a car tray? Or an automobile tray? Or a classic muscle car tray? Or a look at me I have a small penis so I drive a fast shiny sports car tray? I mean come on. Look at these things. They are trays, end of story. Just because you place it on an ottoman doesn’t mean it’s only use is on an ottoman. I would understand the name if it was like custom built to the shape of your unique ottoman and had magnets on it or something and when you placed it upon your ottoman the perfect sizing and magnets would make it snap in place. Then I could see it being justifiably coined an ottoman tray. But come on people this is ridiculous. This reminds me of the people who took a beach chair and called it an ab lounger. Just because you are doing crunches in a beach chair doesn’t mean you can change it’s name to an ab lounger. It’s still a beach chair.
Here are some photos of what I’m talking about. Notice how they all look so neat and tidy when they are placed on top of an ottoman. OOO! So special. I bet they would look ugly on a table or a bed. We should only use them on ottomans.
Here is the exception to the rule of ottoman trays. Whenever you go searching for an ottoman tray online or in a store you always see these types of trays labeled ottoman trays. I think it’s stupid. There is however, another type of ottoman tray that also gets grouped in with these stand alone trays. They are actually ottomans that have a removable top that can be flipped around upside down to reveal, yes you guessed it, a tray. Now this is in my humble opinion a TRUE ottoman tray. It’s a fully functional ottoman, and a fully functional serving tray, all wrapped into one. That is pretty freaking cool. It’s just sad that whenever people are browsing for “ottoman trays”, that the two different types get lumped together. You have no business being in our ottoman tray section you stand alone serving trays! You’re just jealous! You aren’t cool enough, or rich enough to have an ottoman attached to your body. Yet you’re so jealous, you bribed all the store owners into calling you something you’re not! You’ll never really be a true ottoman tray. You’re imitation nothingness.
I’m not saying that you have no purpose at all, stand alone trays. In fact, in some instances you have advantages that a true ottoman tray does not. You can be easily transported to other areas of they house. You are easily movable to any flat surface at all whereas an ottoman tray will only fit on it’s ottoman. So for that we thank you. You also have far more design options than true ottoman trays. That’s probably because you really are just a tray and not a multifunctional piece of furniture like a true ottoman tray. Trays have for more uses and therefore far more design options. Lets look at some interesting antique and decorative serving trays that could be placed on an ottoman. Pretty eh?
Okay now that we have established what is a real ottoman tray and what isn’t, let’s talk about some of the numerous options available.
Let’s begin with the true ottoman trays because in reality, there aren’t many options. You’ll find different styles of ottomans like you will see on our leather chairs and ottomans page. But that’s where it stops. The choices of these types of ottomans are in the ottoman itself. The tray component of these models are all very similar. They have a raised border to prevent spilling. Some are taller than others. And some have handles and some don’t. The other mentionable option to consider is the size of the ottoman tray. Some of the larger ottomans will have 4 sections that all can be flipped to reveal a tray, and a storage area beneath. This way you can still sit on the ottoman and utilize the tray simultaneously. Lets check out some of these styles:
Ottoman trays may in fact be a great replacement for your coffee table. Think about it. Can a traditional coffee table do what an ottoman tray can do?
Does your coffee table serve as a foot rest?
Well for most people it does but try resting your feet on a glass or wood coffee table for more than 10 mins and then come talk to me. It sucks. An ottoman tray has cushy leather or microfiber for optimal comfort.
Does your coffee table offer the same storage space as an ottoman tray?
Well some coffee tables have that underneath shelf that can rest your magazines and what not. Some even have drawers but for the most part, an ottoman tray will have superior storage simply because of it’s shear size. It’s a big box and offers much more cubic volume to the bloke putting stuff in it.
Does your coffee table function as a comfortable seat?
Don’t lie to me, you know it doesn’t. Coffee tables suck. They are a thing of the past. Get a true ottoman tray.
Impostor Ottoman Trays
Now lets talk about those stand alone serving trays that try to be as cool as ottoman trays but really aren’t. Well I take that back. They are cool, just in a different way. They’re like Britney Spears, trying to look sexy all the time but in reality have no talent. True ottoman trays are like Elton John, not sexy at all but talented as hell. These stand alone trays are glamorous as hell so let’s look at these pieces of eye candy and maybe you’ll find which style you like best and then you can go shopping for one.
Let’s break them down into categories for organizational purposes.
- acrylic or plastic
There are so many unique serving trays in the world that to show ALL the really cool ones would take 1000′s of pages and 10′s of thousands of images. I suggest going to garage sales that old people are having. You’ll usually fine some really cool old antique gems. Or you could check out Antiques Road Show or something when it hits your city and maybe someone will brin in a cool one that they want appraised. There are so many cool possibilities.
Just think what the serving trays were like in say 17th or 18th century France. I bet they were all made of super ornate silver carvings with detailed etchings and buttresses and gargoyles all over them. I’d love to look those up. I will actually do that and post it on the blog here when I find some.
Wood serving trays all seem to be so boring. Wow a slab of wood. How creative. It looks like a cutting board with handles. Unless your whole house looks like a Tiki Torch village, (if it does I feel sorry for you), then wood ottoman trays are rather dull. Why eat vanilla ice cream when you can have an 8 story banana sundae?
Metal serving trays are really where the artistry comes into play. Just like I mentioned about old school France. Metal allows it self to be crafted into luxury items with detailed engraving systems and drawings. I’m sure the Chinese make really fancy ones. I’ll look up some Asian ottoman trays here soon and post it to the blog.
Acrylic and plastic fall into that boring functional category. Wow they are dishwasher safe and unbreakable, unlike glass ottoman trays. So what. They are cheap and boring. A tv tray used as an ottoman tray is as exciting as watching paint dry while listening to Conway Twitty.
Glass ottoman trays would look good on a glass coffee table. But then if you put it on a coffee table it becomes a coffee table tray instead of an ottoman tray right? he he. Glass is cool. I’ve yet to see a really ornate stained glass ottoman tray. Someone should make a cool stained glass tray that resembles something Michelangelo or Leonardo did and then attach some silver metal handles with gargoyles on them. That would be rad.
If you’re out in a museum and you find a really cool artistic ottoman tray, take a picture of it and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll post it here. Cheers.
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