Lately, I have seen a lot of Pinterest pins and blog articles on bar carts. These girls find a space in their home for a wheeled cart, pour cheap liquor into Pier One decanters, add a few cocktail napkins, and act like it is a revelation in home decor. Booze that looks pretty! And can easily be accessed!
A classic bar cart – image via Pinterest
Okay, I love a good bar cart – a stylish cart stocked with high quality liquor in crystal decanters. However, I don’t entertain enough guests in the evening to warrant a bar cart. I have an adorable Eiffel Tower shaped wine rack that does the trick. Instead, I have a tea tray.
Tea is making a fierce comeback. Blame it on the influx of Anglophilia, or a turn towards the health conscious, but tea time is the coolest thing since the bar cart. Suddenly, vintage teacups and delicate pots are taking the place of martini shakers and bottle stoppers.
Back to my tea tray. I visit it at least once a day, borrowing the teapot and one cup to get me through the day, then washing and returning them to the highly-decorated piece. There are essential components to the tea tray, ensuring that if Her Majesty The Queen or your next door neighbor pops over for a bit, you can pick up the tray and serve tea like the princess you are.
Well…except, if you were a princess, you’d have a footman to do that. Anyways…
Choose something large and sturdy. Ceramic or even melamine will keep the decor bright, while wood will add a timeless detail. Glass or silver would be beautiful, but only appropriate for special occasions.
Only china cups will do! Pick a china pattern that suits you and will serve you for years to come. Or, you can start collecting different patterns to mix-and-match, which is very shabby chic. Either way, they should be good quality porcelain and have a paired saucer. Have at least four, with no more than eight on display, available at all times.
You can select the design and shape of your pot to reflect your personality. You might choose a classic white ceramic, a floral painted porcelain, a glass heat-resistant piece or even a fun shaped kettle. Whichever you choose, it should hold at least four cups of brewed tea and be ready to serve at a moments notice!
I could write a whole article on tea (in fact, I just might!) but for this, you really need pretty tea. That is, you need pretty containers. This is an opportunity to buy teabags in decorative cannisters. You might end up always brewing PG Tips, but at least you’ll have these to show off. Try to keep at least three – a classic black, an herbal, and something fun – to suit any taste.
A sugar bowl filled with sugar, a milk pot ready to be filled, and a few tea spoons are obvious choices to add to your tea tray – but what else could give it character? Consider a lace doily for design, a bowl of candied almonds or M&M’s to snack on, or even a bud vase with fresh cuttings will add character to your tea tray.
The Queen might not come by unexpectedly, but if anyone else does, I have a lovely tea tray to present to them. And even if no one does come, I have a lovely decorative piece that shows off my adorable tea cups and my favorite teas that I enjoy every single day!