Not every decorative arrangement needs something underneath it, but tabletop arrangements can benefit from being grounded. On a large surface, using something under an arrangement can help ground and unify the grouping.
Using a tray is the most obvious way to ground an arrangement. You can never have enough trays. See the 10 trays you need to style every surface in your home. But, there are other ways to ground your decor.
10 More Ways to Ground a Decorative Grouping:
A mirror laying down can act like a tray. Use a mirror with a frame or a simple beveled edge. Remember the mirror will reflect everything you set on top of it, so make sure the underside of your objects are attractive. The reflective quality of the mirror can also double light, so candles on top of a mirror are especially pretty.
On a dining table, console table, or even a dresser, a table runner can be used under decorative items. A runner adds a layer of color and texture. I used a table runner under this simple holiday centerpiece to add another layer of texture and to give the arrangement more presence.
A short stack of books can help ground an arrangement. Books don’t have to be underneath all the items in the grouping, they will still create a connection with the surface. Smaller objects can be placed on top of the books for added height. Or, use books under a matching pair to vary the height, like I did here with these geese.
4. Wood Slab
A simple wood board or a tree ring is a slightly rustic and inexpensive way to ground an arrangement.
5. Cutting Board
There are so many pretty cutting boards these days. Use one on a bar, dining table, or kitchen counter. I used a cutting board to display my DIY plaster gourds. And, a fun striped one on our snack bar.
6. Picture Frame
Just like mirrors, you can lay a picture frame flat to act like a tray. Put pretty paper or fabric under the glass.
A large, Decorstive tile is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to ground a grouping. Try a marble or slate tile. Many tiles are now available in larger 12 x 24″ sizes.
Round-shaped or wood-tiled placemats can add texture and interest under decor. In my son’s room, I felt his silver lamp (bottom right corner) was lost sitting on top of the blue nightstand. I added an acacia wood tile placemat, which instantly added warmth and helped the silver lamp stand out.
For smaller arrangements a pretty charger works like a tray. In our guest room, I used a hammered silver charger to hold a water carafe and glasses.
10. Shallow basket
Flat, shallow baskets work too. Look for round or rectangular baskets with short sides, 4″ or less.