Here's another way I use modern trays in my home: To organize my note pads, pens, tape dispenser, stapler and push pins. I keep all of these things out in my dining room and it's totally ok because they are neat and contained. An old blue mason jar holds my pens and scissors. A tiny vintage juice glass holds my push pins and I have the cheap plastic version of a lucite stapler and tape dispenser. Vintage staplers are hard core, have stood the test of time and throw out lots of style. I could easily go there too. Also paper, I love to scribble notes on paper, so having that readily available is important. Stacks of it. Come on people.
Using a small vintage plate in a retro pattern to hold my business cards makes them feel like they are just hanging out ready to be served up.
This arrangement actually changes all the time. But there it is, for now. I had two lamps on this piece of furniture, but we let our friends bring their dog over, who chased our cat and now there is one lamp. I will tell that story soon. It's a good one.