Get the Most Use from Serving Trays

Janette Heitz
Written by Janette Heitz
Updated June 3, 2016
white serving tray with beverages
Change the colored paper at the bottom of a white serving tray to use it for different holidays throughout the year. (Photo courtesy of Janette Heitz/The 2 Seasons)

Serving trays don't receive the respect they deserve.

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They’re among the hardest working items in our homes, but we seldom think about them. They serve so many purposes above and beyond their basic chores of serving food and beverages and transporting empty plates and serving dishes back to the kitchen. Learn the different ways you can put a serving tray to work in your home.

Serving tray uses

Use a tray to contain items on top of your coffee table. To create an attractive vignette, add a small stack of books, a bouquet of flowers, a candle and an interesting artifact to a tray.

A tray kept at the beverage bar is always ready to deliver drinks to family and guests.

Use a tray to keep items organized on a dressing table or on a makeup vanity.

Place a tray in the drawer of a bedside table where you might be keeping some books, hand lotion, reading glasses, etc. It will keep those items in one place so you can find what you’re looking for easily in the dark.

Decorating a serving tray

Butler’s trays are the most common and most useful type of serving tray. Look for them in big box stores, at flea markets, in consignment shops or in thrift stores. Don’t despair if you find a tray that doesn’t quite match your decor. Spend a little time and creativity changing it up to fit your style and taste.

Spray paint helps your tray match a color scheme. Next, add some personal touches.

If you’re a traveler and don’t know what to do with your old passports, cut out the colorful pages and decoupage them to a tray using several coats of decoupage sealer. If you don’t want to tear up your passport, then make color copies of the pages you like.

white tray with passport page design
Have a piece of glass cut to place over your decorations to protect them. (Photo courtesy of Janette Heitz/The 2 Seasons)

If you have an art print you like, but just don’t have the wall space for it, cut it the size you need and place it in the bottom of a tray. Again, be sure to place a piece of glass on top of it for protection. If you don’t want to damage the art, then make a color copy of it to use.

Look for a plain white tray. It provides a blank slate, and you can change the tray’s complete look by using different fabric, wrapping paper, wallpaper or scrapbook paper in the bottom. 

How do you use serving trays around the house? Tell us in the comments section below. 

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