The Complete Guide to Choosing the Right Serving Tray

When you enter a home for the first time, your eyes are automatically drawn to the unique and personal touches in every room. You spot the carefully displayed charcuterie tray in the kitchen and elegant trays holding perfumes and lotions in the bathroom. Decorating a home is all in the details—and serving trays are one of the most versatile ways to elevate your décor. 

If you've never owned a serving tray, you're missing out. With endless uses and options, decorative trays are the perfect way to upgrade your interior design. Whether you're looking for the perfect wood gift for a loved one or want to find meaningful home décor, use our helpful guide for choosing the best tray for you. 

What is a Serving Tray?

Cape Cod Wood Map Serving Tray

Serving trays are a versatile home décor item that can hold, transport, or present a wide array of objects. Food serving trays, decorative trays, and other types have one thing in common—they elevate whatever they display. Small and large serving trays are useful in everyday life, from holding drinks at a party to propping up a laptop when working at home. Whether you know it or not, decorative trays work in every room of the house. 

The History of Serving Trays

Serving trays have been around for hundreds of years. Royal servants used to check meals for poison, and once they were deemed fit for consumption, they would serve the dishes on a food serving tray. Once used by royalty, decorative trays still carry an elegance that can't be beaten. Wood serving trays can make you feel fit to be a king with one simple addition to your table! 

Why Choose a Wood Chart Wood Serving Tray?

Block Island Serving Tray

Although platters can be made of many materials, the wood serving tray is one of the most durable and beautiful. At Wood Chart, we specialize in designing functional and stunning works of wood art. Skip the large serving trays you see in the store and choose one of our timeless wood serving trays you'll cherish for years.

Each wood serving tray is a perfect blend of functional and art, featuring a different 3D map of beloved locations around the globe. Using laser technology and topographic science, different layers are carved into high-quality birch to accurately depict your favorite maps. In addition, every tray is topped with acrylic glass to protect the surface from stains and damage. 

While you could always find a blank decorative tray, owning one that holds special meaning and symbolizes cherished memories of a location is more personal. No matter which room you use it in, you'll relive your favorite stories repeatedly as you look at the map. Commemorate your favorite vacation destination, where your parents met, your hometown, and more with thoughtful, expertly carved maps on a wood serving tray. 

Why Everyone Needs a Serving Tray

Great Lakes Serving Tray

No matter who you are or your style, everyone needs a serving tray in their lives. Small and large serving trays are often overlooked when decorating, but with endless uses and beautiful designs, they should be a staple in homes all around the globe. Serving trays are convenient, versatile, and stunning works of art.

If you are passionate about entertaining friends and family or hosting cribbage games, a food serving tray is an easy way to elevate your gatherings. If you and your family spend too much time searching for missing keys, a decorative tray is the best way to keep everything organized. Soon you’ll see that every room in the house can do with a serving tray.

3 Ways to Use Wood Serving Trays

Serving trays have a multitude of uses, most of which can be found in these three categories:

  1. Entertaining
  2. Organization 
  3. Home décor

Entertain with Food Serving Trays

Nantucket Serving Tray

Throughout the day and year, there are countless opportunities to use a food serving tray. From surprising Mom with breakfast in bed on Mother's Day to preparing movie night snacks, almost every meal and special occasion can be upgraded using large serving trays. Serve drinks to guests as they come over or set the food serving tray as the centerpiece for your next dinner party—the options are endless.

Beautiful wood serving trays are the perfect conversation starter during parties and get-togethers. As your guests enjoy delicious snacks and drinks, a wood map is revealed underneath! Soon, they'll ask you, "Why the Nantucket Serving Tray map?" Then, you'll get to explain your love for that destination and swap travel stories over your food serving tray. 

Keep Organized with Wood Serving Trays

Serving trays are an artistic and brilliant way to keep your home feeling organized. From acting as a catch-all tray in your foyer for keys, wallets, and other crucial miscellaneous items to corralling remotes on a coffee table, wood serving trays can make your home feel put-together and mess-free.

Part of the wood serving tray fun comes from the handy-dandy handles. When your house feels especially cluttered, you can pick up items around your home and carry them to their correct spot using large serving trays.

Elevate Your Home with Decorative Trays


Decorative Tray with Spa Products for Guests
Bring your personality and history into your home décor with decorative trays. The map tells the story of who you are and sets your interior design apart. Where other serving trays are only brought out when needed, our decorative trays are versatile and can double as décor in any room. Leave out your gorgeously crafted wood serving tray for timeless and touching décor. 


5 Popular Wood Serving Trays:

  1. Cape Cod Serving Tray
  2. Block Island Serving Tray
  3. Great Lakes Serving Tray
  4. Hawaiian Islands Serving Tray
  5. New Orleans Serving Tray

7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Serving Tray

After deciding to invest in a serving tray, it's important to find a high-quality piece your family can enjoy for generations to come. Consider these points as you find the right wood serving tray for you: 

  1. Material
  2. Size
  3. Handles
  4. Shape
  5. Price
  6. Durability
  7. Design

1. What is the Best Material for Serving Trays?

Hawaiian Islands Serving Tray

Serving trays can be made with a wide variety of materials, from plastic to porcelain. Choosing one for your home can depend on your aesthetic or home décor, but we've found the most dependable are wood serving trays. From aesthetics to practicality, wood is known for being the best serving tray material.

Unlike other materials, wood serving trays are designed to last. Any popular and strong wood, such as maple, walnut, or birch, is a high-quality material choice for serving trays. If you want to use your new favorite home décor item for years to come, it's important to consider what it's made of.  

2. How to Choose Between Small, Medium, and Large Serving Trays

Consider the different sizes as you decide on your perfect wood serving tray. Think about the spaces in your home that need decorating and the tray’s potential uses. A large serving tray can hold almost anything, but a small decorative tray can be a unique, tiny detail in your décor. Every size serving tray has its perks, so think hard to find the perfect one for your home.

It's a good idea to always have a solid, large serving tray so you can have one on hand as occasions come up. Have to entertain a few loved ones? Your large serving tray can carry drinks to your guests at your next soiree. Need something to keep papers organized in your office? A large serving tray can corral all your important topics. Collect a variety of decorative tray sizes so you'll be ready for anything. 

3. Should a Serving Tray Have Handles?

Man Carrying a Picnic on a Serving Tray with Handles

Handles can be an important factor in choosing the right serving tray, and while they don't necessarily need handles, they're certainly useful. Some platters are designed with huge, over-the-top handles for design purposes, whereas others feature a more sleek, classic silhouette. Depending on what you need, a serving tray handle (or lack thereof) can be the deciding factor.

If you mainly use your serving tray to carry heavier things, go with one with strong handles. If you don't plan on moving it often and want a wood serving tray as elegant décor, the handles may not be as important. Our large serving trays have a thick rim and sturdy yet understated handles to be versatile for all your needs.

4. Does Serving Tray Shape Matter?

The shape of your serving tray is an important décor choice. More often than not, a wood serving tray will come in a classic rectangular shape, but you could always go with a more round, organic shape if that fits your aesthetic. As you choose a decorative tray, look at your style and determine the best shape.

5. What's a Good Price for a Quality Serving Tray?

The price of your decorative trays is up to you, but if you want a piece that could become a treasured family heirloom, you should be prepared for a mid-level cost. While the market has a sliding scale for serving tray prices, the cheaper quality and designs will not be able to last you through years of memory-making and decorating. But that's not to say you should break the bank for a food serving tray! As long as you research the quality of materials, read glowing reviews, and find a style you love, spend what you feel comfortable with.

6. How to Tell if a Serving Tray is Built to Last

New Orleans Serving Tray

The best kinds of wood serving trays are designed to be durable, so you can enjoy them for years to come. Unfortunately, many mass-produced serving trays are not made with longevity in mind, so you'll have to make another purchase in the future. If you find a well-built and protected serving tray, you can safely use it for all your entertaining and decorating needs.

To avoid that problem, do a little digging into the manufacturing process and notice if they add any protective measures to the serving tray. For instance, we add a layer of acrylic glass to the surface so the intricately etched design and hand-washed stain never chip or fade.  

7. How To Choose a Serving Tray Design

Your tray represents you and your style, so choose a design you love. Whether you select a small, decorative tray or large serving tray, it should match your home décor and hold special meaning. Why would you go with the same flimsy plastic tray every house has when you could find one with a design commemorating an important part of your life?

Wood maps of beloved destinations are an easy way to bring personality to your wood serving tray. Not only will you enjoy the versatile uses of your decorative tray, but it will also double as a sentimental prized possession commemorating your travels. Whether you dream of crossing off a far-off destination from your bucket list or feel homesick, a timeless wood map design is perfect for you.  

How to Gift Wood Serving Trays

Man Gifting Woman a Wood Serving Tray

Look to wood serving trays for an impactful and memorable gift for your friends and family. Shopping for yourself may seem easy, but when it comes to finding a present for someone else, suddenly all your ideas fly out the window! Luckily, as we've covered, everyone can find a use for a small or large serving tray. 

Wood serving trays make a meaningful gift for just about anyone in your life! Before their next birthday or holiday, spend time listening to their stories of dream vacations and life-changing family trips to get an idea of a location near and dear to their hearts. Find a wood map of the destination on one of our serving trays and surprise them so they can reminisce their beloved memories around the clock.

Whether you love the art of entertaining or need a way to organize your clutter, serving trays are essential for everyone. You can show off your personality, style, and favorite destinations with the right decorative tray. Consider our seven tips for finding a high-quality, sentimental wood serving tray the next time you go shopping and choose the right tray for you.  

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