Serving trays are undoubtedly one of the most used items in the home. While we tend not to give them much thought, they often become the default surface for so many activities that go beyond its original intended purpose of carrying drinks or food items.

For those who understand that the serving tray is indeed a staple piece of equipment in your home, whether it’s as a multifunctional surface in your living-dining room space, or a traditional platform for serving refreshments, we’ve outlined below how you can choose the perfect serving tray.

Serving Tray Uses

Firstly, it’s good to keep in mind exactly what you use your serving trays for before you go about deciding which one suits your home best. Below are just a few common ways many families choose to use theirs, with a few quirky ideas thrown in for those who are looking for some inspiration.

  • A substitute for a coffee table when paired with a complimentary stool.
  • A surface for holding books, stationery and keepsakes.
  • An ornamental space where you can elegantly display a vase and flowers when the tray is not in use.
  • An additional platform for placing drinks and food items when your dining table becomes full. (Again, pair this with a great stool and you can achieve some interesting aesthetic effects).
  • A temporary place to keep your daily items such as reading glasses, notes, jewellery, mobile phone, hand sanitizer or lotion and purse. This can easily be brought to your room at the end of the day. 
  • A swanky minibar where you can position cocktails and champagne for diner guests.

Evaluate Your Potential Serving Tray

Before purchasing a serving tray, keep in mind what you want to use it for while you weigh up the strengths and weaknesses of different products. Below are some of the most important factors you should consider. 


If you’re not planning on putting very much on your trays and merely need it to carry a few drinks from the kitchen to the dining room, you obviously won’t need a very large surface area. However, be mindful that you may need to utilise your tray for various other tasks at some point in the future.

It’s good to get a medium-sized tray at the very least that can offer some versatility of use. Opting for a large tray can also be useful if you know you’ll be relying on it to keep several different items on during your average day. 

You can even purchase an extra large serving tray if you know that it won’t actually be transported around much and will function mostly as an appealing surface to put on a table or stool. However, remember that larger trays can sometimes be difficult to carry when you overload them with too many things. 

Shape and Style

The style of the serving tray you choose will ultimately come down to your personal preference, but be careful you don’t buy one for its appearance alone (unless you simply want to display its beauty in some corner of your house with other decorative items). We recommend choosing a tray that is solid and easy to manoeuvre and comes with a slight lip that will stop items from rolling or falling off the edge.

Of course, many serving trays break these general rules and still manage to be practical, but just be mindful that when you have a pile of books or hot dinner dishes stacked up on your tray, you’ll want something solid and reliable in your hands.


Serving trays are made from a variety of materials such as metal and plastic. However, we find that wooden trays are by far the most popular material choice offering both functionality and style in equal measure. Although some people enjoy the novelty and elegance of more round and curvy serving trays, a classic rectangular tray is usually the best choice if you want it to look good in various different settings. 

Plastic is a popular choice for more budget-conscious buyers, but if you're considering this material, be mindful that flat objects can easily slip off a smooth plastic surface. There are some non-slip varieties you can choose from, or alternatively you can buy a surface mat to lay over the top. Other materials such as wood will naturally offer a certain amount of resistance against slippages.

If you’re interested in finding the perfect serving tray for your home, take a look at our collection online at Footstools & More. We also have a wide selection of different stools you can pair with your serving tray of choice for an elegant finish.