From plain to fancy
Serving trays can be a useful item for any home or office. There are several kinds available for both personal and entertaining purposes. Serving trays are made of many different materials and come in varying styles and colors to fit any family’s needs and price range. In order to determine which type of serving tray will meet your specific needs, there are some things to consider first. Here are some of the available types of serving trays:
- Plastic serving trays. These are available in many styles. Lap trays with fold-out legs are ideal for kids’ activities or meals. They come in an array of colors and wash up easily. Plastic trays also come in shapes and designs perfect for holidays and parties, such as Christmas trays, sports-themed trays and even bunny-shaped trays with Easter egg compartments built right in. For casual parties and sporting events, choose a version that is designed to hold chips or vegetables with an integrated dip bowl.
- Wood serving trays. The lap tray versions of these are sturdy and ideal for that romantic breakfast in bed. For entertaining purposes, you can find beautifully finished trays. Whether painted, carved, with or without handles, in mahogany, teak or redwood, there are trays to match your dining room table or your end tables and more.
- Silver serving trays. Surprise your guests by serving appetizers on lovely silver or antique trays! Sterling silver makes a classy and traditional statement when entertaining for a formal occasion. Engraved, these make an extravagant gift for a wedding or anniversary. You will pay more for this kind of tray, but they last forever and can become treasured family heirlooms.
- Cold and heated serving trays. This type of tray is perfect for keeping foods at just the right temperature. A thermosensitive oil which is built into the tray is either heated or cooled depending on the food, and retains its insulating properties for hours. This makes it ideal for items such as deviled eggs or appetizers containing cheese. Make sure your party foods stay as delicious as they were when you prepared them.
The prices of serving trays vary a great deal. You can pick up decorative plastic or melamine holiday trays at your local dollar store, and discount chains carry lap trays (sometimes in sets) for a very affordable price. Antique trays can often be found at flea markets and online auctions. Collect several and display them on your china cabinet or baker’s rack, don't hide them in the kitchen cabinets. A tarnished sterling silver tray can easily be cleaned up with a little silver polishing cream or liquid to shine like new!