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7 Ways to Turn a Simple Tray into Home Decor

If you want to simplify your home, the name of the game is multi-functional items. Take for example, a simple white tray. Sure, it’s great for serving dinner. Here are seven clever ways to use that one tray throughout your home.

If I am going to bring something into my home, I want to make sure it’s going to be useful. Ideally, I want it to be multi-purpose. For example, when I purchased a new serving platter, I found 7 different ways to use it for home decor.

Here are the 7 Ideas I had:

  1. Create a Cake Stand
  2. DIY Lunch With Friends
  3. A Tray for Breakfast on the Patio
  4. Countertop Storage
  5. A Simple Substitute for a Bar Cart
  6. Nightstand Tray
  7. Bathroom Tray

I like to keep life simple, and that goes for my home as well. I don’t like a lot of clutter. I don’t like a lot of stuff. Unless it’s really useful!

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7 Ways to Turn a Simple Tray into Home Decor

I had no real excuse to be strolling through the aisles at Home Goods on the day in question. Well, except that I *heart* Home Goods (never met a home decorator who didn’t feel that way!)

Usually, the beach is my happy place, but sometimes it’s Home Goods. What can I say? (Oh, yes, I do still like Target, too, just not as much as HG since I am no longer hauling little people on my outings.)

Sometimes I go wander the aisles just to see if there is something that needs to come live with me.

Sometimes I buy things, and sometimes I walk out empty-handed.

It almost doesn’t matter, because I see different things at every visit.

Sooner or later, the things I need will find their way into my shopping cart and home.

This particular platter needed to come home with me that day. It wasn’t hard to justify the purchase since I found it on the clearance aisle for a whopping eight bucks. (Did I mention how much I love Home Goods?!) Plus, I was just charmed by its astonishing good looks.

It’s shiny and white. It’s also nice and heavy and solid. I’ve had it for a while now, and I’ve used it a lot. Mostly for serving food, a job at which it excels – after all, it is a serving platter.

A few days ago, I had the idea that it would be a fun experiment to create different ways to use this platter, other than the obvious roast beef-and-potatoes-for-dinner use. (I’m lying – I’ve never made roast beef in my life. Work with me here.)

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris

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Home Decor Idea #1: Create a Cake Stand

My first idea was to turn it into a cake stand.

I don’t have a cake stand because they take up a lot of storage room.

Also, I am not a big fan of cake.

One thing I do have is a white bowl, which I flipped upside down, and then set the platter on top. Voila! I have a cake stand, should I ever have the urge to bake a cake!

It looked kind of like this:

yellow cake with pink roses on cake stand made from platter and inverted bowl

Another fun idea, maybe for a bridal shower or another special event, would be to rest the platter on upside-down champagne or wine glasses. Depending on the height of the glasses, this could really add some dimension to a tablescape!

Home Decor Idea #2: DIY Lunch With Friends

Admittedly, this one isn’t all that different from serving dinner, but I did set up a make-your-own-sandwich display for a casual lunch with friends the other day. One really great bonus? I only had one serving plate to wash after the meal was over!

Home Decor Idea #3: A Tray for Breakfast on the Patio

Now that big, bad winter is over and we are back to our usual perfect weather here in Southern California, we have returned to our custom of eating almost every meal sitting on the back patio.

This past Sunday, I whipped up a sweet little breakfast of coffee and chocolate chip muffins. Setting it up like this just made it feel more “special” somehow!

Home Decor Idea #4: Countertop Storage

Truth be told, this is how I’ve been “storing” this platter since I bought it.

Rather than finding room in a drawer somewhere, I actually store my cooking oils and salt and pepper on it.

I keep it right by the stove so it’s handy, and the platter prevents any drips on the countertop.

When I need it for serving, it just takes a few seconds to move the bottles and give it a quick wipe before loading it up with food.

Home Decor Idea #5: A Simple Substitute for a Bar Cart

Do you have a bar cart? No, I don’t either. My daughter has one, and it’s always set up perfectly.

I like the idea of a bar cart, I just don’t have anywhere to put one.

My house was built in the early ’80s, so one thing I do have is a wet bar built into the wall of my dining room. It’s a tiny little space with a mini-sink on one side and just a bit of counter space.

It’s just the right size for me to create my own version of a “bar cart” with a few bottles and drink tools on my platter.

Home Decor Idea #6: Nightstand Tray

My nightstand is small, and I tend to try to fit a lot of things on it – flowers, reading glasses, a couple of books (I’m usually reading one fiction and one non-fiction at the same time), essential oils, and the water glass I can’t get through the night without.

You can imagine it’s not uncommon for me to knock stuff off.

I try to make sure the water glass is in a safe zone, but everything else takes a tumble here and there.

Platter to the rescue! The lip is just big enough to hold everything close and end the middle-of-the-night-groping-around-on-the-floor-for-my-glasses experience, something I’ve found myself doing all too often lately.

This idea really made me happy – I may keep the platter in use as a nightstand tray for a while!

Home Decor Idea #7: Bathroom Tray

With the platter already upstairs, I thought I should find one more way to put it to use. I pulled together this little vignette of bathroom supplies, and once again, the platter just pulled it all together!

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Final Thoughts on 7 Clever Ways to Use a Serving Tray for Home Decor

In summary, sometimes a serving platter is not just a serving platter.

I’m sure with not much more effort, I could expand this list in so many different ways.

Hopefully, I’ve sparked your imagination so that you will look at some basic household items of your own, and see endless ways to repurpose them!

Please let me know your ideas in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

seven ways to use a serving platter

12 thoughts on “7 Ways to Turn a Simple Tray into Home Decor”

  1. That platter is so stinkin’ cute. Your ideas for all of it’s uses are spot on, but I really like how it sort of became the model in all of these scenes. It’s like it took a tour around your house. 😁

    1. That description made me smile! Platter model! I was putting fall decor out yesterday, and realized that I needed at least two more of those platters – or something similar – for my new vignettes! Thanks for reading!

  2. This is brilliant! I had no idea there were so many ways you could use a platter! I love the kitchen countertop one! I hate having our cooking oils and whatnot all over the place. Thanks!

  3. I love all these ideas – and Home Goods, of course! I have a round white tray that I use in some of these scenarios but now you’ve given me new ideas. Looks like I need to go to Home Goods to find the perfect square tray that needs to come home with me.

    1. Yes, somehow the fact that it is square makes it work so many different places! I was putting a little fall decor out yesterday, and the platter once again got put into new rotation! I couldn’t decide where I liked it best! Thank you for reading!

  4. What good ideas! I must admit that tray looked good in every way. I love home goods too, and wish I could have more money to go there and shop. So many good things, never enough space or money ha! But this is a great find for a good price.

    1. Thanks, Andrea! I actually was in the store again yesterday, but it was one of my “look-but-don’t-purchase” days. Lots of great garden stuff, so it was tempting!

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