The holidays are the perfect chance to show off special serveware and update your kitchen with a cool new platter or tray.
Lorna Aragon, home editor at Martha Stewart Living, has some suggestions:
“To serve dips in a stylish and secure way, use removable self-adhesive Velcro dots to attach a bowl to the middle of a platter; then surround it with chips or crudites,” she says. “It won’t slip when you’re passing it around, and it’s a great way to use your favorite pieces together.”
Aragon also suggests using pretty trays to organize your bar: “On top of a side table or buffet, put your liquor bottles on one and glasses on another. This creates visual interest and also makes cleaning easy.”
Lorna’s go-to trays are the lacquer ones from West Elm. (www.westelm.com )
“They make them in different colors every year, they come in different shapes, and they’re a great basic,” she says.
For artistic types, head to the Museum of Modern Art’s online shop, where there’s a collection of trays printed with motifs from the archives of American designer Alexander Girard. Paola Navone’s Fish & Fish dish is inspired by green, Depression-era glass. And traditional oriental lacquerware gets a contemporary update with fresh, minimalist hues and a mix of glossy and matte finishes. The bowls could hold snack crackers or utensils. (https://store.moma.org )
At Aerin, an Art Deco-inspired, curvy, polished, brass bowl sits on pert little feet. The luxury brand also has an elegant, oval, shagreen cocktail tray in chocolate or cream, trimmed with brass. (www.aerin.com )
From Waterworks, the Canyon Drive collection of black walnut and ebonized oak pedestals are trimmed with a sleek sliver of brass. Charcoal-hued resin is hand-poured to craft the Marlowe tray; a swath of gold around the rim makes it a dashing bar accessory. (www.waterworks.com )
Homegoods’ sophisticated, white, porcelain tray with an off-center group of gold trees would be an elegant spot for cookies or appetizers. Another sleek white coffee service set has a gold marbled design. (www.homegoods.com )
Give serveware a different purpose, and you’ve got a real conversation piece. Kate Spade New York’s acacia-wood cutting boards with a trim of blue or green, for example, could display colorful fruits. Or put a group of candles or a tangle of fairy lights on a round serving tray with a bold graphic ampersand for a contemporary centerpiece. An oblong platter with a winsome village scene sketched on it could be the art piece anchor of a mantel display. (www.katespade.com ; www.macys.com )
Magnolia Market’s nearly 4-foot-long paddle-shaped bread board could hold charcuterie, desserts or shot glasses. (https://shop.magnoliamarket.com )
Finally, for crafty entertainers, consider this idea from the folks at Martha Stewart: Get an off-cut or have a lumberyard saw a slab for you, sand it smooth, and treat it with a food-safe protector like coconut oil, beeswax or mineral oil. Add votive candles, fresh herbs and your favorite foods. (www.marthastewart.com )