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Antique Trays

As a decorative addition to a living room or a practical serving solution for parties, antique trays have a wide range of uses. Traditionally a butler’s best friend and constant companion, these functional furnishings gradually evolved into ornamental items in their own right. From ornate antique silver trays to gorgeous hardwood tray tables, Vinterior offers a curated selection of characterful pieces.

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  • What are antique trays?


    The oldest tray ever found allegedly dates back to around 600-700 BC, making it an incredible two-and-a-half millennia old. Throughout their long history, trays have been the prerogative of the rich and powerful, used to serve food and drinks to wealthy homeowners and guests. The 17th century saw the rise of the ‘salver’, a flat and heavy tray traditionally made of silver. As time went on, these salvers became increasingly ornate with engraved designs, moulded edges and decorative handles. More practical rectangular trays with lips to prevent spillages did not become popular until the 19th century. Antique trays are generally over a century old and come in a range of designs, depending on the period they date from.

  • Antique brass trays and antique silver trays


    Brass and silver were commonly used as tray materials between the 17th and 19th centuries. In line with the trends of the times, Victorian trays were incredibly intricate, often made of solid silver with filigree detailing on the sides and complex floral designs on the base. These trays work beautifully when combined with vintage tea sets. Brass trays were more common to Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, often boasting wonderfully ornate patterns and carved wood bases. Both silver and brass tarnish so antique trays do require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best.

    Incorporating antique trays into your home


    Antique trays can have a wide range of decorative and practical uses. An Art Deco-style tray would make a great addition to a vintage bar cart while a high-shine silver model would be perfect for displaying a collection of china. Paired with a wooden or metal stand, antique trays can also be used as side tables or as stands for ornaments and potted plants. You could also consider mounting a single or a selection of antique trays to create an interesting feature wall or to decorate a chimney breast. Pair this with our collection of antique wall art for a truly spectacular display wall.