16 Creative Ways To Use Wooden Plates, Trays or Platters

6-Minute Read

Wood is the perfect material for things like plates, serving platters and trays because of wood's versatility, natural beauty and the visual interest it brings to any part of your home.

It can be easy to overlook your wooden plates' potential to be perfect for a variety of use cases other than a place to serve up some food.

14 Creative Ways to Use Wooden Plates, Trays or Platters

1. Serving Food

Ok, let's get the obvious one out of the way. Of course we cannot ignore the fact that wooden plates do make any kind of food look that much more delicious...

If you want to dish up snacks and appetisers to your guests or serve full-blown main courses to a restaurant full of high-end clients, wooden plates will make the meal that much more special. Using wooden plates at a dinner party or even just for a Sunday roast at home can make it feel like a memorable experience.

Pro tip - Pairing the type of wood with certain foods that look best when either contrasting the natural tones of wood or complimenting them, like a salad will make the most of wood!

Wooden Plates Hanging on a Wall

Image via wescover

2. Wall Art

Just like with decorative porcelain plates, their wooden cousins also make for ideal wall art, these round acacia wood plates with porcelain inlays pictured above were created by an artisan on Wescover.

You could very easily recreate this wall art at home (possibly on a slightly smaller scale than the 28 plates seen here) with some round acacia plates.

Pro tip - Think outside the box and get creative with what you want to put on to your wooden plates (maybe you just like the look of the wood with nothing else) - maybe you could put some nice round decorative coasters or even pressed flowers in the centre of your plates for the wall.

You can also use a mixture of different shaped and sized plates to create some visual interest and biophilia (love of nature in design) in your hallway or kitchen at home. 


Wood Plate Centrepieces

3. Table Centerpieces

Use wooden plates as the foundation or frame for table centerpieces. You can do a great deal with table centrepieces, there's even a whole guide we wrote specifically catering to how to scape your table and create centrepieces according to each season.  

Pro tip - Adding some other natural elements to your centrepiece (some greenery, dried flowers or even fruits) will enhance the natural beauty of the wood. You can also add ingredients used in the meals that you'll be serving to tie the whole thing together.

using wooden plates underneath house plants

4. Plant Trays/ Saucers

Having wooden plates for plant saucers or trays underneath your plant pots might not immediately come to mind when you first get your wood plates. But, this can really make a plant look 'complete' when there's a lovely wooden plate underneath, almost mimicking the forest or jungle floor where your plant likely would live in the wild.

Pro tip - Make sure that your plant pot or planter has some sort of protective pads between it and the plate (or simply add a small piece of cloth, paper or cardboard) to protect the wood from getting scratched from the bottom of the plant pot.

If you do happen get some scratches in your wood plates, or anything made of wood for that matter, we have a full comprehensive guide for how to remove just about any kind of scratch, scuff, stain or cracks from wood (coming soon) right here at Wondrwood!  

14  ideas for your wood plates - jewellery storage

5. Jewelry Storage

If you don't have a massive collection of jewellery to store (maybe you just like to remove your jewellery and watch at night time), a wooden plate makes a great storage tray for your beloved pieces, keeping them safe in one place. This storage method will definitely do them justice in making them pop against the vibrant colours and patterns of the wood.

Pro tip - Using a visually striking type of wood like black walnut or acacia will really help your jewellery to stand out against the striped colours and grain.  

6. Catch-All Trays for Keys, Coins, etc.

Similar to storing jewellery, try placing a wood plate or try by the doorway or entryway to serve as a catch-all tray for frequently used important items like keys, coins, fobs and wallets.

The wood will naturally catch your eye (now that's a catch-all) and help you to not forget anything important when in the inevitable rush out the door - it can't just be me somehow always rushing when leaving the house?

Pro tip - Doing this has genuinely helped me with getting into the habit of always putting my things down in one place so as not to be constantly looking for my wallet and keys when going out the door.   


14 Uses for Wooden Plates - Serving Desserts

7. Dessert Serving

Ok, we've had quite a few examples now without food, but we can't just gloss over how good desserts look when served up on wood. In the photo above, you can see how the stripes in the acacia look like layers of caramel and chocolate  underneath the pieces of cake... could you get any more appetising? 

Pro tip - For serving up more colourful desserts and sweet treats, a darker wood like black walnut will contrast the vibrancy of the desserts without taking away from the beauty of them. Whereas something like acacia wood (depending on the specific piece of wood used for the plate) may be too 'busy' visually with the stripes and colour differences to truly do the colourful dessert justice. At the end of the day though, this is all down to personal taste, so do whatever makes you happy!

Unique uses for wood plates - wooden soap dish

8. Soap Dish

If you want to create a spa-like feeling in your bathroom, a small wood dish or plate underneath some handmade soap is one of those details that will definitely stand out. Soap is something that gets regular use in a bathroom, so using a wooden soap dish is a nice way to connect with nature every time you wash your hands (other than the water of course). 

Pro tip - If it's going to be a bathroom that gets regular use everyday (and hopefully, so does the soap), aim to use a water-resistant wood like acacia to prevent the wood from turning black from water damage over time. Giving the dish a wipe once or twice a week will also help to reduce the chances of any water from soaking in too long. 

14 uses for wood plates - wood plates as photography props

9. Photography Props

Wooden plates make great props for food and product photography. We have a whole guide to styling your food, products and props in food and product photography that you can read after this, but here is one of the key takeaways: 

Pro tip - Pair your food or products with different shapes, sizes and colour tones of plates to best compliment the food or products you are showing off. Pay attention to the 'feeling' that certain shapes and sizes will give to your final photos: Rounder, smaller shapes will add a sense of lightness and charm, where larger, straight-edged shaped plates can bring a level of scale or precision to the products or food you're showcasing. 

DIY craft ideas for wooden plates, trays and platters


10. DIY Crafts

Oh, DIY crafting - where to begin..! There is practically an endless amount of things you can craft using items found at home, like this jar terrarium using Wondrwood jars, for example. 

Placing your finished project on top of a wood plate (or a slice of wood, as the photo above shows) will give it a sense of boundaries and help to make it look more intentionally placed, no matter where you decide to put it in your home.

Pro tip - Have fun and think outside the box, there are also 41 other great ideas we have for jar-crafts alone! Check that guide out here

Wooden outdoor dining plates - Square


11. Outdoor Dining

Wooden plates are perfect for outdoor dining and picnics because, where better a place to connect with nature than the great outdoors?

This doesn't have to mean trekking into the depth of the jungle to set up your brunch though, a simple patio or backyard spread like the one in the photo above sent to us by a long time customer of ours, Carol, is all you need to turn an backyard brunch into a rustic fine-dining experience! 

Pro tip - Try serving up on some wood plates next time you have a barbecue at home and see the reaction your friends and family have, they will no doubt have something to say about your presentation skills, and they will remember that barbecue for a long time.

Or, why not be inspired to eat one meal outdoors a week? You've never truly experienced your own garden, patio or balcony until you've dined alfresco! 

Ideas for your wooden plates - catchall organisation trays

12. Organizing Desk Supplies

Keeping your desk tidy can sometimes feel like an entire task in itself if you're knee-deep in an intense work or creative project. Having small items like stationary, your phone and knick-knacks like post-it notes around on your desk is unavoidable. So why not have somewhere to keep them organised? 

 Pro tip - Try to end each work or creative session by re-organising the small items on your desk that will otherwise become clutter and stop you from getting into the flow next time. This can also be a good ritual to help your brain to unwind and relax from the work-state.

Having a wooden catch-all tray or organiser can make this task of tidying up (and finding the items when you need them next) a whole lot quicker and easier.  

    A list of 14 unique ways to use wooden plates

    15. Candle Bases

    Wooden plates make excellent bases for candle arrangements, adding a layer of protection between the candles and your furniture in case any hot wax overflows.

    Pro tip - Always opt for candles that you know don't get too hot the bottom (some cheaper tea lights / nightlights can be bad culprits for this) and try not to leave them on any potentially flammable surface, like wood, if you're not in the room to keep an eye on them.

    14. Pet Feeding Plates

    For your pets, nothing is too good! Why not give them the dining experience they truly deserve, and elevate the appearance of what can otherwise be a bit of an eyesore - their food and water bowls. 

    Pro tip - Adding a wooden plate or tray underneath your furry friends' food and water bowls can make their placement again look more intentional and less of an obstruction or tripping hazard. It will also help to protect your hardwood floor, carpet or rug from any food or water spillages.  

    Using wooden plates for charger plates - unique ideas for your wooden trays

    15. Charger Plates

    Charger plates made of wood makes for a really nice way of elevating a dish in a simple way. This can also be a perfect option if you are worried about your wooden plates showing any signs of wear and tear from frequent use, as they will be protected from most foods and cutlery.

    Using wood for charger plates also works great if you feel that putting the food directly on a wooden plate would somewhat take away from the look of the food.

    A nice acacia wood charger plate surrounding a clean white or grey plate can look...  *chef's kiss*.


    Inspirational ideas for wood plates and trays

    16. Hospitality or Welcome Trays

    We've all been to (or at least seen) a welcome area of a hotel, restaurant, spa or AirBnb that has a hospitality tray containing small gifts or information like mints, cloths, brochures or other small offerings.

    This extra touch works to make your stay feel even more special, luxurious or memorable. It's these small attentions to detail that can take an experience from good, to a top-class or experience that stands out. 

    Why not use a nice wooden plate for your hospitality tray for your guests to see and touch, they will no doubt appreciate these finer details.

    Don't Forget This:

    By now you should have some ideas and hopefully your inspiration is flowing. There are of course so many more things you can do with wooden plates that we didn't cover here, maybe we'll do a follow up article on that.

    The main thing is to start experimenting, think of your wooden plates as not just plates, but the crafted pieces of nature that they are, and go from there. 


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