How to Set a Table

Setting a table might seem a task at hand, but with proper help, you can master the art easily. Here’s a quick refresher of the basic rules of how to set a table, which will help you create the perfect dinner setting, be it for a formal occassion or for just a casual gathering.

First, make an estimation of how many guests will attend the dinner. Decide where each guest should sit at the dinner table.

If you are using a tablecloth, make sure to arrange the middle crease such that it runs in a straight line from the head of the table, through the center to the foot. For seated dinners, the tablecloth should ideally hang down about a foot and a half from the table; for buffet setup, it should hang down to floor level. Please remember, all flatware should be evenly spaced, with about half an inch space between each other.

Here’s a list of the proper place setting of tableware and cutlery while setting a table:

Top Row From Right to Left
1. Liqueur glass
2. Wine Glass
3. Water Glass
4. Coffee cup (to be placed at top right of dinner plate)
5. Bread plate with butter knife on it (to be placed at top left of dinner plate)

Bottom Row From Right to Left
1. Soup Spoon
2. Small Spoon
3. Knife with cutting edge toward the plate
4. Dinner plate with salad/soup bowl on it
5. Dessert Fork
6. Dinner Fork
7. Salad fork
8. Salad Plate to the left of the forks

While you can place the napkins according to your preference, the most common positions are in the water glass, on the dinner plate or adjacent to the flatware on the left.

Setting a pretty table is not difficult; all you have to do is exercise a little bit of creativity and practical sense, and let the fun begin right from the word ‘go’!.


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