Table setting knowledge has become a thing of the past as people have no time left to remember the same.  Due to time constraints, proper placement of plates, cutlery, and napkin often become difficult to remember. To help you avoid the stress that comes with getting the table setting right each time, we have compiled a few easy table setting ideas.   

Basics of Table Setting

To begin with, it is important that you understand the logic behind it. For instance, flatware needs to be used beginning from outward to inward which is left to right. There are some basic rules in table setting which are common for all types. To make the setting more formal, add silverware, plates and fancy glasses. Work your way inwards and place the plates for the biggest meal first. Stemmed glasses are set above and to the right side of the dinner plate.

Bread and butter platters come above the plate sit above the plate towards the left side.Flatware should be set at the rim level of the crockery. The water glass should be placed above the dinner knife with the white wine on the right and red wine. Depending on the occasion, table setting is categorized as follows:

1. Daily Table Setting

If you wish to lay the table for everyday dinner or breakfast, use very simple components namely a place mat, dinner plate, cutlery, water glass, and napkin. Try to make your table setting look interesting by mixing patterns, colors, and textures that match each other. A charger plate which usually holds the other plates is one such component which is not required for a casual setting. The following are the steps involved in casual table setting:

  • Spread the place mat on the table.
  • Place the dinner plate in the center.
  • The napkin should be placed towards the left of the plate.
  • The cutlery should be aligned with the bottom of the dinner plate.
  • Ensure that the knife’s blade points towards the plate. It’s impolite to place the knife outwards.
  • You can use tumblers along with stemmed glasses.
  • Place the fork on the napkin.
  • Place the knife towards the right of the plate and spoon next to it.
  • The fork needs to be placed towards the left.  The bottom of the utensil and plate should be placed on the same level.
  • The salt and peppers shakers should be placed near the center. The pair should be passed together.
  • The water glass should be placed above the fork in between the plate at around 1 pm position.
Photo : Potterybarn

2.Formal Setting

A formal setting is not starkly different from a casual table setting. It has many additional pieces including tablecloths, bread plates, dinner plates,  knives, salad forks, butter knives, dessert spoons, water, soup spoons, red wine glasses and white glasses. Although setting all this sounds like a tedious process, it is effortless when you do it with the help of charger plates. The serving order follows the courses served. The first course is soup, then a salad, entree and a dessert. The following are the steps involved in setting the table:

  • Spread an ironed tablecloth on the table.
  • Place a charger or presentation plate on every seat. The charger holds all the plates, and it will be removed after the salad course. Although this step is optional, placing chargers on the table gives it a better look.
  • Place a soup bowl in the center of the charger.
  • Place bread plate in the top left corner of the charger.
  • Place the napkin on the left side of the charger plate.
  • If you are serving a salad, place the salad fork near a dinner fork. Place the dessert fork on the right side of the dinner fork.
  • If you are serving soup, set the bowl on the plate. Place a soup spoon near the knife positioned near the charger.
  • It is important to note to place the flatware including salad fork, dinner fork, soup spoon and knife at equal distances, approximately half an inch from each other.
  • Place the butter knife on the bread plate with the handle turned in towards the right.
  • Above the charger, place a dessert spoon(teaspoon). The handle of this teaspoon must be turned in to the right.
  • Place cups and saucers above spoons. Place the handles of the spoons towards the right.
  • Place wine and water glasses towards the left of the cup and saucer.
  • While eating, people reach for water more than wine. Therefore, place the water glass above knife tip.
  • Place wine glasses along with water glasses towards the left side of the coffee cup.

Tips on Table Setting While Throwing a Sit Down Dinner Party

  • Choose a centerpiece but make sure it is not more than 10 inches tall; otherwise, it will cause a hindrance in conversations.
  • Serve appetizers in your living room instead of the table as it will eliminate the hassle of being served on the table.
  • Before bringing guests to the table, fill water glasses and bring out bread and butter.
  • Chill salad plates in the freezer before serving as this keeps the greens crispy.
  • Place a dinner plate on the charger if you do not want to clear after the soup course.
  • Place dinner plates in the oven on a low setting to warm as the portion served on them will not get cold soon.