Setting the Perfect Table

Have you ever looked at a carefully set table and marveled at the beautiful results? Maybe you have seen setting in magazines and on blogs, and wondered what the secret is to creating a truly stunning tablescape. You can easily set striking tables at home, it’s just necessary to keep some straightforward rules in mind and use a bit of creativity.

First, familiarize yourself with the proper arrangement of utensils depending on the formality of your setting. The key is to lay them out in the order that people will use them. Start from the outside and work your way inward. Only put utensils on the table if they are necessary for the meal. For example, if you are not serving soup, don’t include a soup spoon.

Concerning forks and knives and spoons, a fork normally goes on the left of the plate, while the proper place for the knife and spoon is on the plate’s right. The only exception to this rule is if your meal requires an oyster fork. In that case, put it on the right.

For a casual table setting, the napkin is always to the left of the plate. Moreover, at least one utensil goes on top of the napkin. It’s up to you whether you only place the fork on the napkin, or all of the utensils. Either method is acceptable. If you put a knife on the napkin, turn the knife’s blade inward towards the plate

Wondering about the placement of the water glass? It can either go at a 45-degree angle to the right of the knife, or directly above that utensil. If you are using one or more wine glasses at the meal, place them to the right of the water glass. That recommendation goes for all table arrangements, from casual to formal.

The arrangement of the basic utensils is almost the same for a semi-formal table arrangement. The main difference from what’s mentioned above is that you can put the fork on the napkin to save space. Otherwise, place it to the right of the napkin.

There are some specifics to keep in mind regarding the butter knife and the dessert utensils.

Put the butter knife on the butter plate with the blade facing in towards the seated guest. Also, angle the knife’s handle slightly to the right. This orientation makes it easier for right-hand dominant people to pick up the knife. The butter knife goes on the left side of the table setting, and above the napkin.

Then, you can either bring the dessert utensils out with that portion of the meal, or have them on the table for the whole meal. If opting for the latter choice, arrange the dessert utensils above the main place setting, in between the butter plate and the beverage glass.

Place the fork horizontally with its handle pointing left. Conversely, the dessert spoon goes above the fork, also arranged in a horizontal fashion, but with the handle to the right.

The most varied table setting options exist for a formal setting. That’s because it all depends on what you’re serving and the number of courses. However, there are no major changes to what you read above concerning the fundamental placement for utensils or other dining items.

If you are using a charger plate, put the napkin either to the left of it, or on top of the charger. You may also need both a steak and a fish knife. In that case, put the steak knife closest to the plate with the fish knife to the right of it. If soup is on the menu, place the spoon between the two knives. The knife blades always go towards the plate.

Now that you know all the basics for setting a table, make sure your table is polished with details. Browse our beautiful assortment of napkins, plus related accessories including napkin rings and napkin holders. Our placemats and table covers also give your utensils a colorful and soft backdrop, making the table look exceptionally inviting.

As a final note, don’t fret if you don’t own every type of specialty flatware. If needed, a fish fork can double as a dessert fork and vice versa. Once you learn these tips and memorize them, it’ll be easier than you’d imagined to set a table that looks spectacular and thoroughly impresses your guests.

You have successfully subscribed!