How to Set a Dinner Table

Setting a dinner table is an art. It is fast becoming a lost art but it’s a very valuable and useful tool to know. Whether you’re having your regular dinner or a formal event, knowing how to set a table properly is essential. There are simple guidelines to ensure you’ll be able to welcome family and guests to sit down at a meal properly. Here are a few basic tips.


Step 1

You’ll need a number count. It’s imperative to know how many guests you’ll have to set the table to accommodate. It there will be children in attendance be sure to set a children table for them as well. You may need booster seats depending on ages.

Step 2

Determine where your guests will be seated. As a general rule of thumb; parents should be seated next to their children, a hostess should seat her male guest to her right, a host should seat his female guest to his right. For larger events use name cards to organize seating. Married couples should be seated together and those who are prone to communicate more in close proximity.

Step 3

If you decide to use a tablecloth you may need to place a non slip padding underneath to keep the cloth from moving. The middle crease should be positioned so that it is directly in the middle of the table. The edges should hang about a foot and a half if the placement is for a seated meal. At a buffet the tablecloth should hang to the floor.

Step 4

Fold your cloth napkins and place one napkin in the center of each guest place setting.

Step 5

The large dinner fork is to be placed to the left of the plate on top of the napkin. The smaller fork goes next to the dinner forks. There is an exception to this rule. If you are using an oyster fork, it goes to right of the plate.

Step 6

The knife should be placed to the right of the plate with the sharp edge facing the plate. For game or poultry a steak knife should be placed.

Step 7

If you are serving soup and desert you should set two spoons. The small dessert spoon goes to the right of the knife. The larger soup spoon should go the to right of the dessert spoon.

Step 8

Place your water glass to the right of the plate. It should be about 2 inches above the knife setting. Place the glass for your drink slightly closer to the guest but on the right side of the water glass.

Step 9

If you will serve coffee with dessert you should place the coffee cup on a saucer with a spoon set to the right of the saucer.

Filed Under: Food & Cooking


About the Author: Leona Kesler is a head-chef at a very popular food restaurant in New York. Also she is a blogger who shares her experiences, tips, and other informative details about food and cooking. Her recipes are featured on many magazines.

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