How to

Set the Perfect Table

How to Set the Perfect Table

Getting ready to set the table? Add a pinch of style, a dash of great company and some plates of fabulous food to make it a truly magical meal! If you’re getting ready to have friends and family over for dinner or you simply want to make your weeknight meals even more enjoyable, setting your table in a new way can help get all the fun going. Take a look at these helpful tips for getting everything arranged, and your gorgeous table can guide you through everything from a relaxing brunch to a superb multicourse soiree!

Plates in Position

The spots where you add your plates around the table give your guests space to settle in and get comfy for a fun meal. If you can, arrange plates a few inches from the edge of the table for maximum dining comfort. Want to make your plates pop? You can use decorative chargers under dinner plates to highlight each setting and give each it’s own sense of space. Gold and silver chargers are wonderful for holiday dinners, and colorful chargers can coordinate with other tabletop decor and centerpieces.

You can also stack additional plates on top of the main dinner plate if you’re serving different courses. This looks great and adds some new height dimensions to your table. For example, maybe you’re serving a soup and a salad. You can stack the salad plate directly on the dinner plate, and then place the soup bowl on top of the salad plate. The plates are easily accessible to everyone, and your table looks amazing! Another great tabletop tip is to alternate colors of your various plates. If you use your formal china, you might also want to choose a contrasting table cloth or runner to highlight the china’s finish and pattern.

Start Circling the Plate from the Left Side

Ready for the utensils? Start circling the wagons – or, well, plates – with forks lined up on the left side of the plate. The traditional order for forks (if you have multiples for your meal) is to place the main-meal fork directly next to the dinner plate and the smaller salad fork to the left of it. If you plan to use cloth napkins, you can add them under your forks. Feel free to try a few different styles and patterns, and then choose a napkin color that you love.

Keep Circling Around Clockwise

With a traditional place setting, bread plates usually go above the forks, sort of at an angle to the left of the dinner plate, but they’re definitely not a necessity. If you want to introduce a bit more color or a special-occasion design to the table, unique or heirloom plates are a fun way to do it. If you’re planning on serving some sweet treats, you can place an extra dessert fork or spoon directly above each main plate stack so all your diners have an easy way to dig in.

Move to the Right with Glassware

Time for some sip supplements as you finish up your settings! You can arrange wine and water glasses in the upper-right space of your plates. Often, formal place settings may have the glasses arranged from the top right of the plate angled down toward the spoons, or the glassware may be arranged in a triangle, but feel free to keep things casual. Serving a fresh home brew? Add some pint glasses at the settings instead. Have fun choosing glassware that matches the mood of the table. Use brightly colored or hand-cut glassware pieces to add warmth. Adding some colored or cut glass water pitchers and wine carafes can help your table sparkle even more! 

You’re Almost Finished

You’re in the home stretch for each setting! Add a dinner knife to the right of the plate, and then add a dinner spoon next to it. Serving soup? You might want to place soup spoons to the right of the larger ones.

More Ideas for Table Settings

Vases full of fragrant fresh flowers and bowls full of fruit are gorgeous centerpieces, and you can feel free to arrange candles, sculptures or twinkling lights for even more flair. A mirrored tray or platter set with flameless candles makes for a gorgeous centerpiece. Oversized candlesticks in mercury glass make a bold statement on small tables. On a long table, consider using a garland of fresh herbs or greenery as a base for decorative fruit, flowers or string lights. Lay the garland across the table runner for a fragrant touch you’ll all love almost as much as the dinner conversation.