How to Set a Table

Inviting guests over for dinner calls for your finest cutlery, tableware and glassware, all perfectly placed on the dinner table.
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Everyday Dinner Table Setting


An everyday dinner table setting is ideal for weeknight family dinnertimes or a casual meal at home with friends. In just five steps, you can achieve a simple setting that will leave your guests feeling well catered for.

  1. Lay your placemat down and set a dinner plate in the centre.

  2. Fold napkin and place either to the left side of the plate, next to where the fork will go or in the centre of the plate. The napkin can also be folded in a variety of styles when displayed in the centre of the plate. Alternatively, it can be rolled into a napkin ring and placed in the centre or to the left side of the plate.

  3. Place a fork to the left of the plate, a knife to the right of the plate and a spoon next to the knife.

  4. On the left-hand side of the plate, above the fork, add a bread and butter plate with a knife.

  5. Lastly, place a water glass above the knife on the right-hand side of the plate.



Casual or Informal Dinner Table Setting


If you are looking for a dinner table setting that is a touch more than the simple everyday setting, a casual dinner table setting will show your guests that you have gone the extra mile, but will not make them feel underdressed for a casual dinner party.

  1. Set the placemat and position a dinner plate in the centre.

  2. Place a salad plate and soup bowl (if serving soup) on top of the dinner plate.

  3. Place dinner and salad forks to the left of the plate, with the dinner fork closest to the plate edge. Position a knife to the right of the dinner plate and add a soup spoon to the right of this.

  4. Fold napkin or put in a napkin ring and position to the left of the forks or on top of the salad plate.

  5. Set a water glass above the knife – so guests can reach with ease, and place a wine glass on the right-hand side of this.


Formal Dinner Table Setting


Special occasions call for something a little more elegant than a casual dinner table setting. Create a lavish formal dinner table arrangement, equipped for as many courses as desired, and dine in style with your guests.

  1. Spread a table cloth across the table – the most formal coloured cloth is thought to be white.

  2. Set your charger plate on the table, in-line with the dining chair that sits at that place setting.

  3. On top of the charger, place a dinner plate then set a soup bowl or salad plate on top, depending on what is being served for the first course.

  4. Place your cutlery in accordance to the meals and number of courses that are to be served. Position cutlery in the order of use from the outside, in, with forks to the left of the plate and knives and spoons to the right.

  5. Add a dessert spoon and cake fork above the dinner plate.

  6. Position the napkin to the left of the forks, or if there is not enough space, place underneath the forks. Alternatively, to impress your guests even more, put the napkin in a napkin ring and place on top of the salad plate.

  7. Add a water glass above the knives and set each of your wine glasses - white, red and champagne - from left to right.

  8. Place a bread dish above the forks with a bread knife on top.

  9. To finish off the formal table setting, decorate with a centrepiece or flower arrangement, but ensure these do not block guests’ views of one another.