The Proper Way to Set a Table

table setting
Are you planning to host a house full of guests this holiday season? If you want to make a good impression on your guests, you had better know how to set a table properly for an elegant, formal dinner. This quick guide will answer all your common table-setting questions.

Gather Your Supplies

The exact tableware your need depends on what you’re serving, but for a classic formal dinner, each setting includes:

  • Dinner plate
  • Salad plate
  • Soup bowl
  • Bread plate
  • Salad fork
  • Dinner fork
  • Dessert fork
  • Soup spoon
  • Table spoon
  • Table knife
  • Butter knife
  • Water glass
  • Wine glass(es)

Set the Plates and Bowls

  1. Center a large dinner plate in front of each dining chair one thumb’s length from the edge of the table. Line up each dinner plate across the table from each other.
  2. Next, place a salad plate on top of each dinner plate, set a soup bowl on top of each salad plate, and place a bread plate at the upper left corner of the dinner plate.

Arrange the Silverware

  1. The rule with using silverware at a formal dinner is to work from the outside in as each course is served. Forks go on the left and spoons and knives go on the right. To help with proper spacing, work backward when arranging the silverware, working from the inside out.
  2. Start with the forks on the left. The dessert fork (small) goes nearest to the plate. The dinner fork (large) goes to the left of the dessert fork. The salad fork (medium) goes to the left of the dinner fork.
  3. Next, place the knife and spoons on the right. The table knife goes nearest to the plate. Set it so the serrated edge faces the plate. The table spoon (small) goes to the right of the table knife. The soup spoon (large or extra round) goes to the right of the table spoon.
  4. All the silverware surrounding the dinner plate should line up at the bottom about one thumb’s length from the edge of the table. Each handle should be evenly spaced.
  5. Finally, set the butter knife (short rounded blade) horizontally on the bread plate.

Place the Glasses

  1. Select a tall glass without a stem for water or whatever non-alcoholic drink you’re serving. Place it directly above the table knife.
  2. Select a red wine glass (round wide bowl) or white wine glass (smaller bowl). Use both if you’re serving both types of drinks. Place the wine glass at the upper right corner of the water glass. If you’re serving two types of wine, place the red wine glass in this position with the white wine glass to the right of the water glass.

Fold the Napkins

There are many ways to fold a napkin. A simple option is to fold each one into a flat rectangle or triangle and place it to the left of the dinner plate just beyond the forks.

Other options include:

  • Fan fold
  • French pleat
  • Envelope fold
  • Rose fold

You can also place a cloth napkin through a napkin ring. Then, lay it vertically on top of the dinner and salad plates. If each setting includes a soup bowl, place the napkin to the left of the forks.

Let Molly Maid Help You Prepare for Guests

Dinner parties can be stressful to plan for, what with all the baking and cleaning involved. Let Molly Maid take some of the stress away by dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, and completing other chores before your guests arrive. To set up cleaning services, please contact your local Molly Maid or call today.