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Whether you are enjoying a cozy dinner with family and friends or hosting Thanksgiving parties, you must work on having flawless dinner table settings.

Almost every one of us had the chance to set a table before. But my question is, was it properly set?

Setting a table is far from randomly placing the fork, spoon, knife, and plate. It is an underestimated form of art. It elevates even your simplest home-cooked meals and turns your fancy dinners into the most memorable ones.

Stick around for a detailed table settings guide.


Gorgeous Holiday Table Setting

A beautiful dining table decorated for Christmas.
Get creative with your dinner table!

Why Proper Table Setting is Crucial

First, I want you to imagine having a family dinner with no proper table setting. The result would be missing out on some silverware or just having an unorganized dinner table. We do not want that, right?

In order to encourage your family members to enjoy home-cooked meals, it is very important to set the atmosphere for that. Believe me, it is a game changer. Plus, your children will learn a valuable lesson about manners that they will bear in mind for the rest of their lives.

Second of all, you will give your guests a positive impression of their host. Besides, it is a very good way to show them respect and appreciation. Your guests will even translate the gesture as a warm and welcoming one.


A Vibrant and Cozy Table Setting

A very colorful and cozy basic dinner table.
Getting families closer together.

3 Standard Dinner Table Settings Everyone Must Know

Each occasion calls for a certain level of formality. And as a host, you are supposed to perfectly meet each level. There are 3 main ways to set a table and each one has specific guidelines.

You can take your dinners to the next level by simply following the rules for each of the three table settings and altering them to meet your preferences.


Basic Table Setting

You must have tried this one before. It is the standard way used in everyday dinners with family and close friends. This particular setting includes the basics such as cutlery (knife, spoon, and fork), a plate, a placemat, napkins, and a glass of water.


Instructions For a Basic Table Setting:

  • First things first, lay the chosen place-mat on the table and in front of all seats.
  • Then, make sure to place the plate in the middle of each place-mat. You can choose your everyday plates, no need to go all out here.
  • Next, place a folded napkin to the left of the plate.
  • Put the fork on top of the napkin.
  • Then, to the right of the plate, set the knife where it is nearest to the latter; before positioning the spoon right next to the knife.
  • At this point, place the glass of water slightly on the top right of the plate (a few inches above the knife and spoon).

Casual or Informal Table Setting

If you want to elevate your everyday basic dinner and make it extra special for some reason, you can follow the basic table-setting guidelines. But it does not end here.

This particular style can be furtherly tweaked and altered based on the meal served. Besides, it is designed for a standard three-course meal.


Instructions For a Casual Table Setting:

  • First of all, lay the placemat in front of all chairs.
  • Then set the plate in the middle of the placemat.
  • Next, add the salad plate on top of the main dinner plate.
  • Then, add a soup bowl over the salad plate if you are serving soup of course.
  • You can place fancy napkins or cloth napkins on the left of the plate.
  • Set the dinner fork on top of the napkin closest to the plate, then place the salad fork beside the latter.
  • Then, to the right of the plate, set the knife where it is nearest to the plate. Before positioning the spoon next to it.
  • Place the glass of water slightly on the top right of the plate (a few inches above the knife and spoon).

Formal Table Setting

Let’s get into the real deal, shall we? Impressing your guests with a fancy dinner requires preparing a formal table setting. A type of setting that you usually encounter at a fine dining restaurant or sophisticated dinner parties.

This type of setting may seem a bit overwhelming for it includes china and other fancy pieces. However, if you have prepared a casual dinner setting before, you would find this one a piece of cake.


Instructions for a Formal Dinner Table Setting:

  • Initially, lay an ironed tablecloth on the table.
  • Then, place a charger in front of every chair. Then, place a soup bowl in the center.
  • Next, position the bread plate on the top left of the charger.
  • And to the left of the charger lay a napkin.
  • Then, place both salad and dinner forks on the napkin.
  • Set a knife on the right of the charger and place the soup spoon beside it. Make sure the knife’s blade is facing the charger.
  • Then, on top of the bread plate, set a butter knife horizontally.
  • Next, set a dessert spoon or teaspoon above the charger. The handle must be pointed to the right.
  • Make sure to set a water glass directly above the knife.
  • Finally, place the pepper and salt shakers near the center of the dinner table.

Elegant, Classy, and neat

White porcelain tea set on a dinner table.
Pamper your guests with the appropriate setting for every occasion.

Top Tips

  • If you want your dinner table to look fancy, add some flowers and candles.
  • Don’t add items to the table if you don’t need them. So, if you are not serving bread, for example, don’t add its items.
  • You can choose to add the napkin on top of the plate in a basic dinner table setting.
  • Always face the blade inwards.
  • You should space forks, spoons, and knives evenly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I put as a centerpiece in my dinner table settings?

You can choose to include flowers or candles. These are the two most common options.

Can we follow the same steps to set a lunch table?

Yes, you can definitely follow the same strategy, but you must add some other items to fit your meal such as a soup bowl, bread plate, or even butter knife.

What are the main types of dinner table settings?

There are three main types: basic, casual, and formal table setting.


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About Lama

I'm Lama, welcome to my blog where you will find simple and diverse recipes your entire family will enjoy. I am honored to connect with you through the recipes I prepare!

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