How To Set A Dinner Table
If the idea of setting a dinner table is more intimidating than actually cooking for a dinner party, then read on! According to “Miss Manners” Judith Martin, a dinner table should be set logically, with each component laid out for convenience in the order in which it will be used. For a dinner party with friends, you can stick to the basics and still add a festive feeling. Just follow these simple steps to set a dinner table, and your table will set your party up for success!
To set a dinner table for four, you’ll need:
- A tablecloth or four placemats
- A centerpiece
- Salt and pepper shaker
- 4 Soup bowls or Salad plates
- 4 Dinner plates
- 4 Bread and butter plates
- 4 Salad forks or soup spoons
- 4 Dinner forks
- 4 Butter knives
- 4 Dinner knives
- 4 Napkins
- Start setting your dinner table by setting the stage. If you’re using a tablecloth or placemats, arrange them on the table. Place some kind of centerpiece in the middle. You can use a low vase of flowers (that won’t block the diners’ view), a bowl of lemons or apples, candles, or some other creative piece of your choice. Place the salt and pepper shaker nearby at the middle of the table.
- Set your dishes on your dinner table next. Lay the dinner plate in the center of your place setting, and put the soup bowl or the salad plate on top of it. If you have bread plates, place them above the dinner plate, slightly to the left. Dessert plates should be left in the kitchen and brought to the table when dessert is served.
- Set your dinner table with all the glasses that will be used during the meal. A water glass belongs to the right of the plate, just above the knife, and a wine glass should be set to the right of the water glass.
- Arrange your silverware in the order in which it will be used, working from the outside in, roughly lining it up with the bottom of the dinner plate. As you set your dinner table, place the salad fork (if necessary) to the outside left of the plate, followed by the dinner fork. On the right side of the plate, place the dinner knife, with the blade turned toward the plate, followed by the spoon (if necessary). Place the butter knife across the bread plate horizontally. Dessert cutlery can be left in the kitchen with the dessert plates.
- When you’re done setting your dinner table, finish off each place setting with a napkin. Fold it into a simple rectangle or create an ornate design, and place it on top of the salad plate or soup bowl. Now, your dinner table is set – and so are you!