How to Set a Table |

Learning how to set a table properly is essential if you wish to look like a seasoned adult while hosting and if you’d like to add charm to every meal.

Yes, don’t freak… you can have more than a knife, spoon, and fork at one time on the table. The extra tableware and utensils can make the steps hard to remember but with some simple guidelines, proper table setting can be achieved for formal meals. Adulting made easy.


During special occasions, when you have guests over your home, a properly set table is a great way to make an impression.

An issue, however, that makes it difficult for others to learn the skill of setting tables properly is the confusion brought by added utensils and tableware.

To make it easier for you, here are some tips on how to set a table.


The Rule of Thumb for Table Settings

There’s a rule of thumb and that is to “begin at the outside and work in.”

Following that rule, the utensils have to be placed on the table so that they are served starting from the farthest from the plate to inside (guess what, when you are eating at a table with a nice setting, you use the utensils the same way).

Here is an example of a Formal Table setting


Basic Table Setting

In a basic table setting, the dinner plate is positioned at the center and everything else is placed around it. The utensils placed around the plate are arranged in the order they will be used. On that note, the fork is to the left of the plate. To the right is where the knife and spoon are placed.

The knife has to be placed with the sharp edge towards the plate. Next to right of the spoon is the knife. Then above the knife is where the water glass is positioned. As for the napkins, they can be placed on the plate or under the utensils for informal setting.


Place Setting

So you’re gonna go all “Super Adulting” and partake in a fancy dinner. Don’t worry, we got you covered.

The number of pieces of silverware will indicate the number of courses. Closest to the plate is the main-course fork. The others mean that they are used for all other dishes to come.

If there are dessert utensils above the plate or soup spoon to your right are also indications of the number of other courses to come. Pace yourself and it’s ok to not finish each course.


Water or Wine

If you are not sure which glass in the table is for water and which one is for wine, the table setting itself is an indication. You see, at a formally set table, the tip of the knife is usually closely set to the water glass.

As for the wine glass, it’s usually placed slightly more outside of the place settings. In terms of wine and other beverages, the larger glasses are for red wine, the smaller ones are for white wine and the fluted glasses are intended for sparkling beverages.

The place settings may vary a bit, depending on what you are serving but it will still be outside in.



So you got all that now? Proper table setting is vital to proper etiquette and also to give a good impression to your dinner guests.

On that note, learning this skill is essential even when it’s a little confusing.

With these simple tips and tricks, you can set a formal dinner table setting properly and be all impressive and stuff.


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