How to Set a Table

Impress your friends at your next dinner party by learning the Domestic CEO’s 4 simple steps to a sophisticated table setting.

Amanda Thomas
4-minute read
Episode #39

Step #2: Add Bling

Now that your base of plates has been set, it’s time to add your bling: the silverware. In general, forks go on the left of the dinner plate and knives and spoons go on the right. Your guests should be able to grab the farthest out utensil to use for each course. That way, as they finish each course and the plates get cleared away, the next utensil is ready for use. For your forks, the salad fork is the farthest out from the plate, then the dinner fork, and finally the dessert fork. On the spoon and knife side, the soup spoon is farthest from the plate, then the teaspoon, and finally the dinner knife.

As with all bling, there are accessories to your flatware. If you have a bread plate, your guests’ bread knives can simply rest on top of the bread plate. If you have a dessert spoon and fork, you can place them above the dinner plate, parallel to the edge of the table.

This is the time when you need to think simplicity. I just named 8 different pieces of flatware. If your meal only consists of one course, you should only put down the minimum number of pieces your guests will need. If it’s just a knife and fork, that’s totally OK. Don’t put down extra pieces to make your table setting look fancier. You will only confuse your guests and create more dishes to wash!

See also: How to Organize Your Kitchen

Step #3: Drinkware

Now that your table is set with your plates and flatware, it’s time to add the glasses for drinks. Again, I’m going to tell you how all the glasses and cups should line up, but please don’t feel like you need to add them all to your table, only enough to keep your guests hydrated and happy during your meal.

The glasses line up on the right side of the setting, above your spoons and knives. The coffee cup goes above the soup spoon, just slightly to the right. Then, in an upward angle, place your white wine glass, then the red wine glass, and finally the water glass. If you don’t have all the wine glasses, you can line your water glass up above your dinner knife, otherwise it sits slightly to the left above the dinner knife.

Step #4: The Napkins

Finally, after all the settings are in place, it’s time to decide what to do with your napkins. Depending on how you fold the napkins, you can put them to the left of the forks, under the forks, or on top of the plates. If you want to get creative with your napkin folding, check out the website napkinfoldingguide.com for 27 different types of folds. That’s right, 27 ways to fold a napkin!

Now that you know how to set your table, it’s time to wow your friends with your new skills. Invite them over and surprise them with your sophistication!

Do you have a great dinner party story or a question about anything in this episode? Post your questions, comment, or pictures on the Domestic CEO Facebook wall or on Twitter where I’m @TheDomesticCEO.

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

Red Plate, Cutlery, and Napkin images from Shutterstock.