A Simple Guide On How To Set A Dinner Table

Published on 08/02/2021

Setting the dinner table is often a rushed, last-minute task. However, when it comes to entertaining, an impressive, correctly laid out table is always seen as proper etiquette. The art of table setting is actually simple once you understand a few basics. The table setup generally differs slightly depending on what kind of occasion or even you may be hosting. dinner party it is. However, there are some basic rules people follow to set a dinner table correctly. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be a dinner party pro in no time!

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A Simple Guide On How To Set A Dinner Table

Set The Theme

To start things off, you must decide whether your setting will be formal or informal. From there you can choose the theme for your event.  Along with your theme, you may also want to have a specific color scheme to match. Although this is not a must, it’s always the small touches that make the difference. Let your creative juices flow when creating the perfect ambiance.

Formal Dinner Table

For the purpose of this article, we’ll be covering a formal/ elegant dinner party. Generally speaking, these dinners include a three-course.  Traditionally, formal table setting includes many pieces: a tablecloth, chargers, dinner plates, soup bowls, salad plates, bread plates, napkins, salad forks, dinner forks, knives, soup spoons, butter knives, dessert spoons, water glasses, red wine glasses, and white wine glasses. Though this may sound overwhelming, once you learn the simple tricks, it’s pretty easy. Taking the time to show your guests that your truly care is very important when it comes to hosting. Part of this includes knowing what plates to use and the correct table setting.

Setting The Table For Soup

If you’re having soup, place the soup bowl on top of the salad place. Then, place a napkin to the left of the setting. The soup spoon is placed on the right of the plate and next to the dinner knife. Soup is served before the main course is eaten and is often served in small quantities. Additionally, soup is generally served in a heated, soup plate and of course eaten with the soup spoon, which is placed at the outer right.

Main Course

Getting ready for the main course is not as difficult as many people think. The main course is only eaten once the second course has been cleared. The large dinner plate that will be used is not initially laid onto the table but instead brought in either empty or with the meal.  In either case, the plate should be preheated unless the main course is served cold. Eat with the dinner fork and knife which is placed directly next to the placemat or charger plate.


For many people, dessert is sometimes the most important part of the meal. Again, a small dessert plate is not something that is placed on the table to start with. So, when it comes time to eat dessert a plate will be handed to you. Guests then use the cake fork and or the dessert spoon, which has been laid across the top of the setting before the meal began. Many people recommend that you clear the entire table before serving dessert.