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How to set a table? The question must have hit your mind several times before having dinner. Setting a table is something that you have been practising since childhood, but it can be a daunting task too at times. Whether you are planning a big dinner party for your loved ones or having a VIP guest for a small dinner, the table setting differs from occasions to occasions.

Falling short of ideas and want to make your next ‘table setting’ a little more creative? Relax! We have got you covered. In this blog, we have accumulated some table setting tips to improve your hosting skills based on different occasions. Confused about where to buy from? We got you there too, try reaching out to online platforms like Ellementry and you are sorted. Also, share this with your kids so next time they can assist you with your preparation. Let’s dive right in.

How to set a Table

How to do a basic table setting ? 

The basic table setting is done for casual events. If you are preparing a morning breakfast or dinner then you must know how basic table setting is done. For this setting, you need basic kitchen equipment such as dinner plates, flatware, napkins, table mat, and glass.

Directions for the basic table setting- 

  • Place the plate in the middle of the table 
    • Place a napkin on the left side of the table, adjacent to the plate. 
      • Place the knife to the right of the dinner plate and next to knife place a spoon. Make sure the blade points towards the plate. 
        • Put the fork on the napkin. 
          • The glass must be positioned above the plate, in between knife and plate. 

            Note: Instead of placing the napkin next to the plate, you can even put the napkin on a dinner plate. The latter gives a kind of formal feel. So set the way you want.

            How to set a casual table?

            The casual table setting is required when you have organized a small party or reunion of friends. These tips will come in handy if you know how to do a basic table setting. The casual table setting is no different from the basic table setting. It is quite similar to it. You only need to add one red wine glass and a soup bowl to complete this setting. As placed in the basic setting, layout the necessary elements like glassware, tableware, and flatware that you will be using. A fork will be enough if there is no salad course. Cut down the glass of red wine if you are drinking another wine. Moreover, you can even eliminate soup bowl and spoon if the soup is not going to be served. 

            To make the setting even more formal, you can use chargers (a set of decorative plates and cutlery mainly used for presentations in big parties to serve salad/soup) as a casual setting. Make sure it is presented well.


            • The plate should be kept in the middle of the table 
              • Put the salad plate on the top of the dinner plate 
                • The soup bowl must be placed over the salad plate if the soup is a part of your meal 
                  • Place the napkin to the left of the decorative plates 
                    • Place the fork on the tissue left to the dinner plates 
                      • Put the knife on the right side of the plates and next to it place the spoon. ( Make sure the bottom of all the elements are aligned properly) 
                        • Place the glass of water just above the knife. 
                          • Place the red wine glass diagonally upward to the water glass, slightly above the water glass. 

                            Note: If you also have small shakers to keep salt and pepper in, they can be positioned at the center of the table. Or if you have a long, rectangular table then these items can be kept near the corners. With your creativity, you can even add other utensils.

                            How to set a formal table?

                            Are you planning a big dinner party at home or throwing a birthday party for your son? Then it is important to learn a formal table setting. The formal table setting is typically done for big parties, functions, events. This setting is completely different from the aforementioned ones. It incorporates the use of charger plates which are also known as the presentation plates. Earlier, table mats were not used to cover the table but now people have started using table mat for an even perfect formal look. 

                            A formal table set primarily includes table cloth, chargers, dinner plates, salad plates, soup bowls, tissues, bread plates, dinner forks, salad forks, knives, dessert spoons, butter knives, soup spoons, water glasses, and white wine glasses. Now what matters is your presentation. 

                            Directions for a formal table setting: 

                            • Cover the table with table mats 
                              • Place a charger plate at each seat 
                                • Put a soup bowl in the middle of the charger plate 
                                  • Place the bread plate diagonally upward to the charger plate 
                                    • Place a napkin on the left side of the charger plate 
                                      • On the left side, adjacent to the charger, place the salad fork outside and dinner fork inside. You may also put both the forks on the napkin or you may even place the forks between napkin and charger. 
                                        • Put the knife on the right side of the charger plate just near to it (blade pointing towards the charger) and next to knife place the soup spoon. While placing all the vertical flatware (knife, salad fork, soup spoon, and dinner fork) keep in mind there should be an even gap between them that is half an inch from each other. They all must be aligned properly with the bottom of the charger. 
                                          • On the top left, place a butter knife on the bread plate blade pointing inwards. Also in the entire table setting knife setting will remain the same.
                                            • Just above the charger (1 cm away) place the tablespoon. The mouth is facing left and handles pointing to the right. 
                                              • Place the water glass on the top right, directly above the knife. To the right of water glass slightly upward, place red wine glass and just below the red wine glass and slightly downward to the right place the white wine glass. 
                                                • If you have salt and pepper shakers then they are positioned above the teaspoon. Otherwise, you may keep them in the middle of the table or you can set them in the middle of the corners. 
                                                  • Place cards are kept just above the teaspoon. But they are not necessary. 

                                                    Note: You may also use some fancy plates or set of dinner plates easily at if arranging a formal party. Moreover, can you play with your creativity too if you find something missing?

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