Setting the Table Arrange flatware so that the utensils used first are placed farthest from the plate. Forks are typically on the left, and the knife (with the blade toward the plate) and the spoons are on the right. If you are using a butter plate, place it above the forks. If you’re serving salad as a main course, place the salad plate to the left of the forks. The salad fork may be placed at either side of the dinner fork. If you plan to serve coffee or tea at the table, put the cup slightly above and to the right of the spoons. The napkin can go either in the center of the dinner plate or to the left of the forks at each place setting. Before you offer dessert, clear the table of all serving dishes, plates, salt and pepper shakers and any unnecessary flatware.