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Table Setting 101

Created January 10, 2017
When it comes to setting a table, anything goes, but before you break the rules, you have to know the rules. Here’s Betty’s quick lesson on the fundamentals.
Table Setting 101

The Basics

  • Allow enough elbow room for each person.  We recommend 24 inches from the middle of each plate to the next.
  • Align flatware with the bottom of the plate and place 1 inch from the edge of the table.

Casual Place Setting

Place a fork to the left of the plate, a knife to the right (blade-side toward plate) with the spoon to the right of the knife.

Formal Place Setting

  • Arrange utensils in the order of use, starting outside and working in toward the plate.
  • Place first-course salad or soup plate on top of the main-course plate.
  • Place the bread plate above the forks with the butter knife across the plate.
  • Place the salad plate to the left of the forks when served with the main course.
  • Place the water glass at the top of the knife and wine or other glasses to the right.
  • Place the coffee or tea cup slightly above and to the right of the knife and spoon, or bring with dessert.
  • Place dessert flatware and coffee spoon above the dinner plate, or bring with dessert.
  • Place the napkin in the center of the plate or to the left of the forks.
  • Before dessert, clear the table of all items that won’t be used with dessert.