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How To Set Up A Table

Updated on October 22, 2011

For every sort of dinner, formal or not-so-formal, there is something needed to be considering with the arrangement of food.

The important things other than food are sitting arrangement for the guests and arrangement of the table where food is going to be served. If you’re going to arrange a dinner, you must keep your sitting and serving arrangement according to your guests. Here are few easy-to-do things that will help you with your table settings.

Things To Be Needed

For setting a table you’re going to need following things.

  • Table, must be big enough to accommodate all diners. If you don’t own a big table try to get it on rent.

  • Silver ware, glass dining ware or any other dining ware you like to serve in. but be sure all plates, glasses, eating bowls and serving bowls must be of the same design.
  • Cutlery matching or complementing your arrangements. Again, take care all spoons, forks and knives must be of same design.

Selection Of Table

Do select table according to the number of guests expected for dinner. If there is large gathering then buffet dinner is more suitable, whereas for some just family and few relatives gatherings seated dinner is more advisable. If there are children with guests, it is better to set a children’s table as well.

Table Cloth

If you’re going to use a table cloth, then use pad under it so it won’t slip from the table. Crease it properly, especially from the middle, so it goes down unwavering and straight.

For buffet style dinner table cloth should goes down to the floor whereas, in contrast, for seated dinner table cloth goes down just few inches.  If, for seated dinner, it hangs more down it will be irritating for guests.


After putting the table cloth, the next you have to do is arrange napkins. Place the folded napkins in center in every diner’s place.

Choose plane white napkins as they go with every design and style of dinner sets and cutlery. If you like to have colored or printed napkins and select the color or print of napkins according to the theme of your table and dinner set.

Dinner Plate

Place dinner plate in front of the diner’s chair. Many people like to place dinner plates when soups are salads being served while, in contrast, other prefer to put it on table as well with other dining ware. Do select dining ware’s design according to your other settings like table cloth and napkins. 

Salad Plates or Soup Bowls

Place salad plate or soup bowl to the left of the napkins or if you’re placing dinner plate on table from very start than place salad plate or soup bowl above the dinner plate. Do select serving items according to menu of dinner. Keep in mind you set everything in a manner that it must be within the diner’s reach.


Place large forks, the dinner forks, in the middle of the napkin and salad plate. You can on the diner’s left hand side. Set small salad fork left to the dinner fork. Choose cutlery either, matching or complimenting your table theme and dinning ware.


Place spoons on the right side. If you’re going to serve soup and dessert, then should be a separate spoon for both on the table. Place dessert spoons horizontally above to these settings.


Place knife on the right side. If you have poultry or meat in menu then you may also need steak’s knife as well.

Bread Plate

Place bread plate on left side above the forks and also put a bread knife on put and serve some butter on the plate with bread.


Place glasses just a little above the dinner knife, on the right hand side of the diner. Place separate glass for water, and liqueur glass and wine glass. You can use empty water glass as a napkin holder as well.

Last But One Important Thing

If possible, place name cards on every diner’s place. This is best thing you can do avoid sudden rush on table at diner serving time. 

How To Set Up A Formal Dining Table


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    • hassam profile image

      hassam 7 years ago from Pakistan

      My pleasure! :)

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

      A dinner can not be a dinner without a nice dinner table. Thanks for sharing.