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How to Set a Table the Right Way

How to Set a Table the Right Way

George Steckel|May 04, 2021

Knowing how to set a table for a dinner party may appear to be a difficult task, but it is more manageable than it seems. By following a few uncomplicated table setting steps, you can set yourself up for success and then use that information as a foundation for any fancier or elegant dinner parties. So whether or not you know which side of the plate the napkin does, whether or not the white or red wine glasses go on the right or left, or if a dessert spoon is necessary, keep reading! We have all the information needed for you to set your table properly.

What is the Correct Way to Set a Dinner Table?

There are a few basic table setting rules that you should follow when preparing for dinner. Before we get started on what those rules are, it should be noted that they will vary depending on the occasion and mood of the event. If you are having a casual dinner with just family, don’t feel the need to break out your fanciest flatware and table linens. When you set the table, you can control the feel of the dinner.

First, you should always place the folded napkin to the left of the

dinner plate

or bowl. This is probably the most universal rule that is followed and one that should not be broken. 

Next is the placement of the flatware. Only include


that you plan on using. So if you aren’t serving dessert, then there is no need for a dessert spoon to be on the table. You also want to set the table in the order you will use the item, whether it be for plates or flatware. If you’re serving two courses, you’d want to place the appetizer plate on top of the dinner plate. For the

types of flatware used

, the outermost fork would be the salad fork, and the innermost fork would be the dinner fork. You work your way in as you eat.

Why Does Setting Your Dinner Table Matter?

Setting a proper table is a great way to set the mood for your meal. There are a few different ways to do this.

Casual Dinner

If it’s just your family dining or you have very close friends over, and you’re not celebrating anything, then there is no need to break out your fancy napkins and have everything already set on the dinner table. A low-key dinner, whether the meal is served buffet-style or family-style, can be done with a casual table setting. A more informal table setting includes one entree plate on the table, with a fork on top of the folded napkin to the left of the plate and the dinner knife either to the right of the fork or on the other side of the plate.

Formal Dining

If you’re hosting a formal dinner party, want to impress friends and family, or it’s your first time working for a catering company, here is everything you need to know about preparing a formal table setting.

Let’s work left to right. First, the napkin goes to the left of the main entree plate. Two forks should sit on the napkin, the smaller salad fork on the outside, and the larger dinner fork to the right, closer to the plate. Next are the

types of plates

used. With a formal table setting, you can use a charger plate, which will stay stationary throughout the whole meal. They are often used to protect the table from the plates’ heat and keep spills and stains off the table. The plate or bowls are then brought out to the table and placed upon the charger.

Next to the charger plate, you have your silverware. Based on

silverware etiquette

, the knives are right next to the plates, with the larger formal dinner knife being the closest and the smaller knife to the right of the larger knife. If soup is being served, the soup spoon will be all the way on the right.

Above the plates, to the top left, will be a bread plate with a butter knife. A dessert fork and a dessert spoon, with the fork prongs and bowl of the spoon facing inwards, are above the plate. Your glassware is to the top right of the plates. Your water or drinking glass will be closer to you, with the red or white wine glass positioned to the right of that.

Set Your Table With Well-Crafted Pieces

If you take the time to set a proper table, you should do so with beautifully made pieces. At Made In, we offer plates, bowls, serving platters, glassware, and utensil flatware that will shine night after night and help you deliver your best meals.


tabletop set

plateware is fully glazed, so it is resistant to scratches from knives. It is also oven safe so that you can keep your food at its intended temperature for a longer period of time. 



collection is made in Italy, featuring a timeless design, and is extremely balanced in the hand. The silverware is constructed from 18/10 stainless steel, and the knife is made from one piece of metal and features an 18/10 stainless steel construction for added strength. 

Lastly, our glassware is designed to bring out the best of your drinks. The most essential component to drinking wine is the glass you serve it in. Our wine glass options feature a flat bowl to aerate and fully oxygenate the wine, bringing out the intended aroma and flavors. The titanium-reinforced stems allow for easy swirling and add extra strength when cleaning the glass. And lastly, the

types of drinking glasses

we designed for wine have a thin, laser-cut rim, which evenly and correctly distributes the wine onto your tongue, enhancing the flavor profiles and complexity of your wine.

The Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, the way you set your table sets the mood for any type of dinner occasion. Whether you’re looking for the

best dinnerware sets for everyday use

, or want fancy flatware for a nice dinner party, Made In has you covered. Use these tips and tricks to impress at your next dinner party!

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