The Basic Table Setting
- To start, think of the word FORKS (minus the R to remember how to place your utensils going left to right: F is for the fork, O is your plate (it’s shaped like an “O”), K for the knife, and S for the spoon.
- Holding your hands in front of you, touch your thumbs to your forefingers so they form a lowercase “b” (your left) and lowercase “d” (on the right). This is to remember that bread and butter go on the left, while drinks go on the right.
- The blade of your knives should always face the plate. A napkin goes to the left of the fork, or on the plate. A bread and butter knife is optional.
The Informal Table Setting
- When setting a table for an informal three-course dinner, start with the idea that the dinner plate is like the hub of a wheel. It should be the first thing set on the table.
- As with the basic setting, place the forks to the left of the plate. In this case, you’re using two forks: one for a salad or appetizer, one for the entrée. You place them left to right in the order in which you’ll use them.
- Fold the napkin, or put it inside a napkin ring, placed to the left of the forks or the center of the plate. You can also put a folded napkin under the forks.
- Again, the knife should go to the right of the plate, with the blade facing inward. If you’re serving meat, you can substitute a steak knife for a dinner knife. Keep spoons to the right of the knife, and as with the forks, arrange them in the order in which they’ll be used.
- Place drinking glasses of any kind – wine, water, juice, soft drinks – at the top right of the dinner plate.
- The salad plate can go to the left of the forks. The bread plate, with butter knife, is placed above the forks, with the knife diagonally across the plate, handle to the right, blade facing down.
- If you’re serving dessert, place the spoon or fork either horizontally above the dinner plate, or beside the plate. If putting them beside the plate, use the outside-in rule: the utensils you’ll use last should go the furthest from the plate.
- If you’re serving coffee, place the cups and saucers above and to right of the knives and spoons.
The Formal Table Setting
This table setting is for meals with more than three courses (Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a dinner party). It’s the other table settings taken to the top level.
- We start this setting with the service plate, which will act as an underplate for the first few courses before the entrée.
- Place the butter plate above the forks at the left of the plate setting.
- As with the other courses, place the dinner fork to the left of the plate, and then arrange smaller forks for the other courses to the left and right of the dinner fork, depending on when they will be used.
- Knives should follow the same rule as forks. Put the dinner knife directly to the right of the plate, and then other knives to the right of the dinner knife. If you serve soup or fruit as a first course, this spoon should go to the right of the knives.
- If you’re serving shellfish, place the oyster fork to the right of the spoons. It’s the only fork that ever goes on the right of the plate.
- Glasses go one the right, above knives and spoons. Glasses used for a specific course should be removed at the end of the course.
- Place napkins on top of the service plate, or to the left of the forks, or under the forks if you’re short on space.
If you need help preparing your table, InnStyle has a wide range of tablecloths, with coordinating napkins, runners and placemats, for every occasion.
This includes Sferra’s newest style, Squire, which is an easy-care ringspun polyester collection. This special weave yields a cloth with the feel and drape of a fresh, crisp linen. Best of all it has a stain-repellent finish which makes laundering a breeze.
Please visit the dining section on our website to view our tablecloths in many different styles, fabrics, colors and sizes. If you don’t see a style or color that fits your needs, don’t hesitate to contact InnStyle. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-800-877-4667 to speak with one of our knowledgeable sales reps who will be happy to guide you with the right choice for your table.