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What You Need to Know About Table Settings

What You Need to Know About Table Settings


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I recently went to dinner at a friend's home where the place setting seemed off. The fork was on the right, and the wine and water glasses on the left, above the knife and spoon. Was anything wrong? Indeed — it was all backwards. "But I'm right-handed!" he quipped when I corrected his utensil error.

Dining with a full, formal place setting is becoming less common today, even if you’re the kind of person who is always dining out. It is thus no surprise that even some of the most seasoned business people get confused when dining out, or setting the table at home.

Whether you’ve been the person who’s reached for the bread plate to your right, or taken a sip of the wine glass to your left (After all, that is where you left it, right…?), we are here to help. Click through for tips on navigating a place setting to ensure that you never embarass yourself when setting the table, mistakenly use your dessert spoon for soup, or ask, in a moment of utter confusion, what on earth that dull knife with a pointy tip is for after you ordered a tender fillet of sole.

A bit of history before we begin. In general, how a place is set at the table and where the various implements are placed is based on the traditional European order of courses. We’ll walk through where each utensil belongs — and what it’s used for, starting at the very left.

*Note: There are, of course, many variations based on what you are eating and your courses. Many American meals do not have a fish course and we start with a salad rather than end with it. In this case, you can use the following order from left to right: salad fork, dinner fork, plate, dinner knife, soup spoon (or no soup spoon if there is not a soup course). As well, feel free to follow the more formal custom of leaving off the dessert spoon and fork if you’d rather reset silverware between the dinner and dessert courses.


Setting the Table Might Be a Bygone Skill (But You Should Master It Anyway)

Photo by Cody Guilfoyle

Thanks to food delivery services, Netflix dinners, and far too many good restaurants to count, it may seem as though knowing how to set a table is akin to leaving a thorough voice mail or routinely mailing handwritten letters. But despite the thrill of modern conveniences, there is still a certain appeal to this skill. Knowing how to properly set a table can give you an excuse to throw a dinner party for some IRL interactions, which we could all use a little more of.

First things first: Clean off that central piece of furniture in your dining area that currently supports all your Amazon purchases. Second, take a few cues from MA Allen , president and lead designer of her eponymous interiors firm, on how to set a table like a pro. “ It’s important to understand how to properly set a table, with utensils set in the order of use from the outside in, so that you can tailor your tabletop in an appropriate way for the occasion,” she says.

“Guests will appreciate all of the extra details, which can be as simple as a thoughtful mix of china patterns or even hand-painted table cards that tie in with the theme. An ambience of warm lighting , good music, and comforting smells will drive everything home,” she adds. Read on for more of Allen’s advice and soon you’ll have all the tools you need to be a confident host.


Setting the Table Might Be a Bygone Skill (But You Should Master It Anyway)

Photo by Cody Guilfoyle

Thanks to food delivery services, Netflix dinners, and far too many good restaurants to count, it may seem as though knowing how to set a table is akin to leaving a thorough voice mail or routinely mailing handwritten letters. But despite the thrill of modern conveniences, there is still a certain appeal to this skill. Knowing how to properly set a table can give you an excuse to throw a dinner party for some IRL interactions, which we could all use a little more of.

First things first: Clean off that central piece of furniture in your dining area that currently supports all your Amazon purchases. Second, take a few cues from MA Allen , president and lead designer of her eponymous interiors firm, on how to set a table like a pro. “ It’s important to understand how to properly set a table, with utensils set in the order of use from the outside in, so that you can tailor your tabletop in an appropriate way for the occasion,” she says.

“Guests will appreciate all of the extra details, which can be as simple as a thoughtful mix of china patterns or even hand-painted table cards that tie in with the theme. An ambience of warm lighting , good music, and comforting smells will drive everything home,” she adds. Read on for more of Allen’s advice and soon you’ll have all the tools you need to be a confident host.


Setting the Table Might Be a Bygone Skill (But You Should Master It Anyway)

Photo by Cody Guilfoyle

Thanks to food delivery services, Netflix dinners, and far too many good restaurants to count, it may seem as though knowing how to set a table is akin to leaving a thorough voice mail or routinely mailing handwritten letters. But despite the thrill of modern conveniences, there is still a certain appeal to this skill. Knowing how to properly set a table can give you an excuse to throw a dinner party for some IRL interactions, which we could all use a little more of.

First things first: Clean off that central piece of furniture in your dining area that currently supports all your Amazon purchases. Second, take a few cues from MA Allen , president and lead designer of her eponymous interiors firm, on how to set a table like a pro. “ It’s important to understand how to properly set a table, with utensils set in the order of use from the outside in, so that you can tailor your tabletop in an appropriate way for the occasion,” she says.

“Guests will appreciate all of the extra details, which can be as simple as a thoughtful mix of china patterns or even hand-painted table cards that tie in with the theme. An ambience of warm lighting , good music, and comforting smells will drive everything home,” she adds. Read on for more of Allen’s advice and soon you’ll have all the tools you need to be a confident host.


Setting the Table Might Be a Bygone Skill (But You Should Master It Anyway)

Photo by Cody Guilfoyle

Thanks to food delivery services, Netflix dinners, and far too many good restaurants to count, it may seem as though knowing how to set a table is akin to leaving a thorough voice mail or routinely mailing handwritten letters. But despite the thrill of modern conveniences, there is still a certain appeal to this skill. Knowing how to properly set a table can give you an excuse to throw a dinner party for some IRL interactions, which we could all use a little more of.

First things first: Clean off that central piece of furniture in your dining area that currently supports all your Amazon purchases. Second, take a few cues from MA Allen , president and lead designer of her eponymous interiors firm, on how to set a table like a pro. “ It’s important to understand how to properly set a table, with utensils set in the order of use from the outside in, so that you can tailor your tabletop in an appropriate way for the occasion,” she says.

“Guests will appreciate all of the extra details, which can be as simple as a thoughtful mix of china patterns or even hand-painted table cards that tie in with the theme. An ambience of warm lighting , good music, and comforting smells will drive everything home,” she adds. Read on for more of Allen’s advice and soon you’ll have all the tools you need to be a confident host.


Setting the Table Might Be a Bygone Skill (But You Should Master It Anyway)

Photo by Cody Guilfoyle

Thanks to food delivery services, Netflix dinners, and far too many good restaurants to count, it may seem as though knowing how to set a table is akin to leaving a thorough voice mail or routinely mailing handwritten letters. But despite the thrill of modern conveniences, there is still a certain appeal to this skill. Knowing how to properly set a table can give you an excuse to throw a dinner party for some IRL interactions, which we could all use a little more of.

First things first: Clean off that central piece of furniture in your dining area that currently supports all your Amazon purchases. Second, take a few cues from MA Allen , president and lead designer of her eponymous interiors firm, on how to set a table like a pro. “ It’s important to understand how to properly set a table, with utensils set in the order of use from the outside in, so that you can tailor your tabletop in an appropriate way for the occasion,” she says.

“Guests will appreciate all of the extra details, which can be as simple as a thoughtful mix of china patterns or even hand-painted table cards that tie in with the theme. An ambience of warm lighting , good music, and comforting smells will drive everything home,” she adds. Read on for more of Allen’s advice and soon you’ll have all the tools you need to be a confident host.


Setting the Table Might Be a Bygone Skill (But You Should Master It Anyway)

Photo by Cody Guilfoyle

Thanks to food delivery services, Netflix dinners, and far too many good restaurants to count, it may seem as though knowing how to set a table is akin to leaving a thorough voice mail or routinely mailing handwritten letters. But despite the thrill of modern conveniences, there is still a certain appeal to this skill. Knowing how to properly set a table can give you an excuse to throw a dinner party for some IRL interactions, which we could all use a little more of.

First things first: Clean off that central piece of furniture in your dining area that currently supports all your Amazon purchases. Second, take a few cues from MA Allen , president and lead designer of her eponymous interiors firm, on how to set a table like a pro. “ It’s important to understand how to properly set a table, with utensils set in the order of use from the outside in, so that you can tailor your tabletop in an appropriate way for the occasion,” she says.

“Guests will appreciate all of the extra details, which can be as simple as a thoughtful mix of china patterns or even hand-painted table cards that tie in with the theme. An ambience of warm lighting , good music, and comforting smells will drive everything home,” she adds. Read on for more of Allen’s advice and soon you’ll have all the tools you need to be a confident host.


Setting the Table Might Be a Bygone Skill (But You Should Master It Anyway)

Photo by Cody Guilfoyle

Thanks to food delivery services, Netflix dinners, and far too many good restaurants to count, it may seem as though knowing how to set a table is akin to leaving a thorough voice mail or routinely mailing handwritten letters. But despite the thrill of modern conveniences, there is still a certain appeal to this skill. Knowing how to properly set a table can give you an excuse to throw a dinner party for some IRL interactions, which we could all use a little more of.

First things first: Clean off that central piece of furniture in your dining area that currently supports all your Amazon purchases. Second, take a few cues from MA Allen , president and lead designer of her eponymous interiors firm, on how to set a table like a pro. “ It’s important to understand how to properly set a table, with utensils set in the order of use from the outside in, so that you can tailor your tabletop in an appropriate way for the occasion,” she says.

“Guests will appreciate all of the extra details, which can be as simple as a thoughtful mix of china patterns or even hand-painted table cards that tie in with the theme. An ambience of warm lighting , good music, and comforting smells will drive everything home,” she adds. Read on for more of Allen’s advice and soon you’ll have all the tools you need to be a confident host.


Setting the Table Might Be a Bygone Skill (But You Should Master It Anyway)

Photo by Cody Guilfoyle

Thanks to food delivery services, Netflix dinners, and far too many good restaurants to count, it may seem as though knowing how to set a table is akin to leaving a thorough voice mail or routinely mailing handwritten letters. But despite the thrill of modern conveniences, there is still a certain appeal to this skill. Knowing how to properly set a table can give you an excuse to throw a dinner party for some IRL interactions, which we could all use a little more of.

First things first: Clean off that central piece of furniture in your dining area that currently supports all your Amazon purchases. Second, take a few cues from MA Allen , president and lead designer of her eponymous interiors firm, on how to set a table like a pro. “ It’s important to understand how to properly set a table, with utensils set in the order of use from the outside in, so that you can tailor your tabletop in an appropriate way for the occasion,” she says.

“Guests will appreciate all of the extra details, which can be as simple as a thoughtful mix of china patterns or even hand-painted table cards that tie in with the theme. An ambience of warm lighting , good music, and comforting smells will drive everything home,” she adds. Read on for more of Allen’s advice and soon you’ll have all the tools you need to be a confident host.


Setting the Table Might Be a Bygone Skill (But You Should Master It Anyway)

Photo by Cody Guilfoyle

Thanks to food delivery services, Netflix dinners, and far too many good restaurants to count, it may seem as though knowing how to set a table is akin to leaving a thorough voice mail or routinely mailing handwritten letters. But despite the thrill of modern conveniences, there is still a certain appeal to this skill. Knowing how to properly set a table can give you an excuse to throw a dinner party for some IRL interactions, which we could all use a little more of.

First things first: Clean off that central piece of furniture in your dining area that currently supports all your Amazon purchases. Second, take a few cues from MA Allen , president and lead designer of her eponymous interiors firm, on how to set a table like a pro. “ It’s important to understand how to properly set a table, with utensils set in the order of use from the outside in, so that you can tailor your tabletop in an appropriate way for the occasion,” she says.

“Guests will appreciate all of the extra details, which can be as simple as a thoughtful mix of china patterns or even hand-painted table cards that tie in with the theme. An ambience of warm lighting , good music, and comforting smells will drive everything home,” she adds. Read on for more of Allen’s advice and soon you’ll have all the tools you need to be a confident host.


Setting the Table Might Be a Bygone Skill (But You Should Master It Anyway)

Photo by Cody Guilfoyle

Thanks to food delivery services, Netflix dinners, and far too many good restaurants to count, it may seem as though knowing how to set a table is akin to leaving a thorough voice mail or routinely mailing handwritten letters. But despite the thrill of modern conveniences, there is still a certain appeal to this skill. Knowing how to properly set a table can give you an excuse to throw a dinner party for some IRL interactions, which we could all use a little more of.

First things first: Clean off that central piece of furniture in your dining area that currently supports all your Amazon purchases. Second, take a few cues from MA Allen , president and lead designer of her eponymous interiors firm, on how to set a table like a pro. “ It’s important to understand how to properly set a table, with utensils set in the order of use from the outside in, so that you can tailor your tabletop in an appropriate way for the occasion,” she says.

“Guests will appreciate all of the extra details, which can be as simple as a thoughtful mix of china patterns or even hand-painted table cards that tie in with the theme. An ambience of warm lighting , good music, and comforting smells will drive everything home,” she adds. Read on for more of Allen’s advice and soon you’ll have all the tools you need to be a confident host.


Watch the video: Table Setting American Style III