I don’t know about you all, but there’s nothing like a trip to the mall with my girlfriends to invigorate me when I’m in a slump. The other day I was shopping with my friend at Old Time Pottery for new diningware when she mentioned she was nervous about hosting her first Thanksgiving because she didn’t know how to properly set a table and wanted to impress her in-laws.
I’m lucky because that was one of the skills my grandma taught me growing up. In fact, every time I went to her house she had me set the table and we ALWAYS went all out. For every dinner we used a bread plate (even if we didn’t have bread), a dinner plate, a salad bowl, two forks, a knife, a spoon (even if we didn’t have anything that needed a spoon), and 2 glasses – one for water and one for a “fun” drink.
But my friend didn’t have someone that drilled proper place setting into her head. I have to admit – I was a little surprised because it’s second nature to me, but as I asked more of my friends about it I realized it’s a common insecurity among hosts. Because I love you all, I wanted to help ease your holiday hosting nerves by showing you exactly how to set a table!
The first thing to remember is that you want everything to bring the focus back to the dinner plate. Even if you don’t use all of the utensils and dishes I do, that’s the most important part of any impressive place setting!
Here are the steps I follow:
The first thing I do is put the dinner plate in the center so it is directly in front of where your guest will be sitting, and then place the bread plate on top of it. This is how I learned to set the table growing up due to not having a ton of space on the table, but you can also place the bread plate to the top left of the dinner plate, about 1 inch away. I also prefer to fold my napkin into a square and place part of it under the plate and the rest under where the silverware will go. Depending on what kind of napkins you have this is definitely a place to express some creativity!
Next, place the salad bowl on top of the bread plate. I personally love placing all of the dishes on top of each other to combine the different colors (you can totally tell I’m going for a harvest theme here).
For the glasses, you want to ensure the water glass is farther from your guest’s seat and the wine or other beverage is closer. Because most people are right handed, keep the glassware on the top right of the plates for easy access.
The most confusing part of setting a table tends to be figuring out where the silverware goes. The easiest tip my grandma taught me is that all silverware is placed on the table in order of its use, with the pieces to be used first farthest from the plate. Forks go on the left and knives/spoons go on the right. For my place setting we have salad fork, dinner fork, dinner knife, and spoon.
And there you have it! An easy, breezy, place setting that is sure to impress any of your guests.