A Cleaner World Blog
How to Properly Set the Dinner Table
When I was growing up, my parents, my sister, and I, even though both my parents worked full-time, sat down at the dinner table and ate dinner together almost every night of the week, consistently. In our household, we are lucky if we eat dinner together as a family two to three nights a week. That’s because Matt works late most nights, and Gray is playing soccer, doing fencing, and participating in scouts.
Most nights, our dinner is served at the kitchen counter where I hand those in attendance a filled plate, napkin, fork, and a glass a water. So, when we have dinner guests or my mom asks me to set the table at their house, I have to stop and think. Thankfully, we’re not so formal that I need to remember things like where to put the fish knife and the sherry glass.
Diagram of an Informal Place Setting
- To determine proper spacing. Know that elbow room requires a minimum of 15” between place settings.
- If an uneven number of people are being seated, the odd-numbered place settings are laid opposite the middle of the even-numbered place settings.
- When setting the table, hold the flatware in the area between the handle and the eating end to avoid leaving fingerprints.
- When placing the flatware on the table, the bottom edge should be aligned with the bottom rim of the place, about 1” from the edge of the table.
- Place knives with blades facing the plate.
- Use care not to hide a utensil under the rim of the plate.
- Never place over three pieces of flatware on either side of the plate at one time unless it’s forks if an oyster fork is used.
- Place the water glass approximately 1” from the tip of the dinner knife.
- Before guests arrive, have butter waiting on butter plates, fill glasses with water, and have the wine ready to be served.