How to set the table: discover all the secrets to make your table unique.

Welcome back to the interior design magazine Fillyourhomewithlove!

Getting closer to the Holiday season, we are going to start a new weekly series.

A whole section on how to set the table and many suggestions to make your dining room special for every occasion.

In particular, we will have a look at different ways of setting the table, from the most lavish to the everyday look, from the sunday roast to the quick and simple table mat.

Before looking at the various ideas and suggestions, we would like to make a short digression on bon ton and table manners.

We will also pay attention to the etiquette on how to set the table placing dishes, glasses and cutlery.

How to set the table following the advice of Fillyourhomewithlove.

How to set a formal table.

Basically, a formal and elegant table setting should focus on the quality of the single items.

It’s necessary to avoid an overuse or misuse of cutlery, glasses or useless accessories.

If you wish to deepen this topic we suggest reading our article on how to set the table according to etiquette.

Let’s start from the fundamental points on setting the table.

How many plates we need to have a proper formal setting.

The etiquette rules establish that in case there are no waiters, like most of the cases, it is possible to place a maximum of three plates, one for the entreé, one for the soup and one for the main course. 

The first plate is placed right over the charger plate. If the latter is made of silver, remember to put a doily between the two, to avoid scratches.

The soup plate is placed only if the menu involves broths or soups. 

How to set the table with unique ceramics and silverware.

Rules for the cutlery.

At the left of the plate is the fork.

First the plain one, then the one for seafood, while on the right we find the knives, rigorously with the blade facing the plate, and next to them the soup spoon,

Dessert cutlery must be placed horizontally in front of the plate, the fork with the handle facing left and the spoon facing right.

If you are serving fruit you should put a little knife next to the dessert fork.


The glasses should contain mainly wine or water.

Glasses or stem glasses must be put at the right of the plate, in front of the knife and must be at least two: one for water and one for wine.

If you are serving more than one wine you need to add other glasses, always at the right of the one for water.

If you are having champagne only, the glasses must be only two. Pay attention also to the type of glass to put on the table.

Depending on the wine, being red, white or champagne, the shape of the glass must change.

How to arrange the napkins.

The napkin can be put on the plate or beside it, avoiding useless frills. The napkin should measure (open) about 40-45 cm per side.

As we said, Etiquette doesn’t suggest any artistic folding for formal occasions.

Always remember not to put it under the silverware, but instead either on the plate or left of the forks.

If you are setting an informal table you could also go for paper napkins. Be aware though, that Etiquette doesn’t even mention this prospect.

How to decorate your table with the tones of white, black and gold.

Where to put the bread plate

On the left you may place the bread plate with the butter knife.

Always remember to put the bread only on this plate. By doing so, you will not have crumbles on the table and you will not unnecessarily spoil the tablecloth. 

Here’s a simple scheme that shows efficiently how to set the table in a formal way. It can come in handy to set everything in a matter of minutes.

How to set the table in a formal and complete way.

In the image above you find all the cutlery and dishes needed:

  1. Napkin
  2. Seafood fork
  3. Dining fork
  4. Salad fork
  5. Soup plate
  6. Dining plate
  7. Charging plate
  8. Dining knife
  9. Seafood knife
  10. Soup spoon
  11. Butter knife
  12. Bread plate
  13. Dessert spoon
  14. Cake fork
  15. Water glass
  16. White wine glass
  17. Red wine glass


Finish your setting with a fresh flower composition. Try to choose them in the same nuance of the ceramics and the glasses you have put on the table. 

Now your dining room is ready to welcome your guests.