Knowing how to properly set a table used to be common knowledge, but in today’s fast-paced and hectic world, it has become something of a party trick.
If you were not taught how to set the table as a child and have been entrusted with hosting a baby shower luncheon, an informal dinner party, or a large Thanksgiving meal, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
How to Set a Casual Table
If you’re preparing a regular meal or a weekend breakfast, you should know how to properly set a table. A placemat, cutlery (fork, knife, and spoon), a dinner plate, a water glass, and a napkin are all that is required for a casual occasion.
When requested to arrange an informal table for a get-together or a laid-back dinner party, learning how to create a casual table will come in handy. The basic table arrangement and the casual table setting are essentially identical, except for the addition of a soup bowl and a dinner plate in the casual table setting.
As a general guideline, put out only the glassware, dinnerware, and flatware you want to use. If you’re not serving a salad, all you need is a dinner fork. A red wine glass isn’t necessary if you’re merely serving white wine. If there is no soup course, leave out the soup bowl and spoon.
Chargers are typically intended for more formal place settings, but Real Simple home editor Stephanie Sisco says you may use one in a casual table setting if you prefer—just make sure it’s in a more informal style, such as raw wood.
Instructions for Setting a Casual Table
- Position the placemat on the table.
- Position the dinner plate in the center of the placemat.
- Set the salad plate atop the dinner plate.
- If you start with soup, place the soup bowl on top of the salad plate.
- To the left of the charger.
- Place the fork on the napkin to the left of the plate.
- Place the knife closest to the plate on the right, followed by the spoon.
- Place the water glass directly above the knife.
- Place the wine glass or another beverage glass to the right and slightly above the water glass.
Place individual salt and pepper shakers for each person at the top of the placemat. Otherwise, arrange them near the center of the table, or in the middle of either end of a long, rectangular table.
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