I’m sure you’ve read plenty of guides about designing your house in a way which will strike all of your guests with a thunderbolt of envy.
However, once they enter your house, you have to know how to properly receive them – hence, today I’ll tell you all there is to know about the table setting nuances.
Why is it so important?
Having a stylish and impressive house is not everything you should aim for – while of course, the house itself has the highest “wow” factor, it’s important that you’re able to upkeep the charm even after your guests get used to the idea of your house being just awesome
Most typically, once you’re done with giving your guests a tour around the house, you’ll want to serve up a dinner, once the emotions get a bit lower and the atmosphere becomes a bit more casual. Even if the visit is less formal, eating a dinner together is the norm when you receive anyone in your house. And this is where it gets tricky – if you’re unable to set your table in a perfect way, your guests might very well think that it’s the interior designers who are behind the look of your house, and not your own taste.
Don’t let this happen, if you want to truly impress your guests, it’s not only the art of design that you have to master but also the possible ways of setting a table – but don’t worry, it’s not all that hard once you get a hang of it. Let’s see, what are your options?
From head to toe – the best way of setting the plates.
All the different shapes and sizes of your plates might cause some confusion, both for your and for you guests, but fear not, I’ve got a stylish and convenient tip for you – set your in a natural order, placing the largest on the bottom, and the smallest on the top.
This will not only create a pretty fancy, restaurant-like look but also makes the order in which you serve your food more intuitive – all you have to do is continue down the line of your plates. First, serve the food which is supposed to be eaten in the first available vessel, and continue downwards.
Additionally, this makes the dinner go in a smooth and elegant fashion – you don’t have to wander around the dining room, removing the dirty plates and serving new ones. All you have to do is remove the used ones, and you’re ready to serve the next dish because the plate below is clean and ready for use. That’s half the walking distance you’d have to go otherwise. Plus, with less walking around, the dinner is generally more pleasant, as there is not nearly as much chaos.
Don’t be boring with your silverware
If you’ve ever been in a restaurant which is at least two stars better than your average fast food joint, I’m quite sure you’ve seen the magic they work on the silverware – it always comes wrapped together with an elegant ribbon or something like that, or wrapped in the table linens. Anything they’ve done with it, you can mimic when receiving your guests – but just in case, I’ll still list some of the most popular ways of preparing the silverware.
There are plenty of ways of preparing your silverware, which will make your guests feel as if they’ve entered a fancy and rich restaurant, and not just the house of their neighbors. If you want to really impress them, it’s time to get creative.
Think outside the box, decorate your silverware with little flowers, use napkins which are cohesive in style, anything – just don’t be boring.
Okay, it’s all fine and dandy, but you might be wondering how the hell do you actually set the silverware on your table? Worry not, I’ll try to explain it really fast.
Everything depends on how many dishes will you serving during the dinner because that’s what indicates the placement of your silverware on the table. Since, according to the previous tip, you’re supposed to stack all the plates in the same spot, I’ll try to tell you how to set them on the table from left to right.
- Four- piece setting – if your dinner starts with a salad, after which you serve the main course and then finish it with coffee, then there will be a salad fork and the main fork on the left side of your plates, then the knife and the teaspoon to the right.
- Five- piece setting – this means the dinner also includes a soup, so from left to right it will be the main fork, salad fork, plates, knife, teaspoon, main spoon.
- Six- piece setting – six silverware pieces mean you will not be having a soup, with a first course and a dessert instead of it, so let’s do it again from left to right. You start with the main fork, salad fork, plates, knife, and a smaller knife. In this setting, we add to small elements in front of your plates, which is an even smaller, dessert fork and a small dessert spoon. The dessert fork should be pointing to your right, and be closer to your plate, and then the dessert spoon should be pointing to the left.
- Seven- piece setting – if your dinner is to be a truly impressive one, it combines all the courses, dessert, and a soup – which means seven elements of silverware, which are to be set, from left to right, like that: main fork, salad fork, plates, knife, salad knife, soup spoon, and now in front of your plates – the smaller, dessert fork and dessert soup just like in the case of a six-piece setting.
Phew, we’re done here – now you know how to set up your silverware when guests arrive, just remember, this was written from left to right, so remember about that and follow it to the letter if you don’t want to commit any faux pas.
Table linens will make or break your table
Okay, it’s just a saying, they won’t actually break your table, but they will be the deciding factor in whether will you impress your guests, or leave a bland aftertaste. If you want to receive your guests in style, that’s another thing to master – how to choose and prepare your linens?
First things first, though – I’d like to add one thing. Your table linens are usually your least expensive element of table setting, so keeping a few spare sets might be worthy of consideration. How about a set for each season, or for special events such as holidays? Certainly, not only will you impress your guests even more, but also blow a breath of fresh air into your house, every once in a while.
Now, when it comes to table linens, you should decide whether you want to use a runner, some tablecloths, napkins or placemats – of course, some of these you can use together.
- Tablecloths – used to be popular, but not so much anymore. You could consider them if you want to diversify the look of your table, by using the tablecloth together with something else, like the runner. In my opinion, a tablecloth is a bit boring these days.
- Placemats – they are quite cool, even more so because we’ve agreed on using such a method of placing your plates. Throwing a placemat under the plates will further enhance the visual effect of such placement. Of course, just as any table linen, they come in plenty of colors, shapes, and styles, so pick ones cohesive with the rest of your design.
- Table runners – very popular at the moment, proving a modern and clean look to your table. They are good at adding colors or patterns to your table, and it won’t feel empty with them. They are also a great option if you want to show off a luxurious or stylish material from which your table has been made.
- Napkins – of course, you can never have enough of napkins. Well, wait, you can – don’t clutter your table with them, but as long as you use common sense, it will be alright. Don’t think about them only as a practical necessity on your table – you can use them to add color, patterns, texture, everything.
Add something interesting to your table
Don’t be boring – this is the ultimate rule, not only in the interior design or table setting but also in life. Frankly speaking, a table full of food can be boring. Don’t get me wrong, I love food as much as the next person does, but guests want to see something more than just the pork chops. Try to add some drama through accessories.
These can be anything – from flowers to candle holders, wreaths during the holidays, little decorative figurines. Anything, really, just don’t be boring.
One important thing to remember, when you’re creating a focal point on your table, is that such accessories should be planned with some free space between them and the dishes – you don’t want your flowers to dip in the sauce, right? Don’t use anything too big too, or else you won’t have any space for placing the dishes themselves.
Spice up the atmosphere with fancy candles
If you want to add some drama or romance to the meal, there is nothing better than putting some fancy candles on the table – they are fairly inexpensive, and provide the best bang-for-your-buck when it comes to the table setting. However, you have to remember about a few important aspects:
- Safety measures – we don’t want to start any fires, except for the fires of joy when your guests try these fancy meals, right? Because of that, leave a lot of free space between the candles and other accessories on the table, such as your flowers. Oh, and place your candles to the center of your table – we don’t want to burn that fancy dress of your friend when she’s reaching for her glass, do we now?
- Unscented candles – while scented candles are what instantly comes to my mind when talking about creating an intimate and mysterious atmosphere, it’s best if you use them after the dinner, and not during it – their scent, combined with the aroma of your food, can be just a bit too much. During the dinner use unscented candles, and save the scented ones for later, when you invite your guests to the living room. Even then, don’t use candles of a very strong smell, if you’ve just eaten, or else it might be nauseating.
How to set the glasses on your table?
Glasses are an important element of your table setting not only because of their practical aspect but also from an aesthetical point of view. Using more than one glass on the table is a pretty simple way of impressing your guests, and fairly inexpensive, too. However, to get the effect right, you’ve got to know how to do it properly.
In the case of a not so spectacular dinner, all you need are two glasses – a wine glass, and a water goblet. In this case, you place the water goblet about one inch ahead of your dinner knife, and the wine glass should be placed to the right side of the water goblet, half an inch lower, with almost no free space between them.
Okay, so much for a simple dinner, but what if you’re trying to throw a spectacular formal dinner for your boss?
- Triangle arrangement – in this case, you place the dessert glass ahead of the other glasses, creating the highest point with it – the water goblet goes to the lower left of it, and then the glasses for the red and white wine are to be placed on the lower right side. Sherry glass is placed right of the white wine when you will be serving it.
- Diamond shape – similarly to the previous arrangement, but in this case the glass for the white wine should be placed on the lower left side of your red wine glass, and you add a sherry glass, on the lower left of the glass for white wine.
That’s all I can tell you about setting your table in a way which will impress all of your guests, be it an informal dinner with your neighbors, or a formal meeting with your boss. Wish you best of luck, and if there’s anything I’ve missed, remind me in the comments!