Put it on the Table

With the holidays quickly approaching, I figure it’s as good a time as any for a refresher on the correct way to set a table. Personally, I love whenever I get to set a table for a big event. I love hosting family and friends in my home, not to mention preparing for their arrival. I will admit, I may appear stressed when preparing to have guests over, but that’s typically more cooking related than anything else! Yes, there’s no doubt holiday prep can be a lot of work, but I truly enjoy the process of identifying the perfect table linens, folding the napkins, designing the center pieces, and making use of my special serving utensils that too often go unused. I guess I just can’t resist an opportunity to make things look nice! I know, I sound crazy, but hopefully there’s a few of you out there that can relate!

Anyways,  regardless of whether you’re like me and enjoy going a bit over the top, or just care to know the basics to get the job done, I truly believe that everyone deserves a nice table to gather at for the holidays. That’s why for this post, I want to offer some basic table setting tips worth keeping in mind!

Whether you’re going for a more casual dinner vibe or looking to give your table a more formal feel, here are 4 general rules of thumb like to live by.


  1. The fork goes on the left, while the knife and spoon go on the right. I like to remember that the word “left” has 4 letters in it (like fork) and the word “right” has five letters in it (like knife and spoon). That said, I’m open to a more fun way of memorizing that if anyone out there has something more creative in mind! 🙂
  2. Knife blades should always face in to the plate. This one seems easy to remember – less of a chance for anyone to accidentally swipe a finger across the blade if its facing in!
  3. The water glass should be placed on the right side above the point of the knife. I personally found this one to be the hardest to remember, that is until a friend of mine taught me a little trick! If you take your right hand and touch your thumb and index finger (basically you make the”okay” sign with your fingers), it makes the lower case letter “d.” So drinks go at the top of the plate on the right side. But wait, it gets better…
  4.  This same trick can be used to remember to remember where the bread plate goes! With your left hand, make the same “okay” sign by touching your thumb and index finger together… what do you get? A lower case “b” of course! The letter”b” being for bread which goes above the plate on the left side! I know… mind blown!

So what about everything else? Well that depends on what you’re looking to accomplish. In a later post, I’ll break down different ways you can set a table based on the type of occasion you are looking to host, but for this one, I want to end by discussing the importance of accessorizing your table.

Final Thought: Accessorizing is key.

I’m personally a big fan of table top accessories and for those of you out there who love to host, I highly encourage you to begin investing in some if you haven’t already done so. I’m currently obsessed with this new line my close friend, designer Hilary Matt just launched with Erin Dana Home (for anyone out there looking to stock up)! Tabletop accessories and linens can feel pricey when you feel like you need everything all at once, so make sure to plan ahead and take advantage of good deals when you see them. I once got my mom gold chargers from Hobby Lobby to spruce up her Thanksgiving table and she was amazed by how much they contributed to the overall look she was trying to achieve.

Anyways, one last note about table linens, once you have what you need, remember to take the time to starch and iron cloth napkins and table cloths before putting them out. While it may feel like a pain, a wrinkled table cloth can feel sloppy and cloth napkins often refuse to fold or stay the way you want them to when you don’t care for them properly. After all, as Charles Eames said “The details are not the details, they make the design.”

xx Linnie

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