Everyone loves a good dinner party, whether it's an impromptu family gathering or a formal meal for friends or colleagues. Planning what to serve, shopping for ingredients, choosing wine and cooking are all time-consuming. Considering the table setting can often take second place to other preparations, yet it's a detail that you shouldn't overlook. A beautifully set table really can make a difference and if you follow our simple tips, you're guaranteed to get it right.

Lind DNA placemats

Setting the table for an informal dinner

A basic setting is appropriate for almost any casual gathering. Just follow these simple steps and your table will look balanced and stylish.

Placemats aren't essential but can provide a nice starting point, see our range of recycled leather placemats from Lind DNA. Place them at even intervals, ensuring that the table is large enough for the number of guests.

Place a dinner plate in the centre of each placemat. Everything else will be arranged around it and you can add or remove items according to your meal plan.

Cutlery is positioned in the order that it will be used:

Fork - to the left of the plate.

Knife - to the right with the cutting edge facing towards the plate.

Spoon - to the right of the knife.

Water glasses go directly above the knife.  Add napkins, either on plates or underneath forks.

If you're having salad, place salad forks to the left of dinner forks. If you aren't serving salad but intend to have cake-type desserts, simply place the extra fork to the right of the dinner fork instead. 

Formal dinner settings
Everything should be perfect for formal dinner parties. Linens should be starched and pressed, while silverware, glassware and crystal should gleam. However, all your hard work will amount to nothing if you don't know how to set the table correctly.

How to set a table for any occasion

Start with the basics:
If you're using chargers (which are service plates that act as a base for soup bowls, salad plates, and for the main course) placemats aren't necessary, just lay the dinner plate on top.

Soup bowls are then centred on top of each dinner plate.

Place cutlery as you would for an informal dinner, adding a soup spoon to the right of the beverage spoon. Salad and dessert forks are placed to the right or left of the fork in the same way as you would for a more casual gathering. Dessert spoons are laid horizontally above plates. 

Bread or salad plates are placed to the left of the dinner fork. Try positioning bread and butter plates slightly above the fork with the knife or spreader laid across. 

Cups and saucers are always to the right and slightly above the spoons with cup handles facing to the right. Glasses should be positioned slightly above the cup and saucer - water glasses closest to the guest with white and red wine glasses to the right.

If you're having a centrepiece such as a floral arrangement, make sure that it's not too high. You want your guests to be able to see over it while they are making conversation.  For inspirational center peices try our range cermaic vases by Kahler.

Kahelr Omaggio Vases