How to set the table?

One of the most frequently asked questions when we invite friends and relatives round is: "what is the right way of setting the table?"

While it is true that creativity is king in the kitchen, all good hosts must know the rules of table setting. Read this article to find out more.

Laying the tablecloth and arranging the plates, glasses, cutlery and napkins are everyday activities we don’t pay much attention to. However, this almost automatic ritual is so important that in some cases it can determine the success of a dinner party.

How to set the table: tips for different occasions

Before deciding on the menu and beginning to cook, it is a good idea to make sure you have all you need for a mise en place that is perfectly in keeping with the occasion.

How to set the table for a dinner with friends

How many times have you rustled up an off-the-cuff dinner for friends despite having little time to prepare? If you are struggling for ideas you can always count on our tips for tasty appetizers, great go-to options for last-minute finger foods. And if you want to pamper your guests with more than just food, here are some useful tips for creating an informal yet exotic atmosphere. Arrange cushions around a low table as is customary in the Far East. Choose a fabric tablecloth in seasonal colors - ideally pastels in the spring and cool but bold shades in the winter - paired with an assortment of tone on tone glasses that also match the pitchers and plates. In the summer you can replicate this mise-en-place outside, making sure to use waterproof fabrics for the floor cushions. In no time you will have a stylish looking but not overly ornate table. If you opt for fresh flowers at the table, another nice touch is to distribute them among your guests before saying goodbye.

How to set the Christmas table

table set for Christmas

During the festive season, with the Christmas tree and the nativity the house is usually decked in lights and decorations. This being the case, all you’ll need to do is add a few little details to the table to strike the right balance between the glitz that befits the most eagerly-awaited holiday of the year and good taste. Gold underplates on a red tablecloth are as Christmassy as it gets. Your Christmas Eve or Christmas Day table should also have a nice balance between themed centerpieces and candles or small lanterns positioned at the two heads of the table. Using gold cutlery is an excellent idea. And don't forget the personalized place cards, delightful mementos to take home at the end of the day.

How to set the table in an attractive way

Adding a vase of dried or fresh flowers to the table immediately adds a romantic touch to dinners for two. If you want to impress your other half, you can also find out how to organize an ‘apericena’ with our products and follow these simple indications. Arrange all the plates on the table already so you don't have to get up during the meal and use strings of LEDs and small candles according to taste. When it gets dark, the atmosphere will be magical. And don't worry if a drop of Extra Virgin Olive Oil falls on the tablecloth while you are drizzling it over a piece of bread: thanks to the tablecloth cover it won’t reach the table. If you should stain your clothes, however, there is no need to fret: just follow our advice on how to remove oil stains.

How to set the table properly?

While it is certainly true that there are set rules when it comes to table etiquette, it is equally true that knowing them enables us to adapt them to our own tastes. A temptation we can fall into only if we are clear about a few simple rules.

Cutlery, plates and glasses on set table

How to set the table: cutlery

Forks should be placed on the left and knives on the right, with the sharp edge facing the plate. The spoon should be placed on the right along with the knives only if the menu includes soups or broths. Cutlery should be arranged in the order it will be used: starter cutlery furthest from the plate followed in order by the rest of the cutlery that will be used. Dessert cutlery should be placed on top of the plate, but it is also good practice to bring it to the table directly when serving dessert. Never overdo the amount of cutlery: less is more, also at the dinner table.

How to set the table: glasses

Glasses should always be placed above the cutlery, on the right, in ascending order of size. One for water and one for wine. Flutes are a must if you are serving bubbly. If you want to break the mold, the good news is that setting the table with mismatching elements is an increasingly popular trend: the important thing is that the combinations are made carefully.

How to set the table: tablecloth and napkins

It is good practice to first lay a table protector, which muffles the noise of dishes placed on the table and protects it from stains. The actual tablecloth should be clean and nicely ironed. The standard drop is 25 cm per side but on more formal occasions you can also increase it by about ten centimeters. As for napkins, they can be rectangular or triangular: the important thing is that they are placed on the left or, on special occasions, in the center of the plate.

Remember that setting the table takes the same amount of time, whether you set it well or badly, so memorize these simple rules and don’t forget to add your own personal touch.