How to Set a (Modern) Table

The Everyday Dinner

  1. Set out placemats; if you feel fancy, a table runner adds a little extra. 
  2. The dinner plate goes in the center of the placemat.
  3. Lay a fork to the left of the dinner plate and a knife to the right. If the menu calls for a spoon, lay it to the knife's right. 
  4. Set the water (or Barbet) glass in the top right corner (above the knife).
  5. The napkin can be placed on the dinner plate or beneath the fork. It is always fun to mix and match napkins for a splash of colour, so don’t stress if you don’t have a full matching set.

Not-Your-Grandmother's Casual Party 

Knowing how to set a casual table will come in handy when you're tasked with knowing how to set an informal table for a get-together or a laid-back dinner party. 

It comes down to what you actually need vs. what is traditionally "required". If you're not serving a salad, you don't need a salad fork. If you're only serving white wine or a mixed drink, you need another glsss. And if it is the middle of summer and soup is not on the menu,  skip the soup bowl and spoon. However, it's a good idea to set out steak knives if you're serving steak or any other large piece of meat.

While chargers usually fall under a "formal" table setting, they can add an extra element of texture and interest while also keeping the casual vibe of the party. 


    • Traditionally, you have 3 glasses; a water glass, a white wine glass, and a red wine glass.
    • We veer from traditional glassware as whatever you drink deserves a place on the table (Barbet should have its designated area..)

    Casual tables are ideal for parties of eight or less, explains Tracey Rezak, creative director of Cleveland-based Pomp Parties. “Just because it’s small doesn’t mean you can’t go all out on design, details, and style,” she adds. “The great thing about a casual table is its emphasis on intimacy and enjoying the people you’re with.” Best of all, a smaller group allows ample opportunity to create intricate place settings. 

    Set the dinner plate in the center. If you are serving salad, set the salad plate on the dinner plate. 

    Placemat / Dinner plate / Salad Plate / Soup Bowl

    Have fun and experiment with design. Think creatively when it comes to flatware and napkins. Tie them with ribbon, tie the napkin in a not and lay it across the plate, and add a eucalyptus leaf to add texture; anything goes.

    Set the Barbet glass (or water glass) in the top right corner, above the knife, and then another glass (cocktail/wine/anything goes) to the right of the water glass. Add unique and coloured glassware to add interest. 


    set a table