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Arranging Dinner Plates on Your Dining Table: Complete Guide

Arranging Dinner Plates on Your Dining Table: Complete Guide

If you eat spaghetti with a shrimp fork, why do you need ten spoon types, two glasses, and four plates? Formal dinner settings can seem silly when you can get the job done with just a plate, spoon, and water.

For daily dinners with your family, a basic setting works just fine. It is necessary to set the tableware properly when hosting a luncheon, celebrating a function, or a formal dinner party.

Do you ever feel like Mia from Princess Diaries in those situations? Maybe Vivian Ward from Pretty Woman? But setting your dinner plates on the table is not as difficult as it seems. This article provides you with many ideas on arranging your plates, cups and spoons on the dining table in a right yet stylish way. Explore beautiful collections of dinnerware and kitchenware.

Things Required for Setting Your Dining Table

Setting a basic dinner table requires several things before we can get into types and placements.

You'll need plates, cutlery, and drinking glasses as a starting point. Three types of plates are typically included in a dinner set. Dinner plates are the largest, followed by salad plates, and bread plates.

A soup bowl is usually included with dinner sets. Besides these basics, wine glasses, champagne glasses, water glasses, placemats, and place cards are also needed. Try some new trendy collections from @home today.

Dining tableware can be arranged into Five types based on your preference and the occasion- 

  • Basic Setting
  • Informal Setting
  • Formal Setting
  • Five Course Setting
  • Buffet Setting.

Learn how to set the perfect table for every occasion when you are hosting dinner at home.

Basic Setting: Dinner Plate Arrangement

For everyday lunches or dinners that primarily involve your family, basic settings are ideal. If you are short on time, they are also perfect for casual events. Placemats, a dinner plate, cutlery (fork, knife, and spoon), a water glass, and napkins comprise this table setting.

  • Lay out the tablemat
  • Put the dinner plate on the placemat and centre it
  • Place the napkin on the left of the dinner plate. On top of the folded napkin, you should place the dinner fork
  • Place the knife and spoon on the right side of the dinner plate
  • Maintain symmetry by levelling all cutlery's bottoms
  • Place the water glass at the 1 o'clock position slightly above the dinner plate or between the utensils.

Informal Setting: Dinner Plate Arrangement

For small parties or friends' reunions, a casual table setting is essential.

  • Add the below extras after you set the basic table:
  • Put a decorative napkin (rather than a paper napkin) under the fork instead of a paper one
  • To the right of the knife, place a soup spoon
  • It's optional to use a salad fork, but if you do, place it outside the dinner fork on the left side of the plate
  • To the right of the water glass, place the wine glass over the knife and spoon. Glassware without stems is acceptable.

Formal Setting: Dinner Plate Arrangement

Is your kid’s birthday approaching, and are you planning a big dinner party? Then, you must learn how to set a formal table. A traditional table setting is usually done at big parties, functions, and events.

  • Place table mats on the table
  • Put a charger plate on each seat
  • On the charger plate, place a soup bowl
  • Invert the bread plate on top of the charger plate
  • Place the salad fork on the outside of the charger and the dinner fork on the inside
  • Place the soup spoon next to the knife on the right side of the charger plate 
  • In the top left corner, place a butter knife with the blade pointing inwards
  • Immediately above the knife, place the water glass. Place the red wine glass to the right of the water glass slightly upward, and the white wine glass to the right of the red wine glass slightly downward.
  • Above the teaspoon is where you should place salt and pepper shakers
  • Placards are placed above teaspoons. These aren't necessary, however.

Five Coarse Setting: Dinner Plate Arrangement

Set the table for a five-course meal that typically includes soup, salad, starters, main course, and dessert.

In addition to the formal place setting described above, you should:

  • In front of the white wine glass, place a champagne flute
  • In front of the red wine glass, place a sherry glass
  • You should place a fish knife between the dinner knife and soup spoon if you are serving a fish course
  • Place a name card on each place setting to complete the look.

Buffet Table Setting: Dinner Plate Arrangement

Buffets are a convenient and efficient way to serve many guests at potlucks or other events. Using the following guidelines, you can make your buffet setup stress-free:

Consider the traffic flow:

  • Separate the food and drinks from the seating areas to avoid traffic jams
  • Organise a beverage station complete with drinkware, ice, cocktail napkins, straws, etc
  • At the food table, place plates and napkins at the beginning and cutlery at the end
  • Separate an area for finger foods, snacks and cheese plates, etc.

Organise the buffet food as follows:

  • The hottest plates should be served first, followed by the coldest
  • Dishes should be kept warm using chafing dishes(Without them, they won't stay hot enough)
  • To keep things chilled, use ice
  • Provide enough space for guests to set their plates down in front of the serving dishes

You can layer dishes on multiple levels by repurposing cake stands or placing serving dishes on top of sturdy objects. As well as pleasing the eye, this method also helps guests see their choices. To accompany each item, write a short description. You should indicate which dishes are vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free, etc., if you are expecting guests with dietary restrictions.

Put condiments, sauces, and other dips next to the dishes they go with. Make sure the seating areas have enough napkins. You can use disposable tablecloths if your food and drink stations are set up on plastic or folding tables, and it not only disguises the table surface but also makes cleaning up a lot easier.


Plan your party earlier, so you can select the one type of arrangement from the above five. And make sure you have all the accessories relevant to the setting. Explore the collections of kitchenware and dining utensils from @home today!

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