Although you may not have to lay a table for a formal dinner too often, it helps to know the layout

when attending or helping at such an event.

This diagram shows the most commonly used items and their placement. The cutlery is always placed in the order of use for each course, starting on the outside, with forks on the left, knives on the right and the dessert spoon and fork above the place setting. If you’re using a soup spoon it should always be laid on the same side as the knives. Knife blades point inwards towards the centre.

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Table laying at home is a simplified version of this – less formal and with fewer courses.

Add salt, pepper and other condiments to the table to suit the meal, plus spoons to serve them with. Heatproof mats and sufficient serving spoons need laying out if you’re dishing up at the table or letting others help themselves.


Steak knives with serrated blades can also be handy to have for easy slicing on the plate.

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