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How To Set Cutlery On A Table

20 September, 22

Setting cutlery on a table can be a little challenging for the modern host, depending on the occasion. If you are stuck on how to set cutlery on a table, be it informal for a casual dinner with friends or a formal family dinner, we've got you covered.

But first,

What Is the Basic Place Setting?

When setting a table for a meal, there are a few basic utensils that you will need. These include a dinner knife, a salad fork, a dinner fork, a soup spoon, and a teaspoon. You will also need a water glass, a wine glass, and a bread plate.

1. Forks

There are typically three forks placed at a table setting, which are used for different courses. The salad fork is smaller than the dinner fork and is placed to the left of it. The dinner fork is used for the main course.

The place setting also typically includes a dessert fork, which is smaller than the salad fork and is placed to the left of it.

2. Knives

Forks are typically placed to the left of the plate, and knives (with the cutting edge facing the plate) to the right. If there is a seafood fork and/or steak knife, they are placed above the plate or to the right of it, depending on formality.

3. Spoons

There are different types of spoons, designed for different purposes. The most common spoon is the table spoon. It is slightly larger than a teaspoon and is used for eating soup, cereal, rice and vegetables.

A dessert spoon is slightly smaller than a tablespoon and is used for eating dessert, yoghurt or fruit.

Eating soup with a teaspoon can be difficult as the bowl of the spoon is too shallow. When you need to eat soup with a teaspoon, it is best to use the side of the spoon rather than the bowl.

The Formal Place Setting

When setting a table for a formal dinner, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is the place setting. This can be a little tricky, but with our tips, you'll be a pro in no time.

Here's what you need to know about setting a formal place

i). Forks

In a formal dinner setting, there will be multiple forks placed at the left side of the plate, with the order in which they are to be used starting from the outside and working in.

The salad fork is the small fork farthest to the left, followed by the dinner fork. If there is a fish course, it will be served with a fish fork, which goes to the left of the dinner fork.

Next to the fish fork (or in its place) is a small butter knife, which is placed horizontally across the top of the dinner plate with its blade pointing to the right.

ii). Knives

For a formal place setting, there will usually be three knives placed to the right of the plate. The knife farthest from the plate is for fish, the middle knife is for meat, and the third knife, closest to the plate, is for dessert.

If you are having a multicourse meal, additional knives may be placed above the dessert knife or between the fish and meat knives.

The utensil placement should indicate what course it is for. For example, a salad fork may be placed above the plate or to the left of the dinner fork.

iii). Spoons

Spoons are placed to the right of the knives, with salad forks and soup spoons if needed. The teaspoon is placed above the knife, and dessert spoons or coffee spoons are placed to the right of the teaspoon.

The Informal Place Setting

In an informal setting, there is no need to be too precise with the placement of the cutlery. You can start by placing the knife and fork on the right side of the plate, with the fork on the inside and the knife on the outside.

The spoon can go on the right side as well, or you can put it on the far left side.

a). Forks

Most utensils are placed in the order of use, from the outside in. This is so guests can easily find what they need without having to search through a pile of silverware.

Forks are typically placed on the far left of the setting. However, if there is more than one fork, they are also arranged in order of use, from the outermost to the innermost.

In a casual setting, only the dinner fork (the largest one) is used. In a more formal setting, multiple forks may be used for soup, salad, dessert, and seafood.

b). Knives

You'll find three knives at a place setting: a dinner knife, a salad knife, and a bread knife. The dinner and salad knives are placed to the right of the plate, with the blades pointing toward the plate.

The bread knife is placed above the dinner plate or to the left of it, with the serrated edge facing up.

c). Spoons

Spoons are used for soup, cereal, dessert and beverages. Put the soup spoon to the right of the knife at the top of the place setting or directly above the plate if there is no knife.

The bowl of the spoon should face inward. Other spoons go to the right of the forks and teaspoon .

Place a teaspoon above your plate or to the right of your forks for coffee and tea. Dessert spoons are smaller than teaspoons and are used for pudding, fruit and ice cream. They can be placed above your plate or to the right of your forks.


There you have it, setting cutlery on a table is super easy if you have your basics right. With the tips above, you will be a pro in no time. Of course, for this, you will need to have premium quality cutlery that elevates your setting while still being functional.



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