How to Set a Formal Dining Room Table in 2024

Is a special date approaching that you would like to celebrate with your close friends and family? Maybe a birthday or a wedding anniversary? When it comes to planning any kind of celebration or gathering, you have two options. You can either rent a party venue or organize it at your home.

Naturally, this is something that mainly depends on the number of people you want to invite. However, if you want to keep it small and intimate, your home is probably the best choice. After all, the guests will feel welcomed and comfortable, which should be one of your main goals when planning a party.

Nevertheless, organizing everything and ensuring that it goes smoothly and that everyone has the best time requires some time and effort on your part. Well, in this article, we will assist you with one aspect of this entire process. A lot of people don’t find setting the dining table to be important, but if you are a perfectionist, keep reading this text to learn some essential tips.

The dining table and chairs


First of all, let’s begin with something essential. Obviously, you already have a dining table in your house, but you might consider getting a new one. No, we are not talking about its style and aesthetic appearance because you will cover it with a table cloth anyway.

Instead, you should ask yourself – Will everyone has enough room? The absolute worst thing that can occur is to invite a number of people only to learn that you cannot sit all of them. Sure, you can always add extra chairs, but don’t forget about the plates, glasses, and utensils, so the chances are that this strategy won’t work.

So, what should you do? Well, the obvious thing is to start looking for a new dining table. This isn’t necessarily a large investment simply because you have multiple options, and you can explore some of them on Our advice is to go with an extension table that will easily accommodate every gathering you host in the future.

How to arrange plates and utensils?


If you have never hosted a formal dining gathering, you are probably not familiar with all the things you will need for a three-course meal. First things first, let’s talk about plates. This is a time when you should use fancy china you have been saving for a special occasion. Make sure that every plate is in the center of the chair and perfectly aligned with the one across from it. Once you have set the dinner plate, the next step is to put the salad plate in the center of it. If you are going with a traditional dinner, you will serve the salad before the main course, so this plate will be used first. On the other hand, if you will be serving salad together with the main course, guests can move it and place it on the table according to their liking.

The next step is to set the silverware. For a traditional formal dinner, you will need two forks (dinner and salad one), a table knife, and a spoon. The general rule is that the forks should be placed on the left side of the plate, while the knife and the spoon go on the right. Make sure that there is enough space between each item and also that none of them are hidden under the plate.

Finally – the napkins. These are also an essential piece, but you have more freedom when arranging them. You can simply fold them or purchase napkin rings and decorate them a bit. The same thing goes for the color. You can match them with the other decorations or go in a completely different direction.

What about glasses?


When it comes to setting the table, glasses are the final items you need. Naturally, you should start with one without the stem that will be used for water or any other non-alcoholic drink you will serve. Furthermore, you need a wine glass. If you will serve both red and white wine, then you should add glasses for both. When it comes to their place at the table, the water glass should be placed on the right, above the knife and spoon, while the wine one should be placed on its left.

Lastly, you should add a cup and saucer for tea of coffee you will serve after dinner. These should be placed on the far right, next to the spoon, and below the glasses.

Don’t forget about decorations


Finally, once you have arranged plates, utensils, and glasses, it is time to decorate the table. Firstly, you should choose a theme. You should go with the one that is in accordance with the event. For example, if you are celebrating a wedding anniversary, you should go with some basic, elegant tones, or if you are celebrating a birthday, you can add a bit of color. On the other hand, if you are planning a Christmas dinner, naturally, you should go with the red and gold decorations.

Moreover, don’t forget about the centerpiece. Once again, you can go with something traditional, such as candlesticks. However, don’t be afraid to play with colors by adding a bouquet of flowers and a unique vase. Naturally, this is another choice that you should make according to the occasion and other decoration.

Also, you can add place cards. This might seem unnecessary, but it will help you take the formality of the event to the next level. What’s more, if your guests don’t know each other, these can be a great tool that will help them find their seats and learn the name of the person they will sit next to or across from. These can be great conversation starters.


To sum up, these are some basic guidelines that you should follow when organizing a formal dinner party at your home. Obviously, you should make some changes with the plates and utensils, according to the food you will serve.

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