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How To Set a Table

5 Things to Remember When Setting a Table

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A table that is set properly is a wonderful start to a pleasurable family meal, whether it is a holiday meal or just Wednesday night dinner. Therefore, learning how to set the table is an important undertaking for kids and teens. Here are five things to remember when setting the basic family dinner table:

Know what you will need before you start setting up. Get a count of how many people you will be having and find out what you will be serving so that you know how many and what everyone will need to use at the meal. Determine if you will be using a tablecloth, place mats or both. Place these things on the table and then gather everything else - utensils, etc. - and place it on the table.

Placement of basic dinner items is important. Place the dinner plates one inch from the edge of the table, with the fork on the left side of the dinner plate. The knife goes on the right side of the plate, blade inward; the spoon to the right of the knife. All of these utensils should be one inch from the table’s edge. Should there be a need for other forks or spoons for other dishes, place these next to their counterparts – spoons next to spoons and forks next to forks. Glassware is above the plate, on the side of the knife and spoon. All else should be placed on the table where is can be reached and where it will most likely be used.

Don't skimp! Additional dishes and flatware should be used if there is the slightest chance it is needed. What is a couple of more dishes for the dishwasher? Put out the salad fork and bowl/plate if you are serving salad. This holds true whether you are serving company or not.

Make the table look inviting with added flare. One way this can be done is by using the napkin as part of the decorations. Napkin rings, or folded cloth napkins, add a pleasing touch to each dinner place setting. A simple centerpiece can make a table setting. Place cards are a superb touch when you have company or at a holiday meal - as are charms added to wine glasses or water goblets. Kids and teens love to make these things, employ their help.

Give yourself time to remember the little things. Do not put table setting last on the list of things to do when preparing your meal. You’ll need time to remember everything and you will not be able to do that if you are rushing around while people are standing there waiting to sit. Being prepared for little spills and mishaps is also a good idea when setting the family table.

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