Advice on Holiday Place Settings

Chief Design Officer Theresa Strickland gives tips for Traditional and Casual Contemporary place settings that can be reused for any dinner party.


Table Setting with Crystal:

When setting your table or buffet, don’t be afraid to use all of the crystal that sits decorating your shelves for serving your freshly cooked food. Whether they’re fake or real, these bowls, platters, candle holders and serving dishes were made to be used. All crystal sits beautifully together, so mix up the patterns. Even better, they match almost any dinnerware, flatware or drinkware. Candlelight reflects well off of them to add to the holiday glow. Best of all, you can always wash them off and put them back up for display after your big meal.

Tip: To complement those candle holders, I always recommend cream or white taper candles.  These are a staple to stock up on any time of year.

Wrapped Place Setting:

This creation, using reversible wrapping paper, is sweet, simple and a little surprising!

  1. Measure and mark the wrapping paper in a rectangle that is 12” tall and a little over twice as wide as your dinner plate.  Cut.
  2. Place your napkin-wrapped silverware in the center of the plate, which you place in the center of the paper.  Fold the paper in on both sides to cover the plate.
  3. Tie the paper closed with ribbon or twine. Tuck in a corresponding embellishment if you’d like. A piece of candy, ornament, flower or name card is a good idea.

Proper Place Setting:

A properly set table is the canvas for a beautiful meal, so use these two “cheat sheets” to set the stage for something amazing.

Traditional Place Setting

Traditional Place Setting

  • Dinner plate: right in the middle of the placemat.
  • Left side: start with the big fork working your way out to the salad fork.
  • Napkin: place next to the salad fork or right on top of the dinner plate.
  • Right side: knife, teaspoon then soup spoon (working your way out from the plate).
  • Extra cocktail forks: next to the table spoon.
  • Dessert fork and coffee spoon: sit on the table at the top of your dinner plate.
  • Bread and butter plate: sit to the top left of the dinner plate.
  • Wine glasses: sit to the top right of the dinner plate
  • Coffee cup and/or dessert plate: sit to the top outside of the soup spoon.  (I like to keep my coffee cups with dessert plates in the kitchen until the desert is served.)

Casual Contemporary Place Setting

  • Dinner plate: right in the middle of the placemat.
  • Left side: big fork only.
  • Napkin: folded in a long rectangular form right on top of your dinner plate.  It is ok to let the napkin fall over the plate on the bottom.
  • Right side: knife only.
  • Wine glass: sit to the top right of the dinner plate. Use just one multi-purpose wine glass for any cocktail.
  • Keep your coffee cups, dessert spoons and dessert plates in the kitchen until you serve desert.  This allows you to keep the table simple and uncluttered.

Do you have any other table setting advice? Feel free to add your comments below!


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