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The Right Way To Set A Table


Setting the table correctly can be a little overwhelming. It can be hard to keep it all straight! Which way does the knife face? Does the water glass go on the left or the right? Does the spoon go by the fork or at the top? Luckily, once you’ve got them down, the rules aren’t really all that complicated. We’re here with some simple tools and tricks to help you remember it all.


While there are different rules for place settings when it comes to levels of formality, there are some basic tenets that always apply. They are:

Utensils are set in order of use from the outside in.
Forks (almost always) sit to the left of the plate, while knives and spoons go to the right.
Water glass sits above the knife.
Knife blades face in the direction of the plate.
Only set utensils for what you’re serving. No soup? Don’t need to set out a spoon.


A basic table setting is what you would use for a casual dinner at home on an average weeknight. Not fussy, and pretty simple. The setting consists of:

A dinner plate in the center with a napkin to the left.
A fork to the left of the plate.
A knife and a spoon (if needed) to the right.
A water glass above the knife, at the top right of the plate.
An easy way to remember their placement is the word “FORKS.” The order from left to right goes: F for fork, O for the shape of the plate, (just forget about R…) K for knives, and S for spoons.
The napkin can also be placed directly on the plate, and the spoon can be left out if you’re not serving anything that you’ll need it for.
Informal Setting

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