• Cheat Sheet: How to Make Any Table Setting Look Professional

Cheat Sheet: How to Make Any Table Setting Look Professional

table setting
Does the idea of setting the table conjure up images of stuffy butlers and Downton Abbey? You’re not alone. 

We’re here to tell you that while it might feel like a chore— it’s actually super easy! 

Having a professional looking table setting isn’t necessarily about making it super fancy (although that’s certainly a bonus), it's also extremely practical. By setting the table you have everything you need in one place. No more making a mad dash to the kitchen for extra cutlery or grabbing that extra wine glass. It’s already there!

If you’re sitting down with the whole family for the first time all week or hosting a fancy feast with friends, we have some tips and tricks to make the table setting really shine. 

What’s On The Menu?

The best way to plan out your table setting is by basing it around what you’re eating. Homemade paella and white wine? Make the dish the star! If you’re more of a weekday pasta and premixed salad gal then you can pair it with a more simple table setting. 

You can even make some cheeky takeout look homemade with some serious styling. 

table styling foundation

Strong Foundation

Before you get excited by all the extra trimmings, think about the base of your table setting. We’re talking placemats

Coming in a variety of colours and shapes like the fashionable dusty clay or Art Deco-inspired pebble shape, the often forgotten placemat is what takes your table setting from boring to bold.

To really bring the look together, personalise each setting with a matching napkin. The added bonus here is that no one can tell what your dinner table (or repurposed coffee table) looks like underneath!

Plate It Up!

Your crockery will be the star of the table. Plates, side plates and even the dessert bowls are what will make the table. Whether or not you have a matching dinner set or you love to mix and match plates and side plates for a more eclectic look, your selection of crockery is important.

Placemats help create a designated “setting” for each guest. Place your dinner plate in the centre and matching side plate to the left, at around the 10 o’clock position. 

If you're going to be really fancy and serve up soup as starters (wow!), then place the soup bowl (we tend to use a cereal bowl for soup a lot) in the centre of the dinner plate. As for dessert bowls — leave off to the side and bring these out after dinner.

To finish it off, it's time to bring out your shiniest cutlery set. Place any silverware in order of use, starting from the outside in. 

dinner set table styling

It’s Wine Time

Gone are the days of keeping your finest quality glassware on the top shelf never to be used! If not now, when? We believe that crockery and glassware are designed to be enjoyed, not hidden away.  

Place your red wine or white wine glasses on the right side of the plate in the 1 o’clock position. And for the water, make it fancy with your best tumblers or highball glasses.  

Make sure you leave room for the main event on the table. Place any platters or boards you are planning to serve up on in the centre now, to ensure you have left enough room for them and avoid the awkward shuffling later. After you’ve checked, you can take them back to the kitchen ready for serving. 

If your table is on the smaller side, you always have the option of setting up a grazing table of loaded platters and boards where guests can serve themselves. If this is the option you go for, stack up the dinner plates on a bench top and your guests will take it from there. 

To make room for even more table space, keep your wine chilled and to the side in an ice bucket. That way it’s handy nearby and always ice cold.

Finishing Touches 

If you’re playing host, you’ll want background music going so put that soft jazz record on. Fill a decorative tray with fresh flowers or artfully arranged branches or light a mood setting candle. Just remember to keep any decorations below eye level so you can gaze fondly across the table.

Fill up your pitcher with icy water and fresh limes and wait for the doorbell to ring. Perhaps you’ll even sneak a sip of wine as you set up the table. Or start corralling the kids.  

After all, you’ve got one pretty impressive table setting to show off. 

table setting finishing touches