Do you know how to set a dinner table that suits the occasion? Knowing how to set the table properly is essential when hosting an elegant meal or dinner party at home. Maybe you are arranging a baby shower, a brunch with your best friends or a formal dinner party. Do not forget the importance of the perfect dinner table setting with beautiful glassware and plates. The regular dinner host should have at least three sets of table settings to choose from. Does it sound like a lot to handle – don't worry; we've got you covered.  
This article will go through our best table settings ideas for three different situations – from casual dinners with friends or family to an elegant meal that requires a fancy dinner table setting. Do you want to learn how to do a table setting for a dinner party at home? Keep reading to become an expert in impressing your guests with elegant and creative table settings.

Why are elegant table settings so important?

It could seem like an unnecessary skill to learn the correct way to position plates, glasses and cutlery. However, we know how much your guests appreciate a beautiful table setting. It signals to the guests who enjoy proper table setting that their comfort and feelings are important to you. Show them that it is a pleasure to dine with them.


Table setting ideas and guidelines

Now we will guide you through three table settings ideas – or manuals – that will show you how to set a basic table setting, a casual table setting, and a formal table setting.



A basic table setting with Madeira Dinner Plate from Reflection Copenhagen.

Basic Table Setting

A casual weekday dinner with family or a peaceful meal alone; whatever the occasion is, you can still set a lovely setting for dinnertime. For a casual event, you should stick to the basic table setting. The setting includes a placemat, cutlery, a dinner plate, a water glass, and a napkin. The following steps will help you complete the basic table setting: 

  1. Lay the placemat on the table
  2. Put the dinner plate in the middle of the placemat
  3. Place the napkin on the left side of the plate
  4. Lay the fork on the napkin
  5. Place the knife close to the right side of the plate with the blade pointing in. Then place the spoon to the right of the knife. 
  6. Place the water glass slightly above the plate and in between the plate and the cutlery.



A casual table setting with Lagos Dinner Plate and Ponta Dessert Plate from Reflection Copenhagen.

Casual table setting

The casual table setting often comes in handy when arranging an informal get-together or a laid-back dinner party. As you probably have noticed, this setting is similar to the one above. But in this one, a soup bowl and a dinner plate are now included. Worth mentioning is that you should always adapt the setting to the food that is served. If you are not having soup, you don't need a soup bowl and a spoon. The same goes for wine glasses. A white wine glass is not required if you only serve red wine. 

  1. Lay the placemat on the table 
  2. Put the dinner plate in the middle of the placemat 
  3. Place the salad plate on top of the dinner plate
  4. The soup bowl should be placed on the salad plate (if the meal starts with a soup course) 
  5. Lay the napkin to the left of the plate 
  6. Place the fork on the napkin 
  7. Place the knife closest to the right side of the plate, followed by the spoon on the right side of the knife  
  8. The water glass is placed directly above the knife 
  9. To the right and slightly above the water glass, place the wine glass or glass for another beverage of your choice 



A formal table setting with the Ponta Dessert Plate from Reflection Copenhagen.

Formal table setting

If you are hosting a fancy dinner party, an elegant dinner table setting for a three-course meal is the right way to go. You should always include chargers (presentation plates) when setting a formal dinner table. If you want to, you could also add a round placemat underneath the charger for an even more formal look. However, this is up to you, of course. Follow these steps to create a fantastic formal table setting. 

  1. Lay a tablecloth on the table
  2. Set a charger at each seat
  3. Place a soup bowl at the centre of the charger
  4. Add the bread plate to the top left of the charger
  5. The napkin is placed to the left of the charger
  6. Place the salad fork on the outside of the left side of the charger and the dinner fork on the inside.
  7. Place the knife close to the right side of the charger and then the soup spoon next to the knife.  
  8. Place the butter knife horizontally, blade facing inwards on top of the bread plate with the handle pointing to the right 
  9. The dessert spoon is placed above the charger, with the handle pointing to the right 
  10. Place the water glass directly above the knife. To the right of the water glass, place the white wine glass. The red wine glass goes slightly above the white wine glass, to the right


Formal dinner tips

Does this sound complicated, or are you getting nervous preparing for your formal dinner? Here are some tips on how to handle the different parts of this fancy dinner table setting:

After the soup course is completed, the salad plate will take the soup bowl's position. According to tradition, a charger holds the spot for the dinner plate and should be removed when the salad plates are cleared. If it sounds complicated, bring the dinner plates afterwards. You can place the dinner plate on top of the charger. 


Purchase dinner plates and other table setting pieces from Reflection Copenhagen  

At Reflection Copenhagen, you can purchase unique porcelain plates in various beautiful colours. Check out the Madeira Dinner Plate in a lovely mix of rose, marine and gold – provide a style option right at home with any table featuring modern Scandinavian décor. Match with the Elvas Dessert Plate with pink details that work beautifully upon the Madeira Dinner Plate. 

Also, check out the Lagos Dinner Plate and Ponta Dessert Plate in beautiful green. If daring enough, you can group the plates for a modern twist. 

When setting your table, you could also include some other unique crystal décor. Reflections Copenhagen offers a collection of handcrafted crystal décor, including tealight holders, candle holders, and bowls made from 100% crystal. Designed with the vision to unite exquisite material and geometric shapes to form functional art objects. Perfect if you want to add a splash of colours to your dinner table setting at home.