Entertaining 101: How to Arrange a Proper Place Setting

ModCloth Table Setting Tips

Now that you’ve scored some vintage tableware from our new kitchen-themed vintage collection, Kitchen Caboodle, have you given much thought as to how you’ll show your new treasures off?

Today, we’ll show you how to arrange a proper place setting. We’ll share our decor tips for two tabletop styles – one geared towards casual gatherings, and one for dressy dinners – so your table-setting is always up to snuff!

A Low-Key Luncheon

Showcase your cute and casual tabletop style with kitschy kitchen accessories!

ModCloth's Entertaining Tips - How to Arrange a Proper Place Setting

Traditionally, for informal gatherings, fewer utensils are used and serving dishes are allowed to stay on the table. Glasses, knives, and spoons should be placed to the right of the plate. Butter plates, salad plates, and forks sit on the left of the plate.

When setting the table, make sure that place settings are evenly spaced, to give your guests ample elbow room;  look to create about two feet of space on either side. Once you’ve mastered that, consider these ideas:

Keep it Simple For a casual breakfast, brunch, or lunch, accessorize the table sparingly to create an easy, relaxed environment. Keep it simple by using only the utensils and serving accessories you need, and no more, to keep guests from feeling crowded.

Mix and Match  Delight your guests by mixing and matching old and new tableware. Try serving water in prettily patterned vintage glasses – we used the Vintage Coastal Toast Glass Set — while presenting your delish dishes on modern melamine plates, such as the Eclectic Taste Plate Set.

Add Flair – Decorate your table with fun and functional touches, such as a quirky vintage salt and pepper shaker set such as our Vintage Fishing for Condiments Shaker Set, or an eye-catching pitcher such as the Lime for a Refill Pitcher.

Fanciful Feast

Impress your guests with a classic and proper place setting that’s anything but stuffy. 

ModCloth's Entertaining Tips - How to Arrange a Proper Place Setting

For a more opulent affair, opt for a little extravagance in your table-setting. Here are the rules: Napkins are placed to the left of the forks, and all utensils are arranged by order of use starting from the outside (soup spoon and salad fork, then dinner fork and dinner spoon and/or knife). Glasses are placed to the right, above the utensils, and are also placed in order of use: white wine, red wine, and water glass. The bread plate is set to the left, above the salad and dinner forks, and if dessert will be served — you did plan for dessert, right? — the dessert fork and spoon may be placed above the plate.

Formal, Not Frumpy  Just because the place setting is formal doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun it! Try mixing and matching your flatware from two different sets — we used the Mix and Munch Flatware Set in Ocean and the A Sweet Twist Flatware Set — to achieve an artfully mismatched effect.

A Touch of Glass – Similarly, try serving up different beverages from brightly-colored glassware, like the Royal Chalice Glass Set, to add a little oomph to your setting.

Team Layer – Layers aren’t just for your clothes! Try tucking a brightly colored paper napkin inside a neutral cloth napkin for a pop of unexpected color.

Are you planning any fun or formal events? What’s you favorite way to to make your tabletop terrific?

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About Julie O.

A lover of all things vintage and vintage-inspired, Julie bought her first 1950s frock in the fifth grade. Since then, Julie has become a self-described connoisseur of vintage and thrift shopping, which she shares on her blog, Orchid Grey. When she’s not scouring the racks for the perfect vintage skirt, this native New Englander can be found deftly navigating the slopes of a ski mountain, taking road-trips to the beach, and exploring new places with a vintage camera in her hand.

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One Response to Entertaining 101: How to Arrange a Proper Place Setting

  1. Becky 09/05/2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Wow, I would have never thought of it like this, thanks for this post! :)

    xo Becky

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