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How to lay the perfect Dining Room Table.

A Guide to Properly Laying Your Dining Room Table

Creating an inviting and well-set dining table is an art that enhances the dining experience. Whether you're hosting a casual dinner with friends or a formal family gathering, knowing the correct way to lay a dining room table adds a touch of elegance to any meal.

Let's delve into the essential elements and steps to ensure your table is both stylish and functional.

Step 1: Gather Your Essentials

Before you start laying the table, gather the essentials:

  • Tablecloth or Placemats: Begin with a clean, well-pressed tablecloth or use placemats for a more casual setting.

  • Dinnerware: Place dinner plates at the centre of the place setting, followed by salad or soup bowls if needed.

  • Cutlery: Set forks on the left, and knives and spoons on the right. Dessert utensils can be placed horizontally above the plate.

  • Glassware: Arrange glasses neatly at the top right of the dinner plate.

  • Napkins: Folded napkins can be placed on top of the dinner plate or to the left of the forks.

Step 2: Place Settings

  • Dinner Plates: Position the dinner plates at the centre of each setting, about an inch from the table's edge.

  • Cutlery Settings: Forks go on the left, with the salad fork on the outside, and knives and spoons on the right. The cutting edge of the knife faces the plate.

  • Glassware: Place water glasses above the knives and slightly to the right. Wine glasses, if used, go to the right of the water glass.

  • Napkins: Choose a creative fold or a classic rectangle and place it on top of the dinner plate or to the left of the forks.

Step 3: Additional Touches

  • Salt and pepper shakers: These can be placed near the centre of the table or near the edges, depending on your preference.

  • Bread Plate and Butter Knife: If serving bread, a small bread plate with a butter knife can be placed diagonally above the forks.

  • Centrepiece: For a finishing touch, consider a centrepiece that complements the theme or season.

Step 4: Enhance with Candles

  • Candleholders: Choose elegant candleholders that complement your table setting. Place them in the centre or along the length of the table.

  • Taper or Pillar Candles: opt for unscented candles to avoid conflicting with the aroma of the food. Taper candles in holders can be placed in decorative candelabras for a formal look, while pillar candles add a cosy, casual vibe.

  • Tea lights and Votives: Scatter tea lights or votive candles in between flower arrangements for a warm, intimate glow.

Step 5: Floral Arrangements

  • Floral Centrepiece: Create a stunning floral centrepiece using a mix of seasonal flowers. Arrange them in a low vase or a decorative bowl at the centre of the table. Make sure it's not too high, allowing guests to see each other across the table.

  • Individual Bud Vases: For a more eclectic look, consider placing single stems or small bouquets in individual bud vases along the table.

  • Herbs and Greenery: Integrate aromatic herbs like rosemary or eucalyptus into the floral arrangement or use them alone for a rustic touch.

  • Scattered petals: Sprinkle flower petals around the base of the centrepiece or directly on the table for a whimsical and romantic feel.

Step 6: Final Flourishes

  • Balance heights: Ensure a harmonious visual balance by keeping the height of your floral arrangements in check. You want your guests to be able to converse without hindrance.

  • Colour coordination: Coordinate the colours of your flowers with the overall colour scheme of your table setting for a cohesive look.

  • Table Runner: If you have a long table, consider using a table runner to guide the arrangement of flowers and candles, creating a visually appealing display.


Adding candles and arranging flowers on your dining room table elevates the ambience and brings a touch of nature and warmth to your setting. Whether you prefer a grand floral centrepiece or a more understated display, the key is to strike a balance that complements your tableware and enhances the overall dining experience. Experiment with different styles and have fun creating a table that reflects your personal taste and the occasion at hand.

Look at the before and after Dining Tables below.

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