Table Setting 101: For Casual to Formal Dinners at Home

Whether it’s a casual housewarming party or a festive dinner, it’s always nice to arrive at a dining table that’s beautifully set and decorated. Usually, set tables are seen in a formal setting at a posh restaurant. Even if its a casual meal, take the liberty to create a thoughtful table setting for your guests! The tablescape sets the tone and ambience of the meal, so don’t be afraid to be creative and set the table with what you have on hand! 

To get some ideas as a start, follow this simple guideline to set your dining table in Singapore from casual afternoon brunch to a formal dinner party at your home. 

Here are what you need when setting a table: 

  • Placemat
  • Utensils (Fork, knives, spoons)
  • Bowls and plates
  • Glass or cups
  • Napkins

Only set what you use. So if you are not having salad, skip placing that salad fork on the table. If there is no soup served, skip the soup spoon. This will not leave your guests confused about which utensils they should use. 

Another rule of thumb when deciding the placement of your utensils is to arrange them according to the order they will be used. The ones that will be used first are placed outside, for example, the salad fork followed by dinner fork as salads are usually served before the main course.

Dining Chairs

Barrel Teak Arm Chair





  1. If you are using a placemat, the placemat would go first. 
  2. Place the plate in the middle of the placemat. 
  3. After folding the napkin, place it on the left side of the plate. 
  4. Place the fork on the napkin.
  5. Place the rest of the utensils on the right, according to the order of the dishes served. 
  6. Your glass would be placed slightly above but in between the plate and the utensils. 

With a few utensils, how do you decide which one goes left and which are the ones that should be placed on the right side? This is pretty simple – the utensils which you usually hold in your right hand naturally belongs to the right and the same applies for the left. For example, knives would naturally be placed on the right side of the plates while fork would be on the left side. 

Some exception would be the dessert fork and spoon, which are to be placed directly above your plates on your dining table

Dining tables are the centrepiece of the dining area at home. Other than getting some cutlery and dinnerware for the dinner, if its time to change your dining table, check out this foolproof guide on how to choose the right dining table for your home! 

This general guideline is good for any dinner parties held at home, so go create a unique dining experience for your guests. But most importantly, even if you mess up, it’s alright as the company is the one that matters the most, right? 

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