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Place Setting Tips and Techniques

Take Dining to the Next Level, with our Expert Place Setting Tips

Picture this: a dinner party, in your humble abode or otherwise. Friends, family, esteemed colleagues, foodies and gastronomical fanatics alike, all preparing to sit down and enjoy whatever culinary delights you have spent the day slaving over.

Pan to the table – what do you see?

As we sit down to a meal, the first thing that we are presented with is the place setting. Tablecloths, serviettes, cutlery, plate-ware, glasses and centrepieces.

Just as music and lighting set the mood and the scent of food can tantalise the taste-buds before placing even a morsel in your mouth, the way that you choose to set your table informs the whole dining experience more than you can imagine.

As award-winning cutlery buffs, we really know our stuff when it comes down to creating silverware that enhances the food you eat; cutlery that you truly interact with, rather than use.

From the weight of each utensil to the intricately and elegantly designed curves and lines that makes our stainless steel flatware so special, we take all aspects into account and fully acknowledge that enjoying food in the right surroundings is one of the most stimulating sensory experiences there is. A journey that, when done right, can make such a profound impact that it stays with you forever and that journey begins with what we see.

There’s no denying that beautiful cutlery alone helps enormously when it comes to setting the scene for an impressive gastronomical experience, but the place setting that you choose to implement takes it just one step further. Whatever you’re setting the table for, whether that’s Christmas dinner, a date night, food with friends or a formal affair, there are certain ways to go about it that brings the whole thing together like a beautiful, visual symphony!

USA Place Setting


Spanning generation upon generation, the family dinner table is a sacred space. Somewhere for family members, young, old and in-between to put aside their work worries, daily chores and frantic thoughts to just sit and be in the warm company of the people they love. To chat and laugh and create memories during a time that will all-to-soon be passed.

It’s easy to forget that eating together has the potential to be something truly magical and so often, thoughtful place setting falls by the wayside. However, it doesn’t take much to bring your family dining experience to new heights.

You’ll be amazed at how some subtle tweaking of your cutlery placement will breathe new life into something seemingly so ordinary.

  • In a basic day to day place setting, position the fork to the left of the plate and a knife and spoon to the right, with the knife’s blade towards the plate and the glass for water above the knife.

  • If salad is to be served, place the salad fork to the left of the dinner fork with the plate for salad and bread/butter to the left of both.

  • If you are serving soup, sit the bowl on top of the plate and the bouillon soup spoon to the right of the beverage spoon.

  • For your accompanying or finishing drinks, place cups and saucers above the beverage spoon and with the handle to the right. Keep a glass for water to the left of the coffee cup (located above the knife).

  • Bring your dessert forks out with the dessert rather than sitting on the table beforehand, for a real entrance!

Make it formal by…

  • Keep red and white wine glasses to the left of the aforementioned coffee cup positioning. Never use the same wine glass for different wines!

  • Bring your beverage, soup and dessert spoons to the table along with the matching dish and lay to the right, next to the knife.

  • Don’t forget your centrepiece! Table decoration makes a glorious addition to any meal, particularly significant ones, so take the time to arrange something suitable for the event.

European Place Setting


As with many things, there are some small differences between UK and US traditions and formalities when it comes to place setting. Here’s how to get it right in Blighty…

  • Place the side fork to the left of the dinner fork, both of which are to the left of the table plate.

  • Lay the table knife to the right of the plate, with the side knife to the right. When you dine you generally eat with the utensils from the outside, in.

  • The English tea spoon with the glasses/coffee and tea cups directly above the spoons and knives.

  • The bread and butter side plate is placed above the forks on the left of the main plate, with a butter knife placed on top of the plate.

  • In the middle of the place setting, directly above the plate is the dessert fork and spoon with the fork prongs to the right and the desert spoon bowl to the left.

"TOP TIP - If there are extra pieces, for example a fish knife or fork or a cocktail fork, place these to the right of the place setting, furthest away from the plate."
- Tess Wilson, Studio William UK Sales Associate

English Buffet Parties...

The very British buffet event should have its own unique way of displaying cutlery too! It doesn’t require much, but just a little attention to detail makes all the difference.

  • Wrap each knife and fork in a carefully presented napkin and position next to the plates for guests to pick up before moving on to the food.

  • Dessert spoons and forks should be placed near the buffet pudding plates to have the same effect – picking up the cutlery before going to the food.

"We pride ourselves on standing out from the crowd in all respects, from our innovative cutlery design to the input we have on the ever-evolving trends of the dining industry."
- Frances Bull, Studio William Sales Director

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