Basic Table Setting Hero Label

Basic Table Setting

The basic or casual table setting can be even more casual than what is pictured here. Many families (and restaurants) regularly set the table casually in one of two ways.

  1. The napkin to the left with the fork resting on top of it. To the right of the plate is the knife (blade facing in toward the fork and plate) and a spoon (if necessary) set to the right of the knife. The water glass is placed above the knife or at 45 degree angle to the right of the knife. - Pictured Above
  2. All utensils are placed on the napkin: The napkin is placed to the left of the setting with the fork, knife (blade facing the fork) and spoon placed in that order on top of the napkin. - Pictured Below
basic table setting

For a basic table setting, here are 2 great tips to help you--or your kids--remember the order of plates and utensils:

  1. Picture the word "FORKS". The order, left to right, is: F for Fork, O for the Plate (the shape!), K for Knives and S for Spoons. (Okay, you have to forget the R, but you get the idea!)
  2. Holding your hands in front of you, touch the tips of your thumbs to the tips of your forefingers to make a lowercase 'b' with your left hand and a lowercase 'd' with your right hand. This reminds you that "bread and butter" go to the left of the place setting and "drinks" go on the right. Emily Post could have used that trick--she was often confused about which bread and butter belonged to her--and sometimes she used her neighbor's! In which case, when it was called to her attention, she would say to the dismayed lady or gentleman, "Oh, I am always mixing them up. Here, please take mine!"

Some other things to know:

  • Knife blades always face the plate
  • The napkin goes to the left of the fork, or on the plate
  • The bread and butter knife is optional

To see informal and formal place settings, click here to go back to the main Table Setting page