If the idea of setting the dinner table correctly deters you from hosting a dinner party, never fear. There are some basic rules to follow but then you are free to be creative with colors, themes and centerpiece decor.

Here are the basics:

*   Start with the plate or charger.  A charger can take the place of a place mat and it helps to keep the dinner plate warm.

*   Align the flatware with the bottom rim of the charger/plate and place the flatware on the outside of the plate on the left and right side in order of how you will begin eating a meal.  For example, if you are having a salad or soup before the main course, you will place the salad fork on outside of the dinner fork and the soup spoon on the outside of the dinner knife.

*   Bread and butter plates sit above the plate and to the left with the butter knife across the plate.

*   Stemware is set above and to the right of the dinner plate.  The water glass stands above the dinner knife and if you are serving wine, the wine glass will stand to its right.

*   The dessert fork and spoon are laid across the top of the setting above the plate and the fork’s tines should face right and the spoon’s bowl should face left.

*   If the cloth napkin is lightly starched, pressed, & folded, place it to the left of the plate, under the forks, or on top of the plate.  Or, you could drape the napkin through a festive napkin holder and place it on top of the plate.

Now that you know the basic setting, you can make adjustments and have some fun.  You could add placement cards for your guests in front of or on top of the plate, center a pretty flower or candle arrangement, and mix vintage china with newer pieces as House Beautiful suggests.

Until December 8, 2012 we’re offering 25% off all Table Linens to help take a little of the pressure off of you and save you time on putting together the perfect table setting for your guests.

However you choose to set your table, the focus is on the spirit of the occasion.  We wish you all a fabulous Holiday season!

– S.O.