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How to Set a Proper Table

How to set a table?? Really? Yes! For many, gone are the days of a properly set table every night, but it's still a good skill to have. Fun too!

I grew up with a mother and grandmother who believed that you may eat ham biscuits in the country every day, but you better be prepared in case you had to entertain...I don't know.. the Queen or something. This meant understanding the placement of things like Bone Dishes (yep, dishes to put your bones on), Butter Pat Dishes (well...for butter pats), know where the handle goes on a tea cup - yes, it matters and you better get the fork on the correct side!!

We didn't always set the table, but when we did, it was done right!

Today I'm grateful for this training! I may serve sloppy Joes, but if I set a proper table people feel pampered and cared for. This easy skill is a great way to shower some love on those who dine at your table, even if you don't sit at the table.


  • It's fun

  • It is a great skill to learn

  • It makes your family feel special

  • It makes your guess feel special

  • It makes you feel special

  • It can set the tone

  • Makes sure everyone has what they need

  • Can add to the enjoyment

  • Can help provide a space for mindful eating

  • Can help promote community at the table

The Basic:

The fork goes on the left, the plate in the center, the knife on the right with the blades facing the plate, and the spoon to the right of the knife. - That's your basic informal table.

This picture adds in utensils for different parts of the meal including things like salad and dessert. Set the table so that people use the utensils from the outside, farthest from the plate, to the inside-closest to the plate.

There are also many fun ways to style the setting, like placing decorative napkins on the plate and using flowers etc. to decorate. Have fun with it!!

PS - the handle goes around 5:00, where your had would naturally fall. Sometimes it is placed at 3:00, anywhere between 3:00 and 5:00 is good.

For some great images visit these sites:

Snap a pic of your table settings and tag @lwburbach on Instagram!

Have fun!


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If we hesitate to mention that fresh-scented Dish Wash is soft on hands and the Earth, it's only because you might think it's soft on grease.

But trust us. You need only a few drops to tackle a pile of greasy dinner aftermath. Really. Just a few. This is an exercise in restraint.

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