11 tips on how to set your table like a pro

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Now that the holidays are around the corner and fancy dinner parties are in the near future, what better time to address the need for the prettiest and practical table settings?

We share with you 11 things to consider before you start to dust your fine china for your next special dinner.

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Pick a theme

Themes are always a good place to start. Are you celebrating a special holiday? Is it a formal dinner or a little more relaxed? Indoor or outdoor? Consider the different elements to help you navigate the rest of your decision making.

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Bare or covered?

Once you have a theme, decide on whether you want to expose your table or cover it up with a cloth. If you’ve got a beautiful table top, go with the former. If not, a beautiful table cloth will do the trick.

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Placemat or Charger?

Decide on whether you’re a placemat or charger kind of girl. If you decide to go for charger plates (the larger plates used during full course dinners), then leave out the placemats, and vice versa.

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Decide on and arrange your plates

Are you serving soup? Salad? Dessert? This will determine how many dishes you’ll have out and their arrangement. Don’t make the mistake of filling up your table with plates/bowls that you won’t actually be using no matter how pretty – they’ll just get in the way.

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Don’t be afraid to mix things up

Just like your outfits, choosing complimenting colours, textures and designs will add character to your table. Don’t be too quick to be matchy-matchy with the plates or glasses but rather have fun with the dishes!

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Pull out your silverware

Just in case there were any doubts, forks go on the left and knives and spoons on the right. The cutlery is always placed in order of use, working from outside going in. That means cutlery for salad will be in the outer most position.

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Grab your linen napkins

Don’t forget to provide your guests with napkins to prevent them from feeling embarrassed about any mess they make. They should ideally be on the left hand side of the plate but you can also throw it over the dishes.

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Flaunt your glassware

If you’ll be offering your guests the options of both red and white wine, be sure to provide the glasses for both and place them on the top right hand side of the plates. Don’t forget a glass for water too and ensure a jar is readily available.

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Items should be within reach

Don’t forget to provide pepper, salt and other condiments appropriate for the dishes you’ll be serving. And make sure they’re centrally placed in order to be accessible and prevent guests from awkwardly stretching across the table.

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Consider some optional pieces

Depending on the size of your table, you might want to add a coffee cup, saucer and teaspoon to the table. If not, keep them close so you can easily and quickly offer some to your guests after their meal.

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Centerpieces

If you’re going to have centerpieces, keep them low so that they don’t interfere with guests having conversations. And as for flowers or candles, make sure they’re not scented so as not to compete with the scent of food.

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Sharon Mundia

Sharon Mundia is the author of the award-winning, personal style blog, This Is Ess. As a fashion fanatic, beauty lover and home decor enthusiast, she will leave you wanting to revamp your closet, home and life in general.

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