How to lay a table?

Table setup 

Covering a table can be a bit of a feat – the choices are endless! It can be demanding to set a table with several dishes where all the dishes require their own cutlery. As soon as you know what to serve, there are some simple rules that apply to how the cutlery should be on the table. But remember that it is not these rules that create the good and personal atmosphere around the table – it is what you and the company give. 

We love to see alternative table coverings and to put a personal touch on the table settings using different materials and styles. Regardless of whether you are setting the table for a solemn dinner or an everyday table, it should be playful and fun to set a table. A nice table sets the mood and can really elevate the dining experience. 

Cutlery setting 

It can often be nice not to relate to the rules about how the cutlery should be, but we know that many of us want to relate to the correct rules about setting the table with cutlery. 

As mentioned earlier, it is easier to start the cutlery setting when the menu is set. A main rule for table setting is that all cutleries must be covered on the table. On the other hand, there should be no more than three sets of knives and forks on the table at a time. Each place setting should be approximately 60 cm wide as you don’t want your guests to feel that there is too little space.  

The bottom line of the cutlery should preferably be laid in line with the bottom edge of the plate. The main rule for cutlery is that you eat inwards towards the plate throughout dinner.  The starter cutlery is placed furthest out on the place setting as it will be used before the main meal cutlery.

Cover a table

Cutlery layout 

It can be nice to remember that the knife should be placed to the right of the plate with the cutting side towards the plate and the fork on the left side of the plate. If a tablespoon is to be used during the meal, the tablespoon should be placed next to the knife on the right side. If soup is to be served as an appetizer, the tablespoon should be placed on the outside. Then the cutlery pieces are placed in the order in which the dishes are served. 

The cutlery layout is covered on the table for the perspective of right-handed people. It can be a nice gesture to cover the opposite if you are visited by a guest who is left-handed. It is then good to know in advance that the guest who is left-handed actually eats with the knife in his left hand and the fork in his right hand, as many left-handed people like to eat like a right-handed person. 

Serving cutlery should be served with the food so that the serving cutlery does not take up space on the table. If shellfish is to be served using shellfish cutlery, the shellfish cutlery must be placed at the place setting. The same applies, for example, to a butter knife for bread. 


Appetizer cutlery



Cutlery set 40 pieces


What about the dessert? 

For dessert, it is common to serve dessert with either a teaspoon, dessert spoon or cake fork as a cutlery alternative. Teaspoons are generelly smaller in size than dessert spoons. The dessert cutlery you choose depends on which dessert is to be served. Regardless of which option you choose, it is placed over the plate with the handle pointing to the right side of the place setting. If both a spoon and a cake fork are required for dessert, the cake fork should be placed closest to the plate with the handle pointing to the left side of the place setting. The spoon should be placed above the cake fork with the handle pointing to the right side of the plate. 



Cake forks


The table setting – tips and tricks for tableware and table details 

There is also a large selection of different tableware, and many of these have a pattern. If they do, the pattern must be turned the same way. Smaller plates for bread and other items are placed above or to the left, next to the forks. 

The glasses that are used should be placed at the tip of the knife on the right side of the envelope. The glasses are lined up in the order that they are meant to be used, from right to left. The water glass should always be placed furthest to the right and the dessert glass should be placed at the bottom of the glass row.  

There are not any specific rules for other table decorations. Napkins can be folded on the plate or arrange nicely beside the place setting. A simple variant can be to roll the napkin together and decorate with decorative napkin rings. Napkins and napkin rings can be varied according to style, mood, and season.  

Remember that there must be room for the food on the table. A well-executed table setting does not necessarily have to be a full table, focus on the details, and prioritize what is most important to you and the company. 

Something we at the Hardanger brand prioritize when we gather around the table are the conversations. It is therefore important for us not to have anything tall on the table so that we can see each other. Candles and natural materials are something that can really set the mood for the table.  


Serving rules 

If several dishes are to be served at the table, these dishes must be placed on the table in front of the guests from the right side. New plates must be inserted from the right side and used plates must also be removed from the right side. If, on the other hand, the dishes are to be served from a plate, this must be done from the left side. All drinks are served from the right side. 

We hope that this table setting guide gave you an explanation of the rules that exist for cutlery and dinner setting. Remember that it is allowed to let your imagination wander – no rule without exception!