how to place plates on dining table

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Placing plates on a dining table is an essential aspect of table setting, and doing it correctly sets the tone for an enjoyable meal. The way that plates are arranged not only affects the overall aesthetic of the table, but it also helps with the flow of the meal. Here are some tips on how to place plates on a dining table.

Step 1: The Positioning of the Main Plate

The main plate is the foundation of the entire table setting. This plate should be placed in the center of the table, with equal spacing from the table edge to the plate's edge. The plate's position should be such that it is aligned with the guest's chair. The plate placement should be done before any other items are added to the table.

Step 2: Adding the Napkin

Once the main plate has been placed, the napkin should be placed to the left of the plate. The napkin can be fold or unfolded and should be placed in such a way that it does not obscure the plate's view. Proper placement of the napkin adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to the table setting. It can also protect clothing from stains during the meal.

Step 3: The Bread Plate and Butter Knife Placement

If the meal includes bread, then a separate bread plate is placed on the left side of the main plate. The butter knife should be placed across the plate’s top. The plate is positioned slightly above the fork and centered with the main plate.

Step 4: The Water Glass

The water glass should be placed above the main plate, slightly to the right. It’s important to ensure that the glass does not interfere with the placement of other items such as the salt and pepper. The water glass should be one inch above the top of the main plate, creating an equal distance amongst all the glasses.


Placing plates on a dining table is easy with the correct steps. The main plate will be the foundation of the table setting and should be placed at the center of the table. Ensure that the napkin is on the left-hand side of your main plate, the bread plate with the butter knife placed above the main plate, and the water glass positioned above the main plate slightly to the right. By following these simple steps, any dining table will look attractive and elegant, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for your guests.


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