Table Setting Basics
Setting a table correctly is crucial when hosting a dinner party, as it helps to make your guests feel comfortable and welcomed. Gaining the ability to arrange a table appropriately is not a tough skill to acquire and it can prove useful in various social occasions throughout your life.
The basics of setting a table napkin include understanding the material, placement, and folding techniques. Let’s explore each of these areas in further detail:
- Folding Techniques
Choose the right type of napkin
When setting the table, choosing the right type of napkin can make all the difference. The right napkin adds a finishing touch that elevates your meal and contributes to your overall table décor.
The most commonly used type of napkin is the classic dinner napkin, which is usually rectangular 20×20 inches in size. They often come with personalized embroidered monograms and can be made from cotton, linen or even silk to suit the occasion.
Other types of napkins include:
– Cocktail napkins, which are usually smaller 4-6 inch squares and thicker than dinner napkins.
– Cloth serviettes for informal dinners.
– Linen serviettes for formal dinners.
– Luncheon napkins for upscale luncheons.
– Teatime cloth serviettes for afternoon tea events.
All these different styles can add a unique touch to your table setting, depending on the event or occasion you’re hosting.
It’s also important to layer your napkins correctly – they should be placed on top of plates (so they will be ready when guests sit down) and then folded (or shaped artfully) over each plate in an attractive manner such as a triangle or fan shape. This adds texture and beauty to your table setting while also creating a pleasant aesthetic overall look.
Select a napkin color
Your choice of napkin color and style will vary depending on the occasion. If you are setting a formal table, consider using napkins that coordinate with your tablecloth. For example, if you’re matching your cream-colored tablecloth with stoneware plates, choose a tan linen napkin or light ivory cotton napkin to tie in the colors from both. Casual occasions can be dressed up or down with contemporary or whimsical designs such as those made of cotton fabric featuring prints, polka dots and stripes.
Napkins are functional items and your best bet is to combine fashion and function for the perfect table setting. Many people prefer luxurious silk napkins for special occasions and parties, while other choose environmentally friendly bamboo fiber or jute fiber napkins for everyday use. Beautiful monogrammed linen napkins are also an excellent choice when entertaining guests. Regardless of which style of napkin you select, they should all be large enough to cover your lap after each course has been served and removed from the table.
Folding a Napkin
Knowing how to fold a napkin properly is a great way to add a touch of sophistication to any table setting. Folding napkins can be a fun task, with different options and looks depending on the occasion. There are several different ways to fold a napkin, from the most basic folds to intricate designs.
Let’s learn more about how to properly fold a napkin:
Fold a basic triangle
Folding a napkin into a triangle is a simple but sophisticated way to create the perfect accent to your table setting. To start, lay the napkin out flat in triangular shape. Fold in the two corners on one end, making sure they are aligned with each other. Then fold down the upper corner over the two other corners so that it lies flat against them.
Turn your napkin over, and then tuck into itself by folding one side up towards its middle and then folding up the opposite side so they meet in the center of your triangle. Press your napkin firmly before arranging on plates or at each table setting.
Fold a fan napkin
Folding a fan napkin is a classic way to present the napkins truly elegant and lovely. To fold this type of napkin, you will need one square cloth napkin. Make sure it is ironed beforehand for best results.
Begin by turning the napkin over so that it appears face down. Fold it in half once and press down lightly to create the crease at the middle. Next, fold in each side of the top layer until they meet at the center line again, forming what looks like an accordion-style fold.
Next, take one of the two sides (either side) fold it up and away from you at a 90-degree angle to form two angles; these angles should be directly across from each other if they are folded correctly. Then fold down top flap, inwards towards center line created earlier to tuck under already folded bottom flap; this will help hold pleats and create 3-dimensional look.
At this point your fan shaped napkin should have four equal parts and be slightly thicker than other folds because of all pleats compressed together for added dimensionality. Finally, turn over individual pleats on either end away from you so that your fan shaped fold is complete!
Fold a bishop’s hat napkin
Sure you can just set your napkins on the table – but why not show off your culinary prowess and learn how to fold a Bishop’s Hat style napkin? This type of folding is commonly seen in very formal settings, such as banquets, where an elegant table setting is desired. It’s easy to learn and does not require any additional tools or materials.
Here’s how it works:
- Start with a square napkin in the color of choice that matches your chosen décor.
- Place the napkin on a flat surface, unfolding it completely so all four of its sides are showing.
- Fold it in half so that one corner creates a point at the top of the triangle shape and tuck the opposite corner underneath (creating an envelope-like shape).
- Flip over both sides until they extend out past the point at the beginning of each end – this creates a bishop’s miter colloquially known as a bishop’s hat style fold!
- Finally, make sure that all four points are even before you place it on the plate or plate stand (depending on preferred presentation).
Learning how to make proper Bishop’s hat-style folds with your napkins will help ensure that you create a stunningly elegant presentation – perfect for formal dinners, wedding receptions, and other special occasions!
Placing a Napkin
Napkins are an essential part of a table setting. They provide a stylish addition to the meal and also help keep the guests’ hands and faces clean during the course of the meal. There are a few different methods for properly placing a napkin so that it is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
In this article, we will explore the different ways of how to set a table napkin:
Place the napkin on the plate
When laying out a formal place setting, the placement of the napkin is an important detail. Generally, it should be placed either on the plate itself or to the left of it. If it is not already folded, fold it neatly in half diagonally or into an attractive shape and place it any way which accents your table setting.
For a more formal dinner party, many households opt to include a different napkin for each guest and these can range from fabric napkins to paper ones stamped with your initials. In such cases, lay them across the top of plate with very little gap between them.
In some cases, where there is no access to plates, it’s OK to place the napkin in front of a guest directly on the tablecloth or placemat as an alternative. To prevent staining or other forms of damage caused by a wet napkin that has been placed directly onto delicate material such as silk or velvet, you can opt to use additional layers such as doilies or mats beneath the napkins instead.
Place the napkin on the left side of the plate
The napkin should be placed on the left side of the plate before guests arrive at the table. It should also be unfolded to full size and left that way during the meal, rather than folded over when not in use. The napkin is a symbol of how you will treat your guests as they enjoy their meal, so it should always appear crisp, clean and inviting.
When guests arrive at the table, they may place the napkin in their laps or leave it on their plates if a salad is served first. If soup is served first, however, it’s best for guests to place the napkins in their laps. At the end of the meal, guests may loosely fold or refold their napkins and leave them next to their plates until they are ready to depart.
People may also use a large dinner napkin as a replacement for utensils and use it to pass food items from one plate directly onto another without actually touching them. Smaller cocktail-style napkins may accompany hors d’oeuvres or mixed drinks and are often used as an alternative to finger bowls.
Place the napkin in the lap
When seated at a dinner table, you should place your napkin in your lap. This is to keep your clothing clean and presentable during the meal. The napkin should be opened and spread out as much as possible to provide more coverage for your clothes.
If you have to leave the table during the meal, you can lightly dab your lips with the napkin and then place it next to you on the chair until you return. If there is a food or drink spillage, use the napkin to lightly blot up any mess before removing it from the area of spill cleanly rather than rubbing it trying to clear away everything. The napkin can then be refolded neatly and placed back in your lap for continued use throughout the meal.
Setting a table napkin can add to the overall presentation of a tablescape. Napkins are often used to protect the clothing of the guests while they dine. A folded napkin can give a more formal and finished look to a table setting. It is important to learn the right way to set a napkin so that it looks neat and elegant.
Let’s take a closer look at how to set a table napkin:
Add a decoration to the napkin
Adding a decoration to the napkin can make all the difference in giving your table setting that special touch. Napkins can be nicely tied with a ribbon or raffia, although if you are pressed for time you can opt for a paper clip. Place cards can also be tied to the napkin with ribbons or raffia, while using holiday decorations on napkins such as Christmas trees, bells or other Christmas character cutouts helps to add a festive flair to your dinner setting.
Other decorations such as artificial flowers and beads are popular choices when dressing up your paper napkins. You can even emboss initials, names or words onto the napkin using special machines that allow you heat press designs onto fabric surfaces.
Place a utensil on the napkin
The finishing touches in table setting can take your presentation to the next level. After a plate and napkin are placed on the table, a utensil should be added in a particular way.
- First, the napkin should be shaped into a neat square and folded in half so it forms a triangle when you look at it from the side.
- Then unfold the top quarter of the napkin and tuck one end of the utensil into it, leaving just one corner exposed.
This simple procedure gives each plate an organized, inviting appearance that will captivate your guests before they even take their first bite.
Place a menu card on the napkin
The provision of a menu card as part of the place setting may be an unexpected surprise which will add an element of fun and luxury to your dining experience. This can be done by placing a card on each napkin at each table setting.
Clasically, the menu card could include a complete list of all the dishes available for guests to choose from or could be tailored to include particular descriptions or selected items from the chef’s tasting menu. In addition, design considerations such as artwork or logo, font selection and appealing text can enhance the look and feel of the restaurant and its meal offerings.
Finally, it is also possible to offer additional information on specific ingredients used in any dishes served as part of your dining experience. Clearly displayed information about house wines or specialty cocktails could also be included in this area. All these details presented on a menu card within each place setting add a final touch of professionalism and finesse to your event.