How nice it is to invite friends or family around for a meal. If you are hosting to impress, you may wish to consider and plan the table setting almost as much as the meal itself. Perhaps, most importantly, you need to have a lovely wipe clean tablecloth from Franclaire Fabrics. There is always someone who will spill their wine or gravy and there is no need to panic. All disasters can be wiped up in a moment with a damp cloth or sponge.

At an informal meal a simple setting is best and generally less cluttered. The general rule is that you should work from the outside-in, with a soup spoon or salad fork being on the outside and the dinner knife and fork on the inside nearest the plate setting. The dinner knife is placed on the right side of the plate setting with the blade facing the plate, but if you are having steak you can replace this knife with a steak knife. If serving soup the soup spoon goes on the far right of the dinner knife. The dessert spoon and fork are laid above the dinner plate with the fork beneath the spoon, handle on left, and the spoon above the fork with the handle on the right.

An illustration of a table cutlery place setting

The dinner plate is placed on the table when the main course is served (don't forget that you may need to warm the plates beforehand). The salad, fish or dessert plate is placed to the left of the forks. A bread and butter plate is placed to the left of the dinner plate or above and to the left if a salad plate is being used.

Generally, a water glass and a wine glass can be used with the water glass to the left of the wine glass. Water glasses should be filled and the wine ready to serve before your guests prepare to eat. A table napkin can be placed at the centre of the setting or to the left if preferred. If having coffee the cup and saucer should be placed to the right of the setting with a coffee spoon to the right of the saucer. Cup handles should be at the four-o-clock position to enable easy lifting and to avoid spillages. Of course, this won't be a problem if you are using your Franclaire tablecloth. Finally, don't forget your butter and butter knife or your salt and pepper, placing them neatly in the centre of the table, and you are ready to go. All you need now is delicious food and good company for a memorable evening. Bon Appetit!