While many of our seniors appreciate a well-set table, we often see younger generations coming into the workforce that might not have grown up in a household that formally sat down to dinner. Whether you’re a seasoned pro who could use a refresher or a newer staff member to Senior Living looking to learn, here are the main variations of table settings and the different ways you can extend the life of your smallwares.
Basic Table Setting
Appropriate for most occasions, basic table setting begins by placing the dinner plate in the center of the place setting. From there, you’ll place flatware in the order it will be used. That is, the first flatware used during a meal should be set to the farthest left and right sides of the plate – fork on the left while knife and spoon go on the right. The sharp edge of the knife should face the plate and the spoon should be to the right of the knife. Position the water glass above the knife while the napkin can be placed under the fork or on the plate itself.
Informal Lunch or Dinner Table Setting
This next level of table setting starts where the basic setting leaves off. If salad is being served, the salad fork is placed to the left of the dinner fork, and the salad plate goes to the left of that. If soup is being served, place that spoon to the right of the teaspoon. A coffee cup and its saucer go above the spoon with the handle facing right. Position wine or water glasses to the left of the coffee cup.
Formal Table Setting
Building from the informal lunch or dinner setting, you can create the formal table setting by adding a few more specialized items. A dessert spoon and fork should be centered above and parallel to the dinner plate. If a fruit dish is being used, place that above the forks on the left while bread and butter plates can go to the right of the fruit dish. If a fruit dish is NOT being used, bread and butter plates will go to the right and slightly above the salad plate. Consider placing a charger plate under the dinner plate to dress up the formal setting even more.
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Now that you’ve learned how to set a beautiful table, here’s how you can keep your smallwares looking great for years to come.
Caring for Your China
You’ll better protect your investment by not allowing soiled china to stand overnight. It’s suggested you pre-rinse china before dishwashing and use the recommended amount of presoak solution to avoid a chemical reaction that breaks down the china’s surface glaze.
Caring for Your Glassware
Never use your glassware to store silverware nor should you stack glasses. In fact, it’s best to avoid glass-to-glass contact altogether. Empty ice from glasses as soon as possible. And never pour cold liquid into a hot glass and vice versa due to risks of shattering.

Caring for Your Flatware
When it comes to silverware, rinse it as soon as possible after each use. You can use a presoak solution, but leaving it in for more than 20 minutes is not recommended. Before storing silverware, just make sure it’s clean and dry.


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