Monday, March 7, 2011

Pretty Flatware

Finding the right flatware for your table can be like finding the perfect piece of jewelry for your outfit.  That perfect piece can enhance the fabulousness of your table or maybe even add the necessary punctuation mark to a simple, elegant setting.

Where do you start when looking for new flatware?  Start by deciding whether you want to go the traditional route or veer off the traditional path and go for something a little fun.

Here's a collection of my favourites in both categories.  Which do you tend towards, tradition or whimsical?
Clockwise from top left 1. Kate Spade, 2. Pottery Barn, 3. Michael Aram 4. Titanium Art

Clockwise from top left 1. William Ashley 2. Elegance 2003 3. Siecle Paris  4. William Ashley

Ever wonder just where to put all that silverware for a proper formal table setting?  Emily Post provides all the answers in this simple guide.


The placement of utensils is guided by the menu, the idea being that you use utensils in an "outside in" order. For the illustrated place setting here, the order of the menu is:
  • Appetizer: Shellfish
  • First Course: Soup or fruit
  • Fish Course
  • Entree
  • Salad
(a) Service Plate: This large plate, also called a charger, serves as an underplate for the plate holding the first course, which will be brought to the table. When the first course is cleared, the service plate remains until the plate holding the entree is served, at which point the two plates are exhcnaged. The charger may serve as the underplate for several courses which precede the entree.
(b) Butter Plate: The small butter plate is placed above the forks at the left of the place setting.
(c) Dinner Fork: The largest of the forks, also called the place fork, is placed on the left of the plate. Other smaller forks for other courses are arranged to the left or right of the dinner fork, according to when they will be used.
(d) Fish Fork: If there is a fish course, this small fork is placed farthest to the left of the dinner fork because it is the first fork used.
(e) Salad Fork: If the salad is served after the entree, the small salad fork is placed to the right of the dinner fork, next to the plate. If the salad is to be served first, and fish second, then the forks would be arranged (left to right): salad fork, fish fork, dinner fork.
(f) Dinner Knife: The large dinner knife is placed to the right of the dinner plate.
(g) Fish Knife: The specially shaped fish knife goes to the right of the dinner knife.
(h) Salad Knife (Note: there is no salad knife in the illustration): If used, according to the above menu, it would be placed to the left of the dinner knife, next to the dinner plate. If the salad is to be served first, and fish second, then the knives would be arranged (left to right): dinner knife, fish knife, salad knife.
(i) Soup Spoon or Fruit Spoon: If soup or fruit is served as a first course, then the accompanying spoon goes to the right of the knives.
(j) Oyster Fork: If shellfish are to be served, the oyster fork goes to the right of the spoons. Note: it is the only fork ever placed on the right of the plate.
(k) Butter Knife: The small spreader is paced diagonally on top of the butter plate, handle on the right and blade down.
(l) Glasses: These can number up to five and are placed so that the smaller ones are up front. The water goblet (la) is placed directly above the knives. Just to the right goes a champagne flute (lb); in front of these are placed a red (lc) or white (ld) wine glass and a sherry glass (le).
(m) Napkin: The napkin is placed on top of the charger (if one is used) or in the space for the plate.
 Happy Monday!


  1. Setting a table like that seems like so much work BUT would be fun to have a dinner party to practice! I lean towards the traditional but love the feather flatware!
    We inherited an heirloom {from the late 1800's} solid silver flatware set that we so enjoy using, always wondering who used what and what they must of been wearing and eating over a 100 years ago!

  2. We have the world's most boring flatware. I never think about it until we're having company. I can't remember where I was but we had dinner somewhere and the flatware that was on the table looked like silver bamboo. I loved it.

  3. I think I am in the traditional can be boring and maybe I need to change! Love the diagram of tableware and how to place it!!!Great reference!

  4. I LOOOOORVE Emily Post and i always set my table properly. Great/cool flatware. I am in love with the William Ashley, looks like a faux tortoise shell? Fun post Carol!

  5. I love setting a table, so thanks for sharing this! I find setting a table is easy if you leave yourself enough time and keep things simply, but glamorous!

    (The Simply Inspired Home)

  6. I love the Michael Aram and the PB feather set! I always wanted a completely random set of all the different ones that I love. I never set my table properly, at least I don't think I do. All I care about is the food!! I'll use dirty silverware if I have to!! :)
    Hope you're having a great week!

  7. Comparing flatware to couldn't be more right!! It's one of my guilty pleasures and I just hit the jackpot!


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