Set Your Table Beautifully

Setting a table correctly is an art form. The plates, glasses, napkins and cutlery should carefully be placed in the correct locations, and salt and pepper should always be on the table. Table decorations or centrepieces should never be too high, otherwise, you won't be able to see each other! When it comes to the tablecloth: you can never go wrong with white.

There are many rules pertaining to setting a table that are there to be broken! A tall candle holder or vase can add to the charm. Underplates are not necessary, although they make it easier for the host to change courses. Furthermore, it is no longer necessary to have all the cutlery for a multiple-course meal set out at the very beginning as it can be intimidating for some guests who might wonder which fork to use when. In fact, the rules are quite simple really - just work your way from the outside in.

Some people are annoyed by the many glasses at each place setting, however, a festive table setting requires providing different glasses for different beverages. Glasses should always be placed above the knife - the glass to the far right should hold water, followed on the left by a glass for white wine and one for red wine. Champagne or sparkling wine should be served in flutes. If a guest prefers to drink beer, you may remove the wine glasses from the table.

Napkins: Elegant napkins held together with napkin rings may be placed directly on the plates. They can also be placed on smaller bread plates (if using) which are usually placed to the right with a small bread knife and bread basket.

Absolute no-nos: Toothpicks should never be seen on the table, as using one at the table goes against table etiquette. Stain-resistant or wax-coated tablecloths are unappetising. Too much creativity in the table decor can be irritating, space-consuming and overwhelming. Shakey tables are an unforgivable faux pas! Flowers on the table should always be freshly cut, pots on the table are an absolute no.