I have had some comments both here on my blog and in person about struggles with setting the dinner table and making mealtime a family highlight of the day. I’d like to offer some suggestions that might make it easier for you to accomplish this! It’s not about making your house look like the Biltmore dining room. It’s simply about putting out what will be needed for the meal – silverware, plate, glass, and napkin so the meal can be eaten and enjoyed.
The fork goes on the left. On the right, place first the knife, then the spoon. The napkin goes on the left of the fork. The glass goes above the knife. If you have a salad plate, it is placed above the fork.
When should you set the table? For every meal you’re sitting down to eat together. The simpler the meal, the less you need to put out. But my rule for supper is to put out all three pieces of utensils.
If you make a centerpiece that is seasonal you won’t have to change it very often. Comb through your house for items to make a pretty focal point for the center. It should be low enough to see over so you can converse with everyone at the table. A simple mason jar or low vase with flowers inside, or a pretty bird cage with a candle or silk flowers, for example would be sufficient. I love getting marked down flowers at the grocery store. Daisies or carnations last forever!
A hardscape like a table needs softening, and that is done through use of a table cloth, runner, or placemats. You can layer them or use them alone. A bare table with a plate plopped on it isn’t nearly as inviting as one that is dressed for the meal! You can make it as simple or dressy as you like!
To dress it up, make a pretty napkin fold or use napkin rings. Add candles.
The what else?
Turn on some quiet instrumental music to set the tone. You might also download some conversation starters if your family struggles with talking to one another.
A No Phone Zone might be another suggestion for your dinner time if people are tempted to tweet about your meatloaf before they leave the table! 😊 Seriously, phones should be set aside so real life can happen instead.
Setting the table isn’t so your meal can be blogged about or captured on Instagram, but so you can create an atmosphere that pulls people in – into your kitchen, your heart, into one another’s lives. Anyone can sit down and wolf down a plate of tacos in front of Jeopardy. It takes being intentional to make your dinner hour one that’s delicious and inviting!
I hope this simplifies setting the atmosphere and the table for a meal together with your family. What do you need to incorporate to make it something everyone will anticipate and you won’t feel overwhelmed by?
Refresh your dinner table.