How to set up a table in style at home for your best friends (video & podcast)

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Umbert has invited his best friends for a dinner in Paris.

His apartment has a huge living room with a nice dinner table for 12.

Umbert doesn’t want to show off tonight, he just wants his friends to be happy and confortable.

How to set up a table in style at home for your best friends ?

He knows that the table setting is important, not only because it shows its respect for his guests, but also because a nice decor and atmosphere makes the food and drinks better.

Simplicity or fantasy but everything must be perfect.

Benefits of this coaching :

  • Best methodology to become irresistible
  • Innovative technique to unleash your charisma
  • Learn the new etiquette & manners
  • A better lifestyle


“True cooking is an art form, a gift to share” Oprah Winfrey, American animator

“La vraie cuisine est une forme d’art, un cadeau à partager », Oprah Winfrey, animatrice américaine


In this article :

1) The tablecloth and towels

2) The plates

3) The cutlery

4) The glasses

5) The table decoration


1) The tablecloth and towels

Place a fleece under the tablecloth. It is more pleasant but be careful, it must not exceed the table.

Choose a tablecloth :

  • Variegated with plain plates.
  • Clear with dark plates and vice versa.
  • In white damask with white porcelain and gold.
  • On a round table, iron the folds of the tablecloth.
  • On a rectangular table we keep the folds of the length parallels and we pass those of the width.

The towels are made of fabric matching the tablecloth, organic if possible :

  • For lunch: it is placed on the plate, folded into a triangle, pointing downwards.
  • For dinner: it is on the left of the plate folded in rectangle, touching the forks.
  • It is never presented in a glass.
  • If you are serving shellfish: plan for large towels to be removed afterwards.
  • If a guest drops a towel, change it.

2) The plates

They are placed 2 cm from the edge of the table and 50 to 62 cm apart from each other.

Never put two plates flat on top of each other, except for the small plate of the entrance.

If you serve soup, the soup plate is placed on a flat plate.

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You can place in the top left of the plate a small plate for bread, but it can be placed directly on the tablecloth.

Avoid presentation plates, it isn’t chic.

3) The cutlery

Cutlery is used from the outside to the inside, from top to bottom for cheese and dessert. 

The knives are placed to the right of the plate, cutting edge towards the plate. If serving cutlery every time, no knife holder, otherwise it is placed on the right.

The forks are placed on the left. In France, the tips are placed on the table. Why ? This was done to show the coat of arms or the initials. In England and the USA, forks and spoons are placed on the other side.

If there is soup, the spoon is on the right side of the knife, curved side on the top. The soup spoons are placed on the rounded side.

The small cheese knife is placed at the top, blade to the right and cutting edge to the plate.

The small dessert fork is placed near the plate, the teeth to the right and down. The dessert cutlery are not placed at the beginning.

Fun ! Louis XIV imposed the use of the forks. Before we ate with the fingers or with a spoon.

“Thank you Umbert for the advices on the cutlery. Before it was a nightmare when I was invited to a fine dining restaurant in France. I never remembered how to use them”, Mark J.

4) The glasses

Before placing the glasses on the table, wipe them with a very thin white cloth. They need to be impeccable.

They rank in descending order to the right : Water – Red wine glass – White wine glass.

The not very full water glass is always served before going to the table.

In large dinner parties, there may be two glasses for the red wine : one for the wine that accompanies the meat, the other for the cheese.

Exception for the size, Champagne last right. Champagne heats up less quickly in flutes than in cuts.

The glass is held by the foot and not by the chalice to not heat the drink. Do not dismiss the little finger, it is now childish and unsuitable.

5) The table decoration

The flowers :

  • They need to match the color of the tablecloth and the service used.
  • On a white tablecloth, the flowers will be white or pastel.
  • In the country: choose wildflowers or roses from the garden. No precious flowers.
  • The perfume must be very light, so you can appreciate the food.
  • The bouquets must be low to not disturb the guests, or in a long centerpiece.
  • You can choose a central bouquet surrounded by two small ones.
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The  centerpiece :

  • You can place it in cups, compotiers, basins, plate.
  • You can choose flowers, or flowers floating on the water.
  • Also a mixture of fruits and vegetables, add flowers if you like.
  • Red foliage, because red is the perfect color for food.
  • Floating candles give a nice light, in an intimate atmosphere.

Candles :

  • Place them up to the faces or just above them.
  • In candelabra, place long, thin candles, cream.
  • Light them at the last moment.

An original idea : if the table is large, in addition to candlesticks and flowers, you can put characters or animals in silver or colored porcelain.

The menus : 

  • Put a menu between 2 covers.
  • It has to be hand-written on white cardboard (surrounded by a gold border).
  • It bears the date of the day.
  • The dishes should have a simple name, this is more chic that long names.
  • We write “salad” but not « cheese » because there is no good dinner without cheese.

Great tip : in the country you can write it on a postcard of the region or your property. For a wedding, anniversary or baptism, on the photo of the event.

This is How to set up a table in style at home for your best friends. 

Umbert is sure that with this setting, his friends will start a great evening, have fun, and enjoy an amazing dinner.

What must be remembered : keep it simple and chic. Even for a little party, try to respect those rules. This not to show off, but you want your friends to have a wonderful experience when visiting.


How to become irresistible ? Download now the free eBook, chapter Behave (only available this month).

Bon voyage !

Umbert De Paris

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