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

To listen to the podcast click here :



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.

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.

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

15.5 Dos to make people love you (Vidéo & Podcast)


To listen to the podcast click here :


Why 12.5 and not 15 ?

Making friends, or acquaintances, is really going out of your confort zone.

When Umbert meets acquaintances, or new people, he knows that the warm tone of his voice is as important as his laugh and smile.

Umbert wants to share with you 15.5 Dos to make people love you.


“It’s sometimes in the eyes, in a smile, that the words we never knew how to say are hidden”, Yves Duteil, French composer

« Et c’est parfois dans un regard, dans un sourire, que sont cachés les mots qu’on n’a jamais su dire », Yves Duteil, compositeur Français


In this article :

1) Introduce your self

2) Compliment

3) Break the ice

4) Make eye contact

5) Ask questions

6) A warm tone

7) Smile

8) Laugh with them

9) Be interested

10) Don’t interrupt

11) Answer appropriately

12) Don’t do things to deliberately bring them down

13) Ask if they want to hang out

14) Let them do what they want

15) Promote them

15,5) ?


1) Introduce your self

Regarding this part, you can read my article How to introduce yourself according to the New Etiquette (Vidéo & Podcast)

2) Compliment

Immediately find something in their behavior or dress that you can emphasize on, and make a compliment.

This is not lying or being hypocrite, it is just a way to find great things about everybody.

You can even train in the street by looking at the others and find one thing nice with each person you cross.

That way you will find the world and the people much more beautiful.

3) Break the ice

Let the magic do it, don’t try to make too much internet search about the person, because the person may thing that you are playing with her by not being natural.

Try to find something you have in common, or some experiences you can share, without conflict or too much arguing.

4) Make eye contact

Eyes contact in the western world is a proof of respect, interest and trust.

Don’t be too pushy, just consider the person you are talking with.

5) Ask questions

If you ask questions, it will help you have some interest in the discussion.

It will also show that you are active in the talking and interested in the other.

6) A warm tone

The tone must neither be hysterical, nor too discreet, neither choleric, nor too moderate.

I would say be natural, and everything will be fine.

With the elderly : they are people in need of warmth and smiles. Do not be condescending or unfamiliar, but you can laugh, discuss and especially show that the age difference is not important.

With children : discuss naturally by showing that you are interested in them. Ask for their name, age, school, classmates, sports, etc …

7) Smile

Smiling is a symbol of seduction and elegance.

I know you have some problems, everybody have some, but when you meet people, try to forget them, just for that moment.

As a training, you can stand in front of a mirror, try several smiles, look at the features of your face, remember the most natural, the one that gives you the most value, and use it as often as possible.

Be carreful, a smile can be heard ! Yes, on the phone, people “hear” your smile. Before hanging on the phone, relax, smile and you will have a warm tone that will be appreciated and effective.

What does the smile mean ? Trust, affection, charm, security and it is disarming (in case of conflict with a person)

When Umbert goes to the Louvre Museum, he is always amazed by the smile of La Joconde. « How do you describe it Umbert ? Enigmatic, reassuring, tender, warm, natural, jovial, feminine …” Umbert is a fan of museums and exhibitions in Paris.

You can find his selection, every month, on this blog, in the Weekends chapter.

8) Laugh with them

If you can reach that goal, you win !

Laughing together is the best way to make friends.

Laugh is the expression of an authentic joy.

Try to laugh not too strong, not too long and not for anything (remember Don’t play !)

Umbert never laughs at the ridicule of others (stupidity, dress, attitude). It would be too easy and nasty.

On the other hand he knows how to laugh and make fun of himself.

9) Be interested 

When you speak with them your entire posture and gesture should show that you are interested.

So focus on what they say and share your experiences.

10) Don’t interrupt 

When you speak to them, let them finish their sentences or argumentation.

If you’ve ever encounter someone who’s always right, and always interrupt you, you know what I’m talking about.

11) Answer appropriately

It is very important to stay natural and say what you think, not what you think the other want you to think.

If you lie or play, the other will feel it, and the discussion will be flat and boring.

On the other hand, don’t argue too strongly, just answer politely.

Make the talk profitable for both of you, by sharing interesting experiences.

12) Don’t do things to deliberately bring them down

You may know some people who always try to control you by bringing you down.

They always try to find some stuff in your life, in what you like, or every where that could embarrass you.

Never do that !!! 

Even if the person will have a nice attitude in front of you, just after leaving the party, she will hate you for the rest of her life.

13) Ask if they want to hang out

If you have a nice talk, ask the person if she wants to hang out sometimes.

Maybe you have a passion. In common, or something you can share.

This is, I think, the best way to make people like you.

14) Let them do what they want

A psychologist that I know always say it like this : « What do you know about their happiness ? ».

Every person is different, with a different past, different goals etc …

Sharing experiences and knowledge is very important to have a great talk, so bring something on the table.

But trying to impose your point of view or way of life must be a disaster, and it’s never appropriate.

15) Promote them

After the meeting, try to speak about them or their business.

Make positive observations about who they are or what they do.

At one point they will hear about it, and will really appreciate.

15.5) Love yourself

Being confident doesn’t mean not being humble. You can be confident and humble.

You don’t want to show off, but being confident makes you a non jealous or envious person.

The other will also feel it, and find « confortable » to be with you. 

You will be a kind of hero who protects them.


15.5 Dos to make people love you, that’s a lot to do to make people love you.

Start step by step, by adding one thing after another, then you will be fine.

You may also read my other article Proper way to talk to seduce everybody (Vidéo & Podcast).


What must be remembered : breaking the ice, empathy and real discussions are key to make real friends or acquaintances. Train by going to random events, and start to speak to some people about anything, then narrow down to what you’ve prepared before.


Quiz : Register to my blog to get regular Quiz and learn more about the New Etiquette


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Bon voyage !

Umbert De Paris