When setting a table, place the flat-ware on each side of the dinner plate, with the handles about an inch from the edge of the table. Forks go to the left of the plate; knives and spoons to the right. Turn the sharp edges of the knife blades toward the plate.
Utensils for the beginning courses of the meal – the appetizer fork or the soup-spoon, for example-should be farthest away from the plate; silver for the later courses should be near the plate. Unless a salad is being served before the main course, place the salad fork nearest the plate. The dessert-spoon or fork can be placed above the dinner plate or can be brought in on the plates with the dessert.
Salad plates should be placed to the left of the forks, coffee cups and saucers to the right of the knives and spoons. Water and wine glasses are placed on the upper right.
If you serve bread and butter, it’s best to provide butter plates. Place the butter plate to the upper left of the dinner plate, with the butter knife across the top, blade toward the user. (If you’re served bread and there is no butter plate, it’s acceptable to put butter on the dinner plate and the bread on the tablecloth.)
Napkins may be folded in a variety of ways and may be placed in the center of the dinner plate. in the water glass, or to the right of the forks.