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How to Set a Table

Bed Bath & Beyond
How to Set a Table
Ready to set the scene for a great dinner party? This piece-by-piece guide highlights the things you need to set a great table.

Vinyl Table Pads: Start at the table’s surface with a protective pad to spare your dining table from scratches, heat, and spills.


Tablecloth: Layer on a holiday-hued tablecloth for a look that’s both practical and beautiful.


Placemats: You can use placemats alone for a casually chic style, or layer them with a tablecloth for contrast.


Napkins:  Cloth napkins add elegance, but if you’re skipping those, remember a paper version.


Runners: Another great way to layer for interest, you can use them alone or with a tablecloth, and as a vertical or a horizontal design accent.


Napkin Rings: Napkin Rings are a fun and relatively inexpensive way to add a personal, festive touch to your table.


Chargers: Decorative, over-sized chargers can add a splash of sparkle and style to a table.


Dinnerware: Whether you’re using your holiday best or your everyday dishware, what’s key is having a plate for everyone.


Serveware: Double up on key items so you can spend less time passing things and more time enjoying the meal. Check your menu to see if you’ll need gravy boats, serving bowls, platters, salt & pepper shakers, butter dishes, pitchers for water, or wine decanters.


Flatware: Count your place settings well ahead of the holiday meal to be sure you have enough fro everyone. TIP: Purchase spare forks and teaspoons. It’ll eliminate washing dishes between courses.


Stemware: Making a toast is much more celebratory when you’ve got the right glass. It’s always good to have red- and white-appropriate options on hand—and don’t forget glasses for water and other drinks, too.


Centerpiece & Table Decor: Don’t forget the centerpiece! Just make sure that it’s not too large so guests can see each other around the table. You can also add smaller table décor items like votive candles, pinecones or ornaments to dress the middle of a large table.

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