How to arrange table & chairs for an adult birthday dinner

Updated February 21, 2017

Arrange tables and chairs to promote a festive environment during the adult birthday dinner you are hosting. Plan out how to arrange the tables beforehand to save you from unnecessary stress or chaos on the day of the party. Consider the arrangement of the furniture, as well as a seating chart and the decorations to create the ambience you want for the party.

Draw a floorplan of the party room and position of the tables, chairs and serving station. There should be enough room for guests and servers to comfortably move around the table or between tables if you are using more than one table.

Create a seating chart to keep the party festive. For example, the birthday celebrant should sit at the head of the table if you are using one long table. Seat couples next to each other or across from each other. Put the most vocal and outgoing guests near the centre of the table and shyer guests next to them. This should keep the conversation going and make everyone feel more comfortable.

Write each guests' name on a place card to direct them to their seats. The place cards can become part of the decor or serve as party favours, depending on how you display the cards.

Decorate the table with a tablecloth, runner or place mats in the birthday celebrant's favourite colour. Use linen napkins and create a centrepiece that complements the table settings. For example, a bouquet of flowers or a tiered dessert tray filled with decorative cookies, cupcakes and other birthday desserts.

Set the table with the dinner dishes, including a salad plate or soup bowl if applicable, unless you are serving the salad or soup directly from the kitchen. The forks go on the left side of the plate, with the knife on the right side and the spoon next to the knife. Arrange drinking glasses above the plate on the right side, with the largest glass the furthest to the right.


Consider making a separate kids table and give them activities, such as colouring books or small games they can play together, to keep them occupied. A single table is the best option, if possible so some guests don't feel slighted if they aren't seated at the same table as the honoree.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Place cards
  • Table decor
  • Place settings
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About the Author

Janece Bass is a freelance writer specializing in weddings, family, health, parenting, relationships, dating, decorating, travel, music and sports. She has been writing for more than 15 years and has numerous published pieces on various websites and blogs. Bass has also ghostwritten various fiction-based novels.