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Rules for Setting a Breakfast Table

Updated February 21, 2017

In our modern, informal society, proper table setting has fallen out of fashion. In formal restaurants and at fancier occasions, however, setting the table in the proper way can lend an air of class and sophistication to the occasion. Complement the time and care you took to prepare a classy breakfast with a proper table setting.

Preparing the Table

Before you even begin to set the individual place settings, prepare the breakfast table itself. According to "Miss Beecher's Housekeeper and Healthkeeper," by Catherine Esther Beecher, the breakfast table should be aligned with the walls of the room and placed on a rug, which is also square to the room. Carefully centre a tablecloth so it is aligned with the table and is smoothly placed on the surface.

Tea Tray

If you are serving tea with your meal, place a tea tray in the middle of the breakfast table. Align the tray with the table and set the tea cups and saucers at the front side of the tray for ease of access. Place other components of the tea set such as the sugar bowl, cream container and slop bowl to the back, with the sugar spoon or tongs resting on top of the sugar bowl.

Breakfast Settings

Each breakfast setting should be arranged in a specific way, but the order in which you place the pieces can vary. Place a dinner plate at the setting along with two bread and butter plates: one centred on top of the dinner plate and one to the right of it. Place a dinner fork to the left of the dinner plate and a dinner knife followed by a spoon to the right of the dinner plate. Place a water glass to the left of the dinner plate on the edge nearer the centre of the table and a juice glass to the right also toward the centre. Finally, fold a napkin diagonally once to form a triangle and place it to the left of the fork with the long edge aligned with the fork. Place one breakfast setting for each guest so that they are arranged evenly.

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About the Author

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.