What Does it Take to Master the Art de la Table?

Tablescaping Mastery: How to Craft Dining Perfection with Art de la Table.


Art de la table,” often referred to as the “art of the table,” is a term that encompasses the artful arrangement and presentation of a dining table, especially in a luxurious or formal setting. Achieving a beautifully arranged luxury table involves attention to detail, adherence to etiquette, and the use of quality tableware. Here’s a detailed analysis of how to arrange a luxury table, including rules, etiquette, tableware recommendations, and proper arrangement:

1. Table Setting Rules and Etiquette:

Table Shape: Choose an appropriate table shape for your gathering. Rectangular tables are best for larger groups, while round or oval tables encourage conversation.

Tablecloth: Start with a high-quality tablecloth made of linen, silk, or fine cotton. It should drape elegantly, with a slight overhang on all sides.

Table Setting: Place settings should be evenly spaced, with the same distance from the edge of the table to the plate and utensils for each guest.

Flatware Etiquette: Follow the “outside-in” rule for flatware placement. Utensils are arranged in the order they will be used, starting from the outermost pieces.

Glassware: Position wine glasses and water glasses to the right of the plate, with the water glass closest to the plate. For a formal setting, include a champagne flute.

Dinnerware: Use fine china or porcelain plates. Charger plates (decorative, oversized plates) can be placed underneath dinner plates for an added touch of luxury.

Napkins: Fold napkins neatly or use napkin rings. Place them to the left of the plate or on the plate itself.

Centerpiece: Opt for an elegant centerpiece that doesn’t obstruct guests’ views. It could be a floral arrangement, candles, or a combination of both.

Name Cards: For formal gatherings, use name cards at each place setting to indicate assigned seating.

2. Tableware and Brands:

Dinnerware: Consider renowned brands like Wedgwood, Bernardaud, or Royal Copenhagen for exquisite fine china or porcelain dinnerware.

Flatware: High-end flatware brands include Christofle, Robbe & Berking, and Puiforcat. Choose a set that complements your table setting.

Glassware: Look for crystal glassware from brands like Baccarat, Waterford, or Riedel for wine and champagne glasses.


3. Proper Arrangement:

Flatware: Starting from the left side of the plate, arrange the salad fork, dinner fork, and fish fork in order. On the right side, place the fish knife, dinner knife, soup spoon, and salad knife. Dessert flatware can be arranged horizontally above the plate or brought in when dessert is served.

Glassware: Place wine glasses from left to right in the order of use: red wine, white wine, and water. If serving champagne, place the champagne flute to the right.

Bread and Butter Plate: This small plate with a butter knife can be placed above the forks or to the left of the plate.

Condiments and Salt & Pepper Shakers: These should be evenly spaced along the length of the table.

Centerpiece: Ensure the centerpiece doesn’t obstruct guests’ view or conversation. It should be low enough for easy interaction.

Name Cards: If using name cards, position them above or to the left of the napkin or atop the charger plate.

4. Lighting and Ambiance:

Candlelight: Add candlesticks or votive candles to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Ambient Lighting: Ensure the lighting is neither too bright nor too dim. Use chandeliers, sconces, or table lamps to achieve the desired ambiance.

Music: Soft, background music can enhance the dining experience. Choose classical, jazz, or other genres that suit the occasion.

The “art de la table” is about creating a visually pleasing and harmonious dining experience. Attention to detail, etiquette, and the use of quality tableware play vital roles in achieving this. By adhering to these guidelines and selecting the right elements, you can create a luxurious and memorable dining setting for your guests.