Table manners & place settings

With party season just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to brush up on etiquette to avoid any embarrassing moments. Those table manners our parents taught us are always good to review when we’re rusty, and to share with children too. They’re life skills that come in handy not only for parties, but for business lunches or even when dining with the in-laws for the first time.


Here are some basic table manners to remember so that next time you’re enjoying a fancy meal you won’t have to ask which bread plate is yours.

Years ago, a friend of mine told me about the BMW dining approach – yes, just like the car. If you follow this tip, you’ll never grab your neighbors’ water glass by mistake. Always start from the left: B for bread on the left, M for the main course in the middle and W for water on the right. Simple yet memorable.

More essential guidelines:

  • Place your napkin on your lap as soon as you’re seated.
  • Do not start eating until everybody has been served unless the host has given you permission.
  • Pace yourself to match your fellow diners.
  • When done eating, place your knife and fork with the tines facing upwards and together as shown.


  • Put butter onto the bread plate, not directly on your roll. Break, don’t cut the bread, then butter one bite-sized piece as you are ready to eat it. Did you know this one?
  • If you’re toasting something special over the holidays, the golden rule is “one does not drink a toast to ones’s self”. If a toast is being given in your honour, don’t drink, but do reciprocate by presenting a toast back to the host.

All great tips I’m planning to practice and have fun reviewing with my kids during the holidays. You’ll find more details on table manners here  and here.

On the entertaining front, these drawings make it simple to set up the perfect table when you’re having people over for a meal.


Image via Huffington Post

I love these different ways to set up a table depending on the time of day a meal is served.Table setting

Image via by daniellemj

However, as “we” always say, rules are meant to be broken. If you’re the creative type and don’t worry much about rules, just make up your own. Feel free to create a place setting that’s interesting, pretty and photo-ready.

Table setting no rules

Image via 100 Layer Cake

You’ll find more tips on table manners, creative tablescape ideas and inspiration for the holidays on our Pinterest board.

Bon appétit!

What’s your best Miss Manners’ tip?

Liette Tousignant
Co-Founder of Under The Roof Decorating

At Under The Roof Decorating our mission is to design innovative products that help you Create the home you love™.

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