How To Set A Table

Ever wondered how to set a dinner table? Food writer Bre Graham shares her table-setting tips with us and tells us the best way to transform your table.
How To Set A Table
Bre knows how to put on a hell of a spread. Photo: Benjamin McMahon for DELLI.

Knowing how to set a table for dinner is a difficult skill to master. You might take it for granted as you scroll through your phone, bleary-eyed, at 9am in the morning, but you know all of those beautiful layouts you see on Instagram? Those aren’t to easy to do. Whipping up a Lamb Shank Nihari or a Creamy Halloumi Curry is one thing, but being able to present it beautifully to your guests is another kettle of fish. Bre Graham is a food writer who makes table decoration look easy. Her Instagram practically doubles as a mood board for good taste, gorgeous food styling, and subtle lighting.

How Do You Set A Simple Table?

Bre’s new cookbook, Table For Two, is full of heaps of beautifully illustrated recipes for you to cook for the people you love. It’s the kind of cookbook that you’ll want to consult before you have a romantic interest over for supper and, before you get to cooking them anything, you’re probably going to want to know how to set a table beforehand.

Whether you’re worried about the overall dinner place setting or want to know if you need more of a formal dinner setting for your guests, there are plenty of factors to consider when you’re hosting and setting a table. To help you figure out the best way to transform your dining area into a den of sophistication and allure, we asked Bre Graham to share her very best tips on how to set a table and set the mood for dinner. We’ve got you.

1. The Lighting

Putting your phone away and lighting a candle will instantly signal a shift to a different mood.

2. The Tablecloth

A simple one that you found somewhere special or lovingly borrowed from your parent’s or grandparent’s collection. All being well it will look like a disaster when the dinner is done, but that’s the sign of a good meal.

3. The Flowers

I’m not fussy about flowers – I like supermarket roses, carnations, tulips and big bunches of green eucalyptus, a reminder of Australia. I think so much of their beauty can be enhanced by how you display them, so I keep my old tiny Campari soda bottles for stunning single roses and group bunches of flowers together by shade to create big bursts of colour.

4. The Candle

There’s something instantly calming about candlelight. I like tall candles in candlesticks, so the light is at face height on the table, bathing you both in that quintessentially romantic glow: tall, plain white candles are effortlessly elegant and cost the least.

5. The Cutlery

A fork, spoon and knife per person are all you need. I pick up old cutlery sets on eBay, at markets and in charity shops. Of course, there are fun pieces of cutlery, like cake and oyster forks, steak knives and soup spoons, but they’re not essential.

6. The Plates And Platters

I have risked excess baggage charges on so many trips because I simply can’t walk past a plate or platter that I love and not bring it home. From the antique metal salad dish I found at a flea market in Athens to the plate purchased in the hotel in Paris where we spent a weekend eating strawberries. Nothing matches in my kitchen or at my table, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Find pieces that you love, and you won’t ever wish for a matching set of anything.

7. The Music

Find an album, a playlist, or even a really good radio station to soundtrack your meal.

All products featured on Mob are independently selected by our team of writers and editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Now you know how to set a table, go out and grab a copy of Bre’s book, Table For Two, so you’ve got something half-decent to cook.

Related Content

Christmas Feasting Spread
How To Make The Perfect Christmas Feast
We’re showing you how to host a proper festive dinner party with Stella Artois Unfiltered. Perfect if you’re stuck for Christmas dinner party ideas.
How To Caramelise Onions
How To Make Caramelised Onions
Learn how to caramelise onions with ease thanks to this handy how-to guide. Your shortcut to a perfectly caramelised onion awaits with these quick tips on how to make an easy caramelised onion recipe.
How To Make Peking Duck
How To Make Peking Duck
Want some secrets on how to make Peking duck? Also want to know where to find the best Peking duck in London? We've killed two birds (or ducks) with one stone right here.
Christmas Gift Guide For Food Lovers Recipe
Christmas Gift Guide For Food Lovers
From chef’s knives to aprons and pepper jelly, these are the best Christmas gifts for the food lovers in your life.
How Long To Boil An Egg
How Long To Boil An Egg
Let's cut to the chase: you want to learn how long to hard boil an egg and how long to soft boil an egg, right? This article will tell you how to do just that.
Best Instagram Food Accounts
39 Instagram Food Accounts You Need To Follow
From Eric Tries It to Carolina Gelen, these are all the tastiest food accounts on Instagram you should be following. Along with us, of course.