How to Set a Round Table

by Gryphon Adams ; Updated September 28, 2017

Centering the napkin on the plate saves room on a round table.

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Items you will need

  • Round tablecloth or 2 table runners
  • Centerpiece (such as floating candles, fresh flowers or a fruit arrangement in a round bowl)
  • Cloth napkins to match or coordinate with the tablecloth
  • Silverware
  • Dinner plates (and any other dishes needed for the meal, such as soup bowls or salad plates)

A round table provides a dining arrangement suited for comfortable conversation with everyone at the table. The seating positions are all equal, with no "head of the table" position. A round table works well for home dining and events such as parties and wedding receptions. Choices in table settings set the mood for the meal. An attractive, balanced table setting and centerpiece create an inviting presentation for guests. Table setting styles range from traditional to casual, bold or holiday-themed. Following basic guidelines for setting a round table allows you to create a harmonious table with confidence.

Step 1

Center a tablecloth on the round table. Alternatively, laying two table runners, crossed in the middle of the round table, provides a decorative table covering. Check that the table is completely clean if you opt to leave the table bare.

Step 2

Position the centerpiece in the middle of the round table. A round, shallow bowl with floating candles in water, fresh flowers in a rounded bouquet or a fruit arrangement in a round bowl work well as centerpieces for round table.

Step 3

Center a plate at the place for each guest, directly in front of the chair, with the edge of the plate 1 inch from the table edge. This follows the basic rule for table setting. Avoid awkwardness in positioning plates and silverware by avoiding the use of place mats on a round table.

Step 4

Set the napkin and flatware for each place setting 1 inch from the table edge. Flatware for each setting includes a knife, forks and spoons, if needed, with the handle end of each piece 1 inch from the edge of the table. Set the napkin in the middle of the plate to save space if the table is small for the number of guests. This creates a streamlined arrangement on the round table.

Step 5

Position a wine glass above each plate. To save space, a wine glass can serve for either water or wine. This will prevent crowding a water and wine glass at each setting on a round table.


  • A 48-inch round table seats six to eight guests, and a 60-inch round table seats eight to 10 guests.

    Center a salad plate or soup bowl on the dinner plate, if needed, and then center the napkin across the salad plate or dinner bowl.

    Napkin rings add an elegant or festive touch. Fold a cloth napkin in quarters and pull the middle corner through the ring.

    Provide small water or juice glasses for children.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.