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I’ve told my husband’s family that they would think nothing of using a cloth hand towel or a washcloth as a house guest. Same holds true for cloth napkins ! I fold when warm out of dryer and never iron. I air dry with a single fold the good holiday linen ones and then fold again. No iron ;-)

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Petra Trunkes

Napkin should not be under anything. Think of it as being accessible to a server to place on your lap for you. A diner should not have to disturb the presentation to put the napkin on their lap. Emily Post

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Webado Webada

My main comment is I always use a tablecloth, with or without placemats on top of it. I actually hate restaurants, no matter how posh, where they serve directly on the table with neither tablecloth nor placemat. It makes me feel icky to see cutlery being placed directly on the table surface.

For the kitchen table I use a vinyl tablecloth day-to-day, but for the dining room table it's always a cloth one. Lately all my cloth ones are mixed cotton & polyester, no ironing needed and they clean well. I have a few tablecloths in plain colors and also some with patterns. It depends on the china set I use, what goes with what. I have several china sets, ranging from daily use Corelle (for the kitchen) to stoneware and fine porcelain (which gets used once in a blue moon LOL), plus a large Christmas dinner set - it was Mom's, don't know what possessed her to get it as I don't recall ever eating out of it. I brought it home after she passed because neither of our kids cared for it and I figured we'd be the ones hosting Christmas dinners anyway.

For formal dining I use paper napkins, but with patterns and colors that go with the china and tablecloth. Sometimes I fold them nicely inside a glass.

I also have the cloth napkins that match most of the tablecloths, but I don't like using them as napkins. Occasionally I may use them as placemats on top of a plain color tablecloth. It all depends how I feel, what china I use and how many people I have for a sit down dinner. I cannot have more than 10 (and that's a squeeze), usually it's 6 or 8.

I only have 6 dining room chairs and 4 kitchen chairs (they match in size and style and I got them all reupholstered lately in the same fabric and color). I can add 2 more seats if I add a small table at the end but this poses all manner of problems such as adding small wood blocks under the main table (which is a pedestal) to raise it just a bit to match the other table and the extra seats will be folding chairs.

Fortunately I have a very large tablecloth for such instances and even a large set of china for 12, including silverware. I've not had more than 8 people for dinner in a very long time though, usually it's just 6 and that's perfect.

This coming Christmas we'll be 6, so my concern will be just to create a nice meal that we will all enjoy. Christmas and Easter are the 2 main occasions when I prepare everything myself. The rest of the year it's mostly hubby's game and that's fine by me. If we happen to have dinner guests at other times it will be a joint effort.

Concerning glassware .... I only put out one glass for each place setting. It's good for red and white wine and also for beer. My rationale is that guests stay with one type of drink most of the time either white or red wine or beer. Oh I have other glassware, but they don't match and I prefer not to clutter the table. Of course for any drinks before or after the meal I have a variety of glasses that can be used, including bubbly flutes. Now if I could only remember to replenish the bar .... We aren't alcohol drinkers in general except at dinner parties and then just a little wine or beer, so the bar is neglected most of the year. Time to do a booze run ....

As for the cutlery, I like using knife rests. I have a set of crystal ones which are great since they are barely visible.

Oh and the darn dishwasher, supposed to take 14 place settings according to the ad, well that's a lie. At least not with all the different sizes of plates and all the cutlery and servings utensils and glassware. We always need to run it twice even after a small dinner for 6 and still wash some stuff by hand. Oh the 1st world problems we have ;)


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