When setting an elegant table, most of us are tempted to go above and beyond. Our first instinct is to put a lot more on the table than what we’re used to having on a daily basis. We want to impress, to create an ambiance and the feeling that this particular dinner or get together is special and should stand apart from the everyday.

Believe it or not, utility should inform every decision we make when it comes to setting an elegant table. Focus only on the things that you will need. One set of utensils for every course, never a spoon or a tiny fork thrown in for whimsy. The doyenne of modern manners, Emily Post, makes it easy for us; utensils should be placed in order of use. Forks on the left, with the accompanying knife on the right. Not serving anything your guest will need a spoon for? Then you just made your life that much easier and can leave out the spoon.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci 

We’ve all heard the expression “Less is More”. Embrace the blank spaces between the objects on your table, don’t be afraid to edit and remove things that don’t serve a purpose. Use decoration sparingly, and always choose glasses and stemware that are light, with elegant, crisp lines. Throughout your dinner, it will be your water and wine glasses that are used the entire time, so make sure that they are thoughtfully chosen and have a classic elegance that can work for any occasion.