There's a great article now up on our website entitled How To Set A Table. It's well researched and covers the general rules without getting bogged down with specific circumstances. The following is an excerpt:
There are 101 ways to properly set the table, depending on what you plan on serving. However there are some general rules to follow that seem to apply across many cultures and varied situations. Use these correctly and wow your guests with your great knowledge!
- Start setting the table with the main plate (dinner, charger) about an inch away from the edge of the table. Same for the utensils.
- If you intend to serve soup, then the soup bowl is place directly on top of the main plate.
Read the rest of the article here: How To Set A Table.