How to Create a Stunning Table Setting with Chargers

How to Create a Stunning Table Setting with Chargers


The dinner table is often the focal point of any event serving a formal meal. In order to dazzle guests when you’re hosting, you’ll need to go the extra mile to ensure your table setting exudes elegance, sophistication, and character. Beautiful charger plates can help you do just that.

A simple table addition, charger plates are both practical and aesthetically pleasing, making them an easy way to elevate the experience you provide for your guests. So, how can you create the perfect charger plate set-up for your table?

Here’s everything you need to know about crafting a table setting with chargers, from what they are to how to use a charger plate properly. 

Table setting with chargers: White plates, golden fork, wine glasses, and floral centerpiece

What Is a Charger Plate?

A charger plate is a large plate typically reserved for use at formal dinner events and fine dining restaurants. An important distinction about the charger plate is that it’s not meant to hold food. In fact, food should never be placed directly on a charger plate at all, as the decorative materials on the plate may contain toxic elements. So, it’s best to let chargers serve their intended purpose. What charger plates are designed to do is hold the dinner plate, protect the table and tablecloth, and provide an elevated appearance. 

Table setting with chargers: Brown charger, white plate, grey napkin, menu card, silverware on textured tablecloth

3 Reasons to Opt for a Charger Table Setting

You can beautify your table setting in many ways, from spectacular centerpieces with faux flowers & greenery to eye-catching table linens and chic disposable dinnerware. So, why use charger plates at all? Are they really necessary? 

While it may be an additional element to consider, table settings that utilize charger plates are a worthwhile value-add. They provide an air of refinement, while also offering a way to incorporate pops of color, different textures, or unique shapes and patterns to play into your overall event theme. 

Here are the top three benefits of choosing a table setting with chargers

1. Make a Statement

Perhaps the biggest reason people love a charger place setting is because it’s a visually pleasing way to set a table. In the same way that high-quality backdrop stands elevate photos, charger plates take dinner table settings to the next level. They serve as a frame that highlights the table’s dinnerware and make for a picture-perfect meal. 

2. Protect the Table and Table Linens

Although the primary focus of charger plates tends to be on their appearance, they also have a few significant practical purposes. Most notably, they are a protective barrier between the food and the table/linens, which helps to prevent stains and messes while also reducing the amount of cleanup. 

3. Retain Heat

Charger plates can also help retain heat for the plates placed on top of them, enhancing your guests’ dining experience and keeping the food warm for everyone, even if dinner is served to tables in a staggered delivery style. 

table setting with chargers: White plates, wine glasses, flowers, candles, modern kitchen background

How to Use a Charger Plate 

When setting a table with chargers, there’s specific etiquette to consider if you want to make the most of these decorative additions at your next event. 

Fortunately, knowing how to use a charger plate is fairly simple. Use these quick tips to make it even easier:

  • Place Chargers Before Guests Arrive: It’s always best to have your chargers placed and ready to go as part of your table setting before anyone walks through the door. Not only does this take last-minute stress off your plate (pun intended!), but guests will see your tasteful setting and be immediately impressed.
  • Align Them Properly: According to proper etiquette in regard to charger plates, you should place them between the silverware and beverage glasses, as well as one inch from the edge of the table.
  • Never Serve Food on Them: Charger plates are meant for decorative purposes only and can be made from materials unsafe for consumption, so avoid placing food directly on them.
  • Remove Chargers After Entrees: Dessert should not be served on a charger plate. Instead, after your guests have finished their entrees, remove both the dinner and charger plates to create space for dessert plates or bowls.

If you get overwhelmed by formalities, just follow our simple suggestions and you’ll have no problem executing a flawless dinner event with your charger plates. 

Feeling good about charger plate etiquette? Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process for creating a stylish table setting with chargers! 

Table setting with chargers: White plates, gold cutlery

How to Set a Table With Charger Plates in 10 Easy Steps 

To provide your guests with a sophisticated experience at your next dinner party, we highly recommend incorporating chargers for place settings sure to impress. Here are 10 simple steps to follow when setting the table with chargers:

1. Place Charger Plates

Place the charger plates directly on top of the tablecloth. The charger essentially serves as a placemat so you can typically forgo these unless you’d prefer to add mats for aesthetic purposes. Make sure to leave about two feet between each plate to allow enough elbow space for your guests to eat comfortably.

2. Set Dinner Plates

The charger plate serves as the base and dinnerware comes next. Once your chargers are perfectly arranged, go ahead and place your dinner plates on top of each one. 

3. Add Soup Bowls and/or Salad Plates

When a meal includes salad or soup, these dishes are typically served first in the course lineup. For this reason, it’s helpful for you and your guests to place your salad plates or soup bowls on top of your dinner plates. If you’re serving both soup and salad, place the salad plates first, followed by soup bowls on top.

4. Position Forks

Formal dining etiquette calls for forks to be placed on the left side of the dinner plate and we agree — it creates a clean, organized table set-up. The standard recommendation for placement is to set larger dinner forks one inch from the left of the charger and smaller salad forks to the left. 

5. Arrange Knives and Spoons

With your forks neatly set, you can mirror them on the right side of the charger plate with knives and spoons — unless you’re not serving anything that requires a spoon, then you can just place the knives. The knives should be one inch from the right of the chargers, and the spoons should be to the right of the knives. 

6. Add Water Glasses

Water glasses can be placed directly above the knives on the right side of the charger plates. For an extra elevated aesthetic, choose stylish glasses that complement your table setting. Whether you opt for gold accents or modern shapes, you can use glasses to add extra flair to your table setting. 

7. Place Additional Glassware

If you’re hosting a more formal event, like a wedding, awards ceremony, or fancy gala, you’ll need to consider where to place additional glassware in your table setting to avoid overcrowding the table. For example, typical wedding table settings with chargers, centerpieces, and additional decor like candles will oftentimes require space for champagne flutes, as well as wine or cocktail glasses. It can be tough to find a place for all these table elements, but we can help guide you. 

Our rule of thumb is to place champagne flutes to the right of the water glasses since every guest will be given one for the toasts. Then, any additional glassware that guests have selected on their own can be placed to the right of previously set glasses and angled slightly down toward the edge of the table. Any subsequent glasses should follow that same pattern to keep the table settings clean and cohesive. 

8. Arrange Napkins

There are many options for placing your specially selected cloth napkins to ensure they’re a focal point. Our favorite go-to napkin placements are:

  • Beneath your fork: A classic style never fails.
  • On top of your plate: Feature a clever fold or knotted napkin.
  • In your water glass: Create a “fan” shape with your napkin while maximizing table space. 

Most importantly, make sure your napkins are folded neatly and consistently from table to table.

9. Include Bread Plates

Space permitting, bread plates can be placed on the upper left side of the chargers. If your dinner table is already at max capacity, you can forgo these plates and guests can place bread on their salad or dinner plates. 

10. Add Additional Cutlery

There may be additional cutlery to consider, depending on what you’re serving. Extra cutlery should always be placed outside the matching main silverware if needed. For example, dessert forks would go to the left of the main dinner forks. 

table setting with chargers, golden utensils, and lit candles

Quick Tips for Charger Place Settings

Congrats, you now know how to set a table with charger plates! Just remember these quick tips to create the perfect table setting:

Don't Hang Chargers Over the Edge of the Table

Prevent chargers from hanging over the edge of the table by placing them at least an inch from the edge.

Keep Plates Equidistant from One Another

Charger plates are largely about their visual appeal — nothing distracts from that more than haphazard placement. Two feet of space between each charger is ideal.

Remove Chargers After the Main Entree

Chargers are not meant to be utilized when serving dessert. Make sure to remove them when all guests are finished with the main course. 

table setting with chargers, adorned with crystal candle holders and cutlery

Find Stunning Charger Plates at eFavormart

Charger plates not only make an impact on your event’s aesthetic — they can also make for a faster, simpler cleanup process. When you’re ready to host your next dinner event, use this guide to gain inspiration for charger plate setting ideas and impress all your guests! 

table setting with chargers, glassware, and dried flowers

At eFavormart, it’s our mission to help you create unforgettable events your guests will talk about for years. Explore our elegant charger plates in various colors, patterns, and styles. You can also find a variety of gorgeous tablecloths and runners, festive party supplies, and even high-quality event decor for large events. Explore eFavormart today to find everything you need for your next event!