Every man, woman and child should know how to properly set a table. You’d be surprised by how many people don’t know something that you can use for the rest of your life.
Learn and love it. The most basic of rules: forks on the left, knife and spoon on the right with the blade of the knife facing inward. Naturally, you won’t have that many utensils or glasses on an average night, but glasses should always go directly above the knife and continue out to the right. Don’t set out silverware or plates that you don’t intend on using.
A more formal place setting paired with decorations and candles can turn a simple dinner into an elegant evening. Tiering makes a dramatic different. To tier a table, take any raised surface/box (like a Tupperware container) and place it upside down at strategically placed spots on the table. Cover the tiers with a table cloth that matches the one on the table already. Make sure the ends are all tucked underneath the fabric on the tiered cloth. Wrinkle the fabric at spots the would be most beneficial to your arrangement. Tiering is especially useful for a small table that needs to hold a lot of food or for candlelight dinners.
When preparing a table for a dinner party or date, the most important rule is to make sure the table remains functional. Even the most beautiful place setting can be rendered worthless if it is too crowded that it becomes uncomfortable!