Should Your Dining Table Always Be Set?

Having a dining table that is always set looks stylish and appealing, but it may not fit in with the practical needs of your home. Sometimes in order to keep your sanity, you have to allow your home to look less than perfect and instead let it serve the functions you and your family need.

Here we delve into the advantages and disadvantages of having a dining table that is always set so that you can decide if this is something you want to do at home.

Deciding whether or not you want to have your dining table set all the time is an entirely personal choice that will be dependent upon your own time constraints, the way your family uses your dining table, the age of children in your home, or any pets you have, and your own personal preferences.

The answer to the question ‘should your dining table always be set?’ is a simple ‘no.’ If you like to always have your dining table set, then there is nothing wrong with that, just as there is nothing wrong with having a bare dining table or a messy dining table.

Advantages of a Permanently Set Dining Table

There are plenty of advantages to always having your dining table set, and if these are priorities for you, then having your table at the ready might be your favorite option. Most advantages of having your dining table set are aesthetics and appearance.

Always ready

One reason some people always like to have their dining table set is so that they are always ready to accept company. For example, if a neighbor unexpectedly drops by, you can invite them in for a cup of tea, knowing that your dining table is already set and ready to welcome them.

This is a nice way to impress guests, and it also saves you time from having to set the table in the presence of visitors, so you can enjoy spending more time with them.

Looks stylish

Looks stylish

As you may have noticed from home interior magazines or ads on TV, when a company is trying to sell you a dining table, that table is usually set. This is because a set dining table simply looks more stylish. You can decorate the dining table with various things to make it look elegant and impressive, such as fancy dinnerware, place settings, and glasses.


A set dining table gives the impression that you have an enviable lifestyle, which might include dinner parties, romantic meals, and regular afternoon tea. If you want to keep up appearances with your guests, then a set dining table will help you achieve this.

Focal point

Focal point

A set dining table can be a focal point in a room, especially if the rest of the space is quite bare. Setting a dining table, including a centerpiece, can make a home look more loved and lived in.


Setting your dining table is a really nice way to coordinate it with the rest of the room. For example, if your dining room has gray walls and blue curtains, then you could coordinate this with your table settings by having gray napkins on blue plates, along with a gray glass vase filled with blue flowers. This will help to make the room feel more coordinated with a continuous color scheme.

Disadvantages of a Permanently Set Dining Table

While there are advantages to having a permanently set dining table, there are also disadvantages. These are mostly practical disadvantages that affect how you use your space and how you use your time. If you are a busy person or you have a busy home, then it is likely you will prefer to keep your table clear.


One reason that some people don’t have a constantly set dining table is that they are simply too busy. If you work full time or are busy running a family, then you may not have the time to always be washing dishes and then setting them back at the dinner table along with placemats, napkins, glasses, and cutlery.

Setting a full dining table takes effort, and not everyone has the time or inclination to repeatedly set up a table every day, or potentially after every meal.



If you have small children, then having a permanently set dining table could be both dangerous and foolish. A child could easily climb onto a dining table and harm themselves with a fork or knife or knock over glasses to cause a potentially dangerous situation. Broken glass is a safety hazard, and you probably don’t want to have to constantly replace smashed wine glasses.

These types of items are much better kept in a tall kitchen cabinet that children cannot reach or in a low cabinet with a child-safety lock so that they cannot get access.


Pets can cause damage to your set table by jumping up on it and knocking things over, which can be both annoying and expensive. You might also find that cat or dog hair finds its way onto your set plates, which would be a very unpleasant discovery when you are just sitting down to enjoy a meal.


Many people use their dining table for a variety of tasks, and this simply means that having the table permanently set just isn’t practical. If the dining table is always set, then it basically means the table is out of bounds for any other use. If you have children, they may like to use the dining table as a place to do coloring or other activities.

Older children might complete their homework at the dining table, or you might like to use it yourself for crafts such as sewing, knitting, or drawing. Since many people are now having to work from home, it’s not uncommon that a dining table also needs to double up as a workspace for a laptop or desktop computer, along with other office items such as notepads and folders.

Dust buildup

Even if a permanently set dining table works for you in a practical sense, and you have time to keep setting it, you may actually find that the dust build-up becomes too much of a problem to continue.

Having your dinnerware and drinkware out in the open on a dining table means that it is a sitting target for the dust to cling to. Even if you eat at your dining table every evening, a single day is enough time for a thin layer of dust to settle on your plates and in your glasses.

If you use your dining table even less frequently, then you can be sure your plates and glasses are going to be dusty the next time you go to use them. For those with dust allergies, this can be a big problem, but even if you don’t have allergies, you may not love the idea of drinking dust with your dinner.

It is for this reason that most people keep their glasses and plates in cabinets where dust cannot build upon them. One way you could get around this is having your table permanently set with placemats and napkins, and then only add the dinnerware, drinkware, and cutlery at the last moment when you are serving up the food.


Some people prefer a clean and simple look, and a set table doesn’t necessarily work with this. A set table can add extra clutter to a room which makes some people feel uneasy.

If you prefer a minimalist style, then you might not like the look of a permanently set table and instead would be happier with a completely bare dining table or a dining table with a simple centerpiece such as a houseplant or a vase.