A Word To The Wise: Setting A Divine Dinner Table

Penhaligon's sits down with Paula Sutton of Hill House, who shares her top tips for setting the table for a dinner party.

Word to the Wise Dinner Table

Tips Of The Trade From The Butler

A butler is master of many a trade, don’t you know – simply ask The Omniscient Mr Thompson, the newest addition to the Portraits Mansion. One requires a sharp memory, a sharper eye, and the sharpest of ears (the better for listening at thin walls). So, in celebration of our all-knowing new fragrance, Penhaligon's has spoken to experts in their field for their wisdom on all manner of affairs.

Allow Penhaligon's to introduce, A Word to the Wise. You are most welcome, old chap.


We sat down with Paula Sutton of Hill House, who shares her top tips for setting the table for a dinner party.


Every grand table should have a floral display but beware the dreaded droop! Add a mixture of three tablespoons sugar and two tablespoons white vinegar to every litre of water to ensure bacteria doesn’t grow and your flowers are nourished to flourish for days! 

The Omniscient Mr Thompson


Ensure that your silver is the gleam of the crop! Cover in a cup of distilled vinegar and add four tablespoons baking soda.  Allow to soak for one hour, then rinse until your silver shines like peaches and gleam! 


 There’s no room to be ‘scent o’ mental’ about cooking smells! Spritz your room with a heavenly scent and light candles to delight your guests as they arrive.​


Napkins can enhance even the plainest of table settings. Bring style and sophistication to your table with crisp white linen and vintage silver napkin rings, or coloured ribbon tied in bows is a simple yet chic alternative.


Don’t be a drip! Pop dinner candles in the freezer but remember to take them out and use them 30 minutes before your guests arrive to avoid drips on the tablecloth.

The Omniscient Mr Thompson


Be the perfect guest to your host – bring along a lovely gift as a thank you! A scented candle is perfect (and a Penhaligon’s one at that)! 


Your salt and pepper mills are married and should always be kept with each other – and passed around together! Make them things of beauty and interest, too: matching copper mills or delightful dishes with tiny serving spoons are a talking point.


Make life easy! Choose starter and pudding courses that can be pre-prepared in advance, leaving you to sparkle and shine with your guests without fussing or cooking as much as possible!​


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