A simple, common household chore is to set the table. Like many things, it can be made more complicated and can provide entertainment for enthusiasts, but at its most basic, it involves putting the things on the table that will aid in eating a meal. A simple table setting is to put a plate (or bowl), a glass (or cup) and utensils at each place where someone will be sitting. The elements that are put on the table for each person are called a "place setting". Other parts of setting the table can include putting out shared condiments, such as salt, decorative items, like flowers and other items that may be used for serving the food (serving utensils, hot pads, etc.).
Fancier table settings are often people's etiquette nightmare. In general, a setting with multiple utensils is laid out so that the outer utensils are used first. In a truly elegant scenario with plenty of people to serve, it is not as difficult because extra utensils, plates, etc., are not left lying around on the table to confuse people. Remember, it is not polite to correct someone else's etiquette, except in limited circumstances when asked (or when teaching someone for whom your are responsible).
- Setting the Table on Wholesale Table Linens.com has a fun interactive diagram where you pick the courses, and it shows you where the dishes and flatware go in a formal setting, other information about how much room to leave for each person is also available on this site.