If there was to be only one rule for appropriate utensil placement it is that everything has to be neat or, more specifically, geometrically spaced with the centerpiece consummately controlling the center and the placements sitting at equal distances from each other. So long as this rule is recognized, it is difficult to create an unsightly dinner presentation.
There are several other general decrees. The knives are always situated with the cutting edge pointing toward the plate. Dessert spoons and forks are catered in with the dessert. Also, never place more than three of any utensil. If there are more than three courses being served, the fourth, and all other following courses, must be accompanied with the utensils to be used.
Additionally, if you want to make a lasting impression on the next dinner party you host, here are a few other utensil placement guidelines to adhere to:
Avoid fingerprints: If you want to avoid fingerprints on your utensils, grip them by the "waist," the area that lies between the eating end of the utensil and its handle.
Even up the odds: When an uneven number of people are being seated, the odd-numbered seats are placed directly opposite each other, dividing the other setting into equal halves.
Mind your tines: When the tines of the fork are positioned downward, that's known as the continental style placement of flatware. Conversely, American style is when the tines are positioned upwards.
Start from far away: Flatware is placed on the table in accordance with the way it is to be used. The first to be used starts from the furthest away from the plate. Also, the flatware is never organized according to their respective sizes.
As long as you're remembering how to appropriately set a table, remember that StainlessLUX has a beautiful Stainless Steel Utensil Holder that can top your list of unique housewarming gifts.