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Gone are the days of paper napkins at the dinner table— welcome to the new age of cloth! Once reserved for formal occasions and fancy dinner parties, cloth napkins would only make special appearances at the table. Nowadays, they’re a staple of the modern home. Not only do they instantly elevate any table setting or dining experience, but they’re also reusable, sustainable alternatives to their paper counterparts.
Whether you’re looking for a set for a special occasion, registering for napkins for your home, or upgrading from paper, many options abound! From linen in every style and color to patterns, florals, stripes, and cotton, there’s a napkin out there for every table and occasion.
Read on for the best cloth napkins.
Best Overall: Food52 Five Two Everyday Soft Cotton Napkins
Cotton napkins with the look of linen? Yes, please! We love these all-occasion, easy-to-care-for napkins because they’re casual enough to be used every day but also feel refined for special occasions. Plus, they come in a range of chic colors and have a vintage-inspired hemstitched edge— what’s not to love?
Best Personalized: Mark & Graham Monogrammed Italian Washed Linen Napkins
Setting a table with monogrammed dinner napkins is a class act. This set is made from 100% organic Italian linen and comes in a range of vibrant shades. Choose from a selection of fonts and motifs—these napkins will last through many a meal!
Best Stripes and Checks: Amber Lewis for Anthropologie Grayston Napkins
Stripes and checks are both classic and casual. This neutral cotton set, by interior designer Amber Lewis, has a natural vibe that’s perfect for a laid-back summer setting.
Best Patterned: Kirkland Indigo Napkins
Mix it up! A variety of patterns are perfect for an eclectic table setting. These napkins come in a medley of indigo prints that are casual and chic, with a bit of a summery boho vibe.
Best Hemstitched: Sferra Festival Dinner Napkins
Whether you use them every day or just on special occasions, hemstitched linen napkins are about as classic— and classy—as it gets. These come in a dazzling range of shades—from neutral taupes to vibrant pinks—so choosing one to suit your table will be a cinch.
Best Linen: Hawkins New York Simple Linen Napkins
Linen napkins are luxe, laid-back, and look great on just about any table. This set is made of high-quality Belgian linen that is woven, stonewashed, and finished in Portugal. They come in a range of sophisticated hues—perfect for mixing and matching if you can’t choose just one!
Best Preppy: Mark & Graham Typographer's Seersucker Dinner Napkins
Nothing says preppy like seersucker. Add in a grosgrain trim and it’s 'Preppy' with a capital P. These striped cotton dinner napkins come in a selection of vibrant shades with contrasting ribbon detail. Include a monogram for a personalized touch.
Best Modern: Block Shop Textiles Hans Napkin
Modern art meets the tabletop in this set of napkins. Hand printed with a minimalist motif on un-dyed linen, these napkins have a chic sensibility for a contemporary setting.
When choosing cloth napkins, it's important to consider your table decor and lifestyle— but we do have some favorites! If you’re looking for something to use every day as well as for more formal occasions, the Five Two Everyday Soft Cotton Napkins are an excellent all-around choice. They’re versatile, come in a range of stunning shades, and are made from high-quality pre-washed cotton. For a set that’s festive and formal, we like the Matouk Scalloped Napkins for their elegant flair. And for a personalized touch, Mark and Graham's monogrammed Italian Washed Linen Dinner Napkins are winners.
How to fold cloth napkins
Wondering how to fold a cloth napkin? It’s easier than you think! While cloth napkins folded into fans and swans are impressive, keeping it simple is the way to go. A classic rectangle fold is timeless, chic, and will leave you with plenty of energy to focus on more important things— like enjoying the party!
Start by ironing the napkin and then fold it in half to create a long rectangle. From there, fold the napkin in half again, bringing the two open edges to meet. Make a final fold by bringing the folded edge to the open edge and— viola! A perfectly folded rectangle napkin.
What size cloth napkin is best?
You may have noticed that cloth napkins come in various sizes. They range from a 12-inch square for a luncheon napkin to a decadent 22-inch square for a more formal dinner napkin. We suggest a napkin in the 16-inch to 18-inch range which is large enough to lay under silverware without being cumbersome on the lap or overwhelming on the table.
Why trust Brides?
Brides contributor Elizabeth MacLennan has been scouring marketplaces around the world— and web— hunting down that just right object for over 15 years as a prop stylist. Read: she’s seen just about everything when it comes to tableware! Plus, she has a penchant for beautiful linens. With a discerning eye and astute mind, she considers quality, function, and design when she’s vetting products. That means— these cloth napkins are the best of the best!