Napkins Buying Guide

Available in a variety of colors, patterns, and textures, cloth napkins are an easy way to update and personalize the look of your table without buying new dishes. They make even everyday meals feel special, and whatever their color, they’re "greener" than paper napkins.

Types of Napkins

Types of Napkins

Fabric is the primary difference between cloth napkins. Your most common choices are linen, cotton, polyester, and blends of these three. Each fiber or weave has its pros and cons, and each is practical in some dining situations.

Linen

Classic linen napkins provide a high-quality look, and natural linen’s long fibers are absorbent and durable. However, napkins made from this fabric often cost the most and involve the most care.

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Canvas Home LLC
$13.99

Flax, used in making linen, thrives in the damp weather of northwestern France. When we discovered this fine French linen, we simp...ly couldn't resist. Stone-washed for softness and depth of color. read more

Waterford Linens
$7.99

Create a bold statement for your holiday table with the Topaz Table Napkin. The napkin features rich hues of gold and red with a j...acquard finish. Napkin measures 21" x 21". Coordinate with the matching tablecloth (sold separately). Machine wash cold. read more

Waterford Linens
$13.99

This solid-colored napkin brings a simple refinement to every meal. Its fine texture and crisp linen makes your table setting spec...ial on any occasion. The napkin features a classic design with 1" mitered borders and matching hemstitch. Measures 21" x 21". read more

Waterford Linens
$13.99

This solid-colored napkin brings a simple refinement to every meal. Its fine texture and crisp linen makes your table setting spec...ial on any occasion. The napkin features a classic design with 1" mitered borders and matching hemstitch. Measures 21" x 21". read more

Cotton

For everyday use, 100 percent cotton napkins boast many colors and patterns and offer a softer feel than linen napkins.

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Global Crafts
$25.99 $23.39

This set of four 16 inch square napkins are hand woven by artisans in India. Story Behind the Art: Sustainable Threads is committe...d to cultivating long-term fair trade relationships with low-income artisan communities. The artisans they work with are... read more

Global Crafts
$32.49 $29.24

This set of four 20 inch square napkins are hand woven by artisans in India. Worldstock Country: India Shape: Square Style: Tradit...ional Material: Cotton Season or Holiday: All Seasons Care Instruction: Machine Wash Exact Color: Multi Set Size: Set of 4... read more

Global Crafts
$26.49 $23.84

This set of four 16 inch square napkins are hand woven by artisans in India. Worldstock Country: India Shape: Square Style: Tradit...ional Material: Cotton Season or Holiday: All Seasons Care Instruction: Machine Wash Exact Color: Multi Set Size: Set of 4... read more

$42.99

The Hemstitch Napkins by Now Designs are made from 100-percent cotton. The napkins are the traditional oversized 20 inches L x 20 ...inches W in size. They are durable and have a style hemstitch finish along the borders. Available in multiple colors.... read more

Synthetic Blends

Although napkins made from polyester and other synthetic fibers are handy for casual family meals, they are not as absorbent and feel less substantial than natural-fiber napkins.

Other Materials

Fabrics such as silk, satin, or lace make elegant -- although less durable -- napkins for special-occasion dinners.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

When shopping for cloth napkins, set your priorities based on how they will be used. There are so many choices and price levels that you might want to buy some napkins primarily for dinner parties and others for casual, everyday meals.

Color & Pattern

For formal occasions, start with napkins that match your tablecloth -- generally white or ivory. For informal use, you can be creative in mixing colors and patterns, but keep your other table linens, dinnerware, and the room’s decor in mind. For example, if your dinnerware has a pattern, solid-color napkins take a supporting role. On the other hand, you can accent plain white dinnerware with patterned or textured napkins. Also consider your menu and diners: Serving pasta or pizza to children? Use napkins in a stain-hiding print or dark color. For supplemental napkin sets, have fun with holiday themes or decorative trims.

Care

Cloth napkins make the best impression when they’re clean and crisp. Check labels for care instructions. All napkins -- except perhaps for silk, satin, and lace -- should be machine-washable. Linen, cotton, and linen/cotton-blend napkins look better after ironing, while synthetic-fiber linens are less prone to wrinkles.

Size

Cocktail napkins range from 6 to 10 inches square. Napkins for sit-down meals are intended to protect your lap from spills and stains, so they measure 18 to 24 inches square. Some specialty linen stores sell larger “European-size” napkins.

Quantity

Stock up on at least a dozen cocktail napkins if you throw parties. Luncheon and dinner napkins are often sold in sets of four. Assume you’ll need one napkin for each place setting, then add more in case of accidents. Have backup sets on hand for use when others are being laundered.

Dining on sale

Land of Nod
$25.00 $19.97

Made from 100% organic cotton and topped with a subtle crosshatch pattern, this cloth napkin set is stylish enough for special occ...asions yet durable enough for everyday use. Best of all, the set is machine washable, which means it will last meal after... read more

Land of Nod
$25.00 $19.97

Made from 100% organic cotton and topped with a subtle crosshatch pattern, this cloth napkin set is stylish enough for special occ...asions yet durable enough for everyday use. Best of all, the set is machine washable, which means it will last meal after... read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$9.18 $8.70

Better Homes and Gardens Costa Brown Microfiber Napkin, Set of 4:Easy careMaterial Content: MicrofiberDimensions: 13"L x 0.75"W x ...1.58"H (33.02 cm x 1.91 cm x 4.01 cm) read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$7.96 $5.36

Better Homes and Gardens Chelsea Napkin, Set of 2:Set of 2 napkinsEasy care: spot clean onlyCoordinates with tablecloths, napkins ...and placemats65 percent Polyester/35 percent CottonAvailable in multiple colors read more

$220.00 $185.00

#ONLYATNM Only Here. Only Ours. Exclusively for You. Polyester tablecloth and napkins. 13-piece set includes 72 x 108 tablecloth a...nd 12 22Sq. napkins. Machine wash. Imported. read more

Waterford
$18.00 $13.99

A one hue wonder. The Addison napkin combines the timeless style of solid red with the versatility of pure linen, dressing the tab...le with effortless elegance every time. Finished with hemstitch detail. From Waterford. read more

No Brand
$14.99 $12.99

Buffalo Check napkins. 100% Cotton. Machine wash cold. Tumble dry low. Set of 4 napkins. Size 17x17.

Fiesta
$36.00 $24.99

Zigzag your way to a rich, bold and beautiful look with these vibrant Fiesta napkins. In lapis.Features 4-pack 19 x 19 (each) Micr...ofiber Zigzag design Construction & Care Polyester Machine wash Imported Size: One size. Color: Blue. Pattern: Solid. read more

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