How to Set a Table With Paper Napkins

Written by suzie faloon
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How to Set a Table With Paper Napkins
Paper napkin with embossed seashell design

Paper napkins work nicely when you are entertaining. They can be used for a picnic, a formal dinner or wedding reception. You can use napkin-folding techniques for the more decorative table and celebration. Recycled paper napkins are available for people who feel it is important to live as environmentally conscious as possible. Paper napkins are much easier on a budget, and they save on water consumption. You can set a table with a paper napkin just as you would a cloth one. Paper napkins come in a wide variety of vibrant colours.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Paper napkins
  • Napkin ring
  • Ribbon or fibre

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  1. 1

    Choose paper napkins that are appropriate for the meal. Many matching colours are available. You can also find napkins that are as soft as cloth and have embossed images for a beautiful addition to your table scape.

  2. 2

    Fold napkins into a rectangular or triangular shape. Set the napkins directly onto the centre of the plate. For a less formal meal it is fine to lay the fork on top of the folded paper napkin.

  3. 3

    Place the napkin onto the plate at a formal meal or at the left side next to the set of forks. You can fold it into a decorative shape.

  4. 4

    Roll the silverware into a paper napkin, and secure the bundle with a napkin ring or tie with fibre such as raffia or ribbon. Set the bundle on the plate at a holiday or birthday meal.

  5. 5

    Fold the napkin in a delicate wavy fan shape, and secure it with a decorative napkin ring appropriate for a sit-down wedding reception meal. The silverware can be rolled into a napkin for a buffet meal. The bundles can be secured with ribbon that matches the wedding colours, and can be placed in a napkin-lined wicker basket on the table next to the main-course plates.

  6. 6

    Keep dessert napkins in a neat stack at the side of the dessert plates until it is time for them to be used.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not use economy napkins for a buffet, celebration or formal meal. They are too easily torn and are hard to fold properly.
  • Do not store formal dining napkins in an area where there are smokers. The smell infiltrates the paper and causes them to have an unpleasant odour. You may not smell it, but your guests will.

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