I’m a shopping writer – these are the best napkins to buy this hosting season

From durable linens to delicate cottons, these are the napkins you’ll use again and again

An embroidered napkin on a white plate.
(Image credit: Homes & Gardens)

It’s all too easy to go without a napkin. But every time you do, you leave your clothes vulnerable to spills and stains and forgo the final decorative touch to your table. 

The best cloth napkins are practical, pretty, and easy to clean. They’re essential for casual meals and more formal affairs. There are neutral napkins to suit any table setting, as well as patterned cloths for a little color. Linen napkins are sturdy and durable, while cotton cloths are soft to the touch. There are so many styles of napkin, sold in so many different stores, that it can be difficult to know where to start. 

That’s why I’ve done the looking for you. I’ve spent hours searching the sites of the top home decor dealers to bring you the very best napkins. Though I haven’t tested them yet, I’ve scoured the specifications and read countless customer reviews. I’ve narrowed it down to my top nine. 

Whether you’re thinking through your Thanksgiving table setting ideas or wondering how to set the perfect Christmas table, you’ll need some of the best napkins to tie it all together.  

Best napkins 2024

Best napkin FAQs

Are napkins really necessary?

Yes. Cloth napkins look better, feel better, and work better than the paper alternative. While it may be easier to use a paper towel, it’s far less sustainable. Plus, the cost of all those disposable packs soon adds up. A cloth napkin may be more expensive outright, but it has a far lower cost-per-use ratio than a single-use napkin.  

What is the best material for napkins?

Which napkin material is best all depends on what sort of meal you’re eating. If you’re fond of food that can spill and stain, you’ll appreciate the absorbency of a cotton napkin. Linen napkins are easiest to fold into elaborate shapes, so they’re ideal for formal dinners, while single-use serviettes are more suited to casual affairs.  

Where should napkins be placed on a table?

According to etiquette, a napkin should be placed to the left of your plate beneath your fork, or on top of your plate in a pinch. With that said, there’s no one way to set a table. Feel free to play with your napkin placement to find the arrangement that suits your space. 

Final thoughts

Once you’ve bought some of the best napkins, it’s time to set the rest of the table. It’s worth investing in one of the best flatware sets for casual or formal dining and choosing one of the best plates for your centerpiece.  

Emilia Hitching
Sleep Editor

Emilia is our resident sleep writer. She spends her days tracking down the lowest prices on the best bedding and spends her nights testing it out from the comfort of her own home – it's a dream job. Her quest to learn how to sleep better has taken her all around the world, from mattress factories in Arizona to sleep retreats in Scandinavia. Before she joined Homes & Gardens, Emilia studied English at the University of Oxford. She also worked on the other side of the aisle, writing press releases for regional newspapers and crafting copy for Sky.