Beautifully folded napkins set the scene for a meal to remember. They serve both a practical purpose—by tucking in utensils, displaying menu cards—and purely for decorative flair by completing the theme in the place setting. To inspire you, we present over a dozen ways to spiff up a plain napkin.
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Bow Tie Napkin
Here, a pretty bow adds playfulness to the table. To make, spread a dinner napkin out, lying flat. Fold opposite sides in so they meet at the center. Then fold horizontally again at the center to form a narrow, ribbon-like shape. Next, fold short ends in so they meet at the center. Cinch in the middle with a ribbon in a coordinating color, and glue at back. Voila!
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This is easy as 1, 2, 3! Start with a square dinner napkin and give it a three-way fold for an elegant angled pocket. It's handy for tucking flatware, a place card, or a printed menu.
Photography: Manal Aman3 of 9
For a Thanksgiving feast, this triple-napkin turkey with a fanning tail makes a bold statement from the moment your guests sit at the table.
Photography: Shanna Sullivan4 of 9
Make things merry at your holiday table with a tabletop tannenbaum. This one—with its upturned folds resembling evergreen boughs—is topped with a star "topper" that serves as the place card.
Photography: Debi Traub5 of 9
Green isn't limited to shamrocks and leprechauns. At your epic spread, fold these four-leaf clover napkins.
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Fold a napkin in thirds, wrap it around the plate, and tuck the ends under — you're done! Pair a botanical accent, like a faux or dried branch spray-painted gold, with an unfussy band.
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Also called the water lily or the artichoke, this fold will be familiar to anyone who has ever made a paper fortune teller. The center provides the perfect spot to place a dinner roll, party favor, or place card.
Photography: Bryan Gardner8 of 9
Lover's Knot Napkin
At first glance, two linens are folded to become one. But it's really just one linen napkin. In light of its romantic name, this design is lovely for a wedding or anniversary celebration.
Photography: Bryan Gardner9 of 9
Simple yet sophisticated, this design is perfect for sealing a printed menu, a party favor, or ... who knows? It's up to you. Lift the flap, and your guests are impressed with a hidden surprise.