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Elegant dining table setting featuring coral roses centerpiece, white plates, gold cutlery, and patterned tablecloth.

12 Napkin Folds to Elevate the Look of Your Tablescape

Oh, the table setting saga — it’s more than just setting the table with plates, flatware and glassware. Enter the unsung hero of the dining table: the Napkin. Fold it, twist it, make it stand up and do a little dance; this underappreciated piece of fabric is your ticket to turning an ordinary meal into a gallery-worthy tableau. Hosting a laid-back beach party with a touch of boho chic? Or a sleek black-tie soirée where bow ties are part of a mandatory dress code? Whatever your bash, the right napkin fold has the power to transform your tablescape and quite literally, the look of your event.

From the effortlessly elegant to the borderline origami, napkin folds are not merely used for practical purposes; they’re e an integral part of your tabletops’ design. In this blog, we’ve rounded up twelve of our fave napkin folding techniques designed to jazz up any event aesthetic. Whether you’re playing it cool with minimalistic vibes or aiming to you’re your napkins a centerpiece at place settings, we’ve got you covered. Welcome to the high stakes world of napkin folding — where every crease and tuck matters.

Envelope Fold
Drawing inspiration from traditional paper envelopes, the Envelope Napkin Fold is a simple yet elegant design perfect for securing a menu card or set as a visual detail atop a charger plate or table linen. Envision using this refined style to conceal a delightful surprise at your wedding reception or upcoming dinner events. This napkin fold is not only practical for holding place cards but also adds an element of intrigue and anticipation to your table setting, charming guests as they uncover a special hidden treat.

Elegant dining table setup featuring a black plate with sophisticated napkin folding ideas for weddings, surrounded by glasses and white floral arrangements.

Diamond Fold
The Diamond Napkin Fold: where sophistication meets convenience, all wrapped up in a chic, elongated diamond silhouette. With its sharp, pointed corners, this fold doesn’t just add a dash of refinement—it’s a functional fashion statement for your place settings. A cleverly designed pouch is perfect for stashing flatware, a sprig of dried flowers, or a gracefully curated menu. Ideal for dressing up any occasion, the diamond fold turns the humble napkin into a show-stopping accessory, making it the go-to choice for hosts who want to sprinkle a little glamour onto their tabletops.

Elegant dining table settings with floral arrangements, colorful menus, artistic napkin folds, candles, and glassware on patterned tablecloths, photographed in natural lighting.

Square Fold
For a contemporary twist on classic table settings, consider the Square Napkin Fold. This modern alternative to the traditional rectangular fold presents a neat, compact square that appears effortlessly chic. Its precise, tidy appearance frees up ample space on the table, allowing your decorative plates and chargers to truly stand out. Ideal for lending a refined touch to any sophisticated event, the square napkin fold is a minimalist yet impactful choice for those looking to streamline their tablescape with a dash of modern flair.

Elegant table setting for an event with blue and white checkered tablecloths, floral centerpieces, gold-rimmed glassware, and creative napkin folds.

Layered Fold or Ghost Fold
The Layered Napkin Fold allows you to accentuate your dinner plates while subtly showcasing the napkin itself. This versatile fold can be executed in numerous styles—from a sharp, clean square that sits precisely under the plate, to a more relaxed and airy arrangement that casually flutters out from beneath. Each style serves to highlight the or menu card above it, adding depth and interest to your table setting. It’s all about creating a harmonious backdrop that enhances the visual appeal of your tableware while allowing the napkin to peek out, adding an extra layer of elegance to your table’s overall design.

Elegant table settings with floral arrangements and sophisticated napkin folding ideas: one with a simple white plate with a pastoral design, and another with a detailed brown and white patterned plate.

Knotted Fold
A personal favorite of the RS team, the Knotted Napkin Fold introduces an effortlessly charming and casual vibe to your dining arrangement, making it an ideal choice for more informal gatherings such as beach-inspired events, bohemian celebrations, or rustic parties. What we love most about this fold is the flexibility to position the knot at the center or towards one end of the napkin depending on your napkin material. Some of our favorite napkins to knot? Our Callie, Seersucker, and Velvets.

Elegant table setting featuring a bouquet of pale roses and autumn leaves, next to a place setting with gold cutlery, intricate napkin folding, and a menu surrounded by vibrant orange floral decorations.

Rectangle Fold
Introducing the timeless elegance of the Rectangle Napkin Fold—a classic favorite among event designers and hosts alike. Its simplicity is its strength, making it a versatile choice that effortlessly complements any table setting. Ideal for both formal black-tie affairs and rustic-chic gatherings, this fold exudes sophistication without overshadowing the overall aesthetic. Pair it with a menu card atop a charger plate for a polished look, or lay it directly on a linen between flatware for a touch of understated elegance.

Elegant dining setups: left, a table with candlelight, wine glasses, and a floral centerpiece featuring intricate event napkin folds; right, an outdoor setting with flowers, fruits, and a menu card.

Rectangle Wrap Fold
The Rectangle Wrap Napkin Fold is a versatile design that pairs beautifully with vibrant and dynamic table settings. Similar to its traditional rectangle fold counterpart, this folding style offers flexibility in placement—whether set in between plates or wrapped directly around the top of a dinner or charger plate. This fold can be positioned vertically as well as horizontally, or for added intrigue, at an angle. This fold serves as a subtle yet effective design element.

Elegant table setting featuring floral centerpieces and neatly arranged dinnerware, enhanced by creative napkin folding for a formal event.

Pocket Fold
Celebrated for its adaptability and neat appearance, the Pocket Napkin Fold is available in various styles such as the rectangular, square, single, or even triple pocket configurations. This fold is an excellent choice for organizing dinner settings, offering a dedicated space on the plate or table to neatly arrange cutlery, menus, floral decorations, or other petite accessories like party favors. The simplicity of the pocket napkin fold makes it easy to customize for different events, allowing it to be dressed up or toned down depending on the occasion.

Elegant table setting featuring a woven placemat with a white plate, sophisticated napkin folding, and a menu card sealed with a wax stamp, complemented by gold flatware.

Napkin Ring
The Napkin Ring Fold offers remarkable versatility, allowing you to adapt it to suit any dining occasion with a variety of shapes and styles. A favorite of our team’s this folding technique can easily be tailored to match the mood and décor of your event, making it both practical and stylish. For a more polished and structured appearance, consider rolling your napkin or folding it into a neat rectangle before securing it with a napkin ring. Alternatively, for a softer, more laid-back aesthetic, opt for a simple gather style fold by loosely collecting the napkin fabric and securing it with a napkin ring or a tying it with a decorative ribbon. This relaxed approach creates an inviting and casual feel.

Bow Fold
Bows are at the forefront of table décor this season, perfectly encapsulating the playful yet sophisticated Coquette aesthetic. The Bow Napkin Fold (whether its in the form of a bowtie or actual bow shape) adds a delightful whimsicality and feminine elegance to any table setting. By cinching the center of the napkin with a ribbon, an elegant napkin ring, or a piece of rustic twine, you can easily create a captivating centerpiece that enhances your table setting’s overall charm and grace.

Elegant table setting for a formal event featuring floral centerpieces with roses, gold cutlery, decorative china, and creative napkin folds on a linen tablecloth.

Draped (Waterfall) Napkin Fold
The Draped Napkin Fold, also referred to as the Waterfall Napkin Fold, is perfect at making place settings look more polished, particularly at banquet tables. This fold elegantly cascades each napkin off the table’s edge, providing a clear demarcation of individual place settings while also adding a layer of visual intrigue and depth. We love the look of adding a printed or colored napkin against a white tablecloth or creating a unique look with printed linens and their colored napkin coordinates.

Elegant outdoor dining setup with white chairs and tables decorated with intricate napkin folds, blue accents, and floral centerpieces under wicker lampshades.

Triangle Fold
Simple, yet statement worthy, the Triangle Napkin Fold introduces a sleek geometric element to your table décor, featuring distinct sharp corners and edges that add a contemporary edge. This fold, while anchored in traditional napkin artistry, seamlessly blends into modern and avant-garde event themes. For a creative twist, position these triangularly folded napkins off-center, adjacent to the plate and accent with a menu or escort card.

Wedding table setting with detailed event napkin folds on a gold-patterned napkin, circular wicker placemat, and elegant tableware, featuring soft pink accents and candles.



May. 10, 2024

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