Which Side of the Plate Does the Napkin Go To?

Table setting is all about knowing the proper placement of plates, glasses, utensils, and linen napkins. It's about creating an inviting and pleasing dining experience your guests will enjoy.

Table napkins both serve a functional and practical purpose. They are used for wiping your mouth while dining and as a decorative element to enhance your tablescape.

Ever wondered which side of the plate the napkin goes to? This blog will go over the details of napkin placement, which can take your table setting to the next level.

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Traditional Napkin Placement

Traditionally, the napkin sits on the left side of each place setting. It is either neatly folded on the left side of dinner plates or laid to the left of the forks.

Placing the napkins on the left side allows guests to easily reach for them with their left hand, leaving their right hand free to handle utensils. It is a tiny detail that makes dining easier!

Modern Place Setting

In contemporary place settings, there is a trend toward more creative ways to arrange napkins. There is a growing trend of putting the napkin in the center of the plate.

Some hosts also opt to place napkins in elegant napkin rings. They would then position the napkins above the dinner plate to create a focal point, or to the left or right for added style.

Another modern presentation is creative napkin folding. Instead of being laid flat, napkins can be folded into a variety of shapes and designs. They function as eye-catching accents, adding appeal to the table.

Practical Considerations for Napkin Placement

Take into account these tips for setting your napkins for a stylish, well-executed table setting:

Table Shape and Size

The size and shape of your table matter in determining where to place your napkins. Larger tables provide more flexibility in arranging your napkins to ensure that all guests are comfortable.

For round tables, it is more practical to place the napkins on the left side of the plate setting or in the center of the table for easy access by guests. For rectangular tables, place napkins on the left side of the plates or forks. 

Formality of the Occasion

Your event's formality influences how you arrange your napkins. If you are arranging a formal table setting, it may be suitable to lay napkins on the left side of the plate in a traditional way.

In buffet-style settings, it is more convenient to place the napkins on a napkin holder or stack toward the beginning of the buffet line. For casual gatherings like outdoor picnics, you might take a more relaxed approach to reflect the laid-back vibe. 

Styling Tips

You can create table settings that are both functional and stylish! Start by ensuring that all napkins are aligned with the other pieces on the table, such as the plates and the dinnerware. To add style, use different napkin folds or slide them in exquisite napkin rings.

Layer your napkins with other table linens like tablecloths, runners, and placemats to add color and texture. You can also use decorative centerpieces and floral arrangements as focal points. 

Follow these tips to upgrade the overall dining experience of your guest at your next event.

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