Investing in napkin rings may seem a little ridiculous in a time when the cost of just-about-everything is rising, but hear me out. In this article, I'll cover why I love them and think you will too, a brief history in case you want to get really nerdy and also some creative uses for them.
Why I think the Napkin Ring is a dining-table must have
Simply adding napkin rings to your table setting can transform it from basic and bland to spectacular new dimensions. Napkin rings give you the opportunity to add richness in colour, texture and shape to your dining space, I defy your guests/family to not to be wowed by your table laying with these fabulous additions.
I came across these bow napkin rings which have been handmade by a wonderful lady in France, each one hand sculpted out of the finest silk velvet. When adding them to my kitchen table display they made the whole scheme glisten.
Soft, silky and simply adorable, I haven't yet had a dinner party where these aren't one of the first topics of conversations. In fact I adorned my own wedding breakfast tables with them too, what I wasn't expecting was that the guests would be pocketing them and taking them home, but I couldn't blame them!
As I child we never really had napkins and therefore napkins rings at meal times, possibly because my mother couldn't bear the idea of even more washing, who can blame her! Now as an adult myself, when it comes to laying up the table for special occasions the most exciting part for me is the napkin ring. I like to think of it as the cherry on top!
A brief history on the napkin ring
I'll quickly give you a quick history of the mighty (to me) napkin rings, and why they will always be popular.
Not only is the napkin ring a visual delight, back in around 1800, the Bourgeoisie (i.e. the French!) used napkin rings to help with hygiene issues. By identifying whose napkin belonged to who, its stopped germs spreading between washes. Very quickly the concept spread to the Western world and the rest they say, is history.
How to use napkin rings them including in ways other than on the dining table
Ok, hopefully I've now sold you on why napkin rings look so great. Now for how to use them.
Consider the time of the year, I love having several different styles to address this. Christmas naturally lends itself to more of a red and green theme with the velvet texture and design of a bow, a present for each guest at their seat on the table. These bows also tie perfectly onto the tree as a unique decoration. Alternatively we hang them along the mantlepiece in the garland to add some draping, the silk adding a stunning shine. Even at Easter I like to hang them off a twig-made-tree amongst hanging decorative eggs!
Reference: Luke Edward Hall Instagram Christmas Tree
When summer comes around and it's time to lay up the garden dining table, I don't think there's anything better suited than a gingham napkin ring. These bring back nostalgic memories of school uniforms and summer days with picnics and wicker baskets.
If at the end of a dinner party I have any left, (they often get taken home as a parting gift!) I like to find novel ways to keep them on display. You can use them to hold back curtains, like tie backs. Or use them as a cable organisers, why have cords all tangled when you can have decorative bows keeping them organised!
A child's birthday party on the Horizon? I personally always remember the party bags being a highlight. You can up your game in this regard by attaching them to the outside of the bag with personalised names. Fun , novel and a nice memento for your guests to take home, adults and children alike! You may even spot these bows used as hair accessories!
Take your table laying to new levels with the napkin ring
When it comes to laying up the table, there's a real art behind it. Just like creating a beautiful home, this process involves many layers and textures to create visual depth that will delight.
First consider your background - your tablecloth. I love to use cotton block-printed ones, it doesn't matter if it's a summers day, Christmas morning or a grey autumn afternoon, adding something that injects colour and pattern will bring an instant burst of energy to the room.
On top of this add place mats or charger plates, these help to ground the tablecloth and define the place settings, your table will now look tidy and organised. Or alternatively you could just use these, see my new range of placemats here.
Next up is cutlery. Cutlery should be placed in the order of use; that is, from the outside in.
Depending on how fancy you're feeling, you can lay out side plates for those warm bread rolls you may or may not be serving. Don't forget to include a butter knife on each of those plates if you do!
Glassware and flowers will go in the centre of the table, I like to try and coordinate these so the colours work together. If I have lots of my girlfriends over I like to use my hobnail pink water glasses. For a more wintery evening I may choose a recycled green water glass which is slightly more earthy and brings an element of the outside in.
Selecting the right napkin ring
Finally its time to decide on napkins and napkins rings. I like to use a fairly neutral napkin, either linen or cotton and allow the napkin ring to do the talking!
My beautiful range of ruffled linen napkins look particularly gorgeous when used on a summer dining table. Paired with the gingham napkin rings, these take me straight back to school sports days with our ruffled white socks and gingham summer dresses.
The scalloped edged cotton napkins which feel as soft as butter add a playful twist to the plate, these pair really well with the silky velvet bows.
Hopefully you now have some insight on not only why I am so obsessed with the age-old napkin rings but also how to make them work inside your home in more ways than one. I'd love to see how you've got creative with these, so please do send me pictures!
Love Holly x