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Small-scale redecorating, continued

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I like using cloth napkins: they bring a little extra added dignity to a meal, even if I’m just dining on cheeseburgers with one of my sticky nephews. And they’re always nicer for when company comes around, and you want to appear fancier than you maybe actually are. The only full set I’ve got are seriously ancient—as in, I got them as a wedding present and I’ve been divorced for close to a decade ancient—and so it occurs to me that it might be time for an upgrade. Something on the more durable side of things, like these from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply. Maybe a mix of a few blacks and yellows each is what I’ve got in mind.

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Wolfum makes so many spectacular napkins I honestly don’t know which I’d choose.

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Thomas Paul’s stuff is always rather cheeky, but pretty at the same time. I like the orange with the blue here a lot.

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Classic, classic and a not bad price.

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Posted on January 31st, 2014 20 Comments

20 Responses

  1. Dianne says:

    The Wolfum ones are soooooo beautiful that they make me want to start using cloth napkins! And get white dishes to show them off. And get a sold table runner or table cloth to make them pop. And, well, redo the whole dining area around the napkins!

  2. Jen says:

    I agree with you on the cloth napkins–even if we’re sitting on the couch eating takeout, it makes dinner seem a little more civilized. And you get points for being, you know, “environmentally conscious.”

  3. c.w. says:

    The napkins I use the most are old-school linen napkins (very pearl necklace demure cardigan type) that I picked up in a thrift store decades ago for a buck a piece. I throw them in the wash and fold them right out of the dryer and don’t care a whit if they are a little bit wrinkled. They’ve grown softer and more beautiful over the years––well worth looking for in a Goodwill or some such.

  4. Lara says:

    Love the wolfum ones. And the Thomas Paul. Get two of every single style and make an eclectic set to mix it up! We always use cotton napkins – why not? My kids love them, but do NOT get white, cream or light colors for obvious reasons… Life shoud not be about laundry.

  5. Beth Ellen says:

    I have my own handmade ones (18″square)–all crazy prints and colors, double sided. We use them all the time-they are cotton. I agree that they do make dinner more civilized! I have also made plenty of 12″ square ones (see attached photo) for a set of triplets I know to use in their lunch boxes. They are fun to make, give and use.
    /Users/bethfink/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Previews/2013/09/14/20130914-140630/2UZ6X4YFRpifo%8NbYfz3A/IMG_1390.jpg

  6. jacqueline says:

    We use cloth napkins at home, but nothing as cute as any of these. We go strictly for utilitarian black cotton, as I don’t have to worry about food stains as much. Got them at BB&B, and am quite satisfied with them.

    But maybe I should think about a colorful set for company. The pink ones from Schoolhouse are lovely.

  7. sprylie says:

    We use cloth napkins, and they do get lovely and soft after a while — and by we I mean adults and two under 9 years old. My only recommendation is go with pattern over solid. Just makes sense, you use it with a free-er heart if you’re not worried about visible stains. I mean, I know you get them so you can stain them with curry or what have you, but you just do it more lightly when there’s pattern, I find. I like Wolfum #s 4, 5, and 10!

    I just remembered -the French family with whom I stayed as a teenager had little cloth envelopes with their names embroidered on, in which they stored their napkins for the week (or sooner if washing was seriously necessary–they were practical but not slovenly). Still makes me sigh with satisfaction, this one little aspect of their very tidy, frugal, very French lives.

  8. Lori mac says:

    I like Crate & Barrel for cloth napkins, and lately I have been finding Vera design cloth napkins (and tablecloths) in TJ Maxx/Home Goods. I am a sucker for Vera Neuman.

  9. Robin says:

    These are SO good Kim!! Thank you. Obsessed with the top left in that Wolfum image. I have a cream linen table cloth and white heath plates. i have spent WAY too many hours looking for the right napkins. (ps. this is my first comment on your site! how!? what!? yay!)

  10. Viajera says:

    I think the giraffe ones are scarf-worthy. Were I a guest, I might feel bad wiping pasta sauce on them. Agree cloth is nice though.

  11. Mieke says:

    I have vintage (grandmother’s) linen, which I use for special occasions & launder myself, but patterned is the way to go for everyday. We use napkin rings to tell ours apart as they needn’t be laundered after each use unless one is 3, exuberant, &/or having spaghetti. I have a serious fabric hoarding problem & pretend that making my own napkins & tablecloths justifies it.

  12. Jan says:

    The Schoolhouse Electric are great looking but sadly only 15 1/2″ square — too skimpy.

  13. Suz says:

    And…I am turning into my mother. These are almost to pretty to use. All of them. And that last one has a 70s beach towel vibe that I seriously dig.

  14. Susan says:

    I always wanted to purchase cloth napkins but wonder about the upkeep. Do you iron after washing them?

  15. Beth Ellen says:

    I will be visiting TJ MAXX/HOMEGOODS for those Vera napkins-I would love to find some of those! Since we use them all the time, we can never have too many. Some of my handmade ones are getting a bit worn.
    Also, seeing the ones you posted, Kim, and thinking about my own makes me want to make more!

  16. Kiki says:

    I adore Thomas Paul. I also have some of his plastic plates which I use daily. Now I’ll get the napkins as we’ll!