June 1, 2023


Creative living

The Best Cloth Napkins 2021 | The Strategist

9 min read

Photo: Retailer

Using cloth napkins instead of paper ones at dinner (or for any meal) is not only an easy way to elevate an at-home dining experience — something most of us may be looking to do right now — but also a simple step toward living more sustainably. Not to mention, cloth napkins almost always look more sophisticated than paper ones, no matter how intricate their designs may be. As interior designer Elaine Griffin puts it, “Nothing says ‘I care’ more than cloth napkins” on a dinner-party table (and we are optimistic that we’ll be setting dinner-party tables again soon enough). To find the best cloth napkins, we reached out to Griffin and ten other experts — including interior designers and hospitality professionals — about their favorites. Most of their 23 recommendations below come in sets, so we’ve started with those and organized them by price. Beneath the sets, we included a handful of individually sold cloth napkins for folks who only need one or two — or who like to mix and match.

If you’re new to cloth napkins, here’s a set that might help you ease into using them. My Drap’s cotton napkins come in a roll much like paper towels, and function like them, too — except, unlike paper towels, these can be washed and used again. (They’re kind of like our favorite Swedish dishcloths in that way.) They come recommended by Vogue sustainability editor Tonne Goodman — who loves them so much that she once wrote an ode to them — and real-estate agent (and Strategist contributor) Robert Khederian. Says Khederian, “These are pure genius: A cocktail napkin that comes on a roll in a pack of 50 for under $20. Tearing them off when company comes over is a shortcut to being the most elegant host.” According to him, the napkins, which come in a bunch of colors and patterns, are “semi-reusable” — Khederian notes that “you can wash them like you would any other napkin,” and the manufacturer says each napkin is good for about six washes.