5 Fine Dining Napkin Folds to Impress Your Patrons

There are many ways a dining establishment might choose to fold napkins. A common, simple solution that produces a good final result and adds to the fine dining experience is a cone fold. There is also the more elaborate lotus fold. Two simple options worth noting include rolling and draping a napkin.

Fine Dining Napkin Folds to Consider

There are many fine dining napkin folds for a business to consider, including these:

1. The Cone

A cone fold creates a neat cone from the folded napkin, which can then be used to hold silverware or a small flourish for the table. It can be made as follows:

  • Lay the napkin flat in front of you with the right side down.

  • Fold the napkin in half.

  • Turn the open end of the napkin away from you.

  • Fold the napkin so that the top layer is all the way forward, with the result pressed flat.

  • Turn the napkin over (carefully), and fold it so that the left-hand side is about two-thirds of the way across the napkin.

  • Fold the right-hand side of the napkin similar to how the left side was folded previously, and place the right-hand fold into the flap created by the previous fold.

  • Tuck the corners of the napkin into the left-hand side flap and flip it over.

The cone fold has many advantages. It is much less complicated to fold than it appears to the average customer while still producing a beautiful result. 

2. The Lotus

A lotus fold is lovely and can turn a standard square napkin into a work of origami or a similar 3D art piece. Although somewhat more complicated than the cone fold, it is easier to learn than it may appear. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Lay a square napkin flat.

  • Fold one corner of the napkin into the center of the napkin.

  • Repeat this step with the other four corners, with the result looking much like another, smaller square made of four triangles.

  • Flip the napkin over (carefully) so that the smooth side is exposed, hiding the previous folds.

  • Fold one corner of the napkin to the center.

  • Repeat the above for the other three corners, forming a smaller square resembling a present.

  • Use a finger to press down on the napkin’s center, and reach as if to pull up the flap of each corner, flaring it into a petal-like shape.

The lotus fold is particularly eye-catching and is sure to impress diners. It looks like a work of art, and unfolding one almost feels like solving a simple puzzle. It’s also worth noting that this fold is fairly compact, which can suit the overall aesthetic of your table. 

3. The Heart

As expert Nita Gill explained, the heart is a fold that produces a final result in the shape of a heart. This option is great for romantic dining experiences, especially around Valentine’s Day. 

To make this fold, follow the steps below. The result works best if using a square napkin:

  • Lay the napkin flat.

  • Fold the napkin in half, point to point, creating a triangle.

  • Find the longest edge of the triangle, and bring the two points of the triangle that touch that edge to the third edge, creating a result that looks a bit like a skewed square.

  • Fold the two points you had just moved back, creating a shape that looks like a heart.

  • Fold the topmost point of your napkin so that it is fully behind the heart. 

  • Tuck in the edges of the heart further to be a bit more rounded (if desired).

4. The Roll

Although the roll is not a fold in the traditional sense, some establishments roll their napkins. This takes up little space and allows for the addition of a ribbon to keep the roll tight. The ribbon can serve as both a flourish and a way to keep the napkin in place with little hassle. 

Although some dining establishments put silverware in a roll, many experts do not recommend this practice. Even though it’s unlikely to affect most people’s dining experience, the process of unrolling a napkin while maneuvering the silverware out so that they don’t clatter or fall can be awkward. This approach is often associated with diners or faster dining options rather than fine dining establishments. 

5. The Drape

It’s easy to confuse complexity with beauty, so we wanted to highlight the rather unusual option of draping napkins as our last example. In concept, draping is simple. Rather than fold napkins in a complex fashion, you carefully drape the napkin so that it hangs partially off the table. 

Although the drape is certainly not a napkin solution for all occasions, it is an excellent way to mark place settings when there may not be plates, such as at buffets and similar large gatherings. One notable caveat is that this should generally only be done with large napkins because it can look odd if smaller ones are used. 

Rent Napkins With Linen Rental Services

With Alsco, you can rent linen napkins at a fraction of the cost of purchasing them. When you rent napkins, you don’t have to maintain them. We replace the dirty napkins with pristine, clean napkins regularly. 

You never have to worry about the condition of your napkins. We ensure they look consistently polished. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help your dining establishment.


Heart Napkin Fold. Nita Gill.

Pretty Ways to Fold Napkins at Your Wedding Reception. (February 2023). Brides.

3 Simple Ways to Fold a Napkin. HGTV.

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Nailing 3 Hot Napkin Folds. One Kings Lane.

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