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Home » Should Napkins Match The Tablecloth? (Answered)

Should Napkins Match The Tablecloth? (Answered)

  • Zak 
should napkins match tablecloths

In terms of decoration, napkins serve as the icing on the cake. They are used as a decorative piece on tables to provide color and detail while serving a practical purpose by allowing guests to wipe their hands and mouths after enjoying a good meal. In regards to table decor, should napkins match the tablecloth?

Ideally, you want to follow the same rules you would for decorating anything in your home. Napkin and tablecloth colors should complement each other either by sharing similar tones or contrasting colors, they should either add detail to the table or provide a minimalistic finish with a plain texture, and they should be presented with proper etiquette for formal events.

What you never want to do is pair napkins and tablecloths that are too similar in color, texture, and design.

One would assume that the uniformity of similar designs would make for a pleasing end-result but in reality, it would go against the rules of interior decorating and color matching.

I’ve been to events that were poorly decorated and often the napkins matched the tablecloth color and design too much. So much so, that they blended together in a way that was underwhelming and boring.

Be that as it may, let’s take a closer look at some of the details you need to consider in regards to whether or not napkins should match the tablecloth.

Are Napkins Necessary For Tables?

should you use napkins with tablecloths

Honestly, they are not necessary. In some cases, people opt to use wet wipes or finger bowls that provide a place for guests to clean their hands.

But, it’s inconvenient in some cases and there’s not much saving involved either.

You may as well complete the decoration of a table while providing access to napkins for guests to use since they’re relatively affordable.

The pros far outweigh any cons for having napkins on a table.

When placing napkins on a table, it is advisable to go the extra mile by placing it in cups or in a placeholder that matches the decor. Alternatively, place them onto a plate wrapped in a ribbon or bow.

More often than not, folding and shaping napkins into flowers or objects and placing them into cups tends to be a popular decorative option.

Tips For Selecting The Right Napkins For Your Tablecloth

tips for napkin colors

Complementary colors

You’ll see this term thrown around a lot in the home decor niche, but it can be a bit confusing because complementary colors often seem to be opposite colors.

Despite the name, complementary colors can actually be two opposite colors like black and white or gray and yellow.

Paired together, these colors draw out the beauty in each other.

One of the reasons why it is inadvisable for napkins to match the tablecloth is because the overall size of the tablecloth may drown out any aesthetic detail that could have been provided by the inclusion of napkins.

A lot of the time, people will opt for a subdued or moody tablecloth color like white, gray, black, cream, or dark blue.

To complement this choice, they opt for a napkin color that is usually bright and deep, such as gold, red, green, silver, and so forth.

This arrangement of colors tends to work the best for a modern and stylish finish.

Contrasting shades

Let’s say that you opt to use the same color napkins as your tablecloth.

There’s a way of doing so that actually works.

Opt for two contrasting shades of the same color.

You see this done all the time in homes or paintings. It’s the same as accent colors.

A light gray bedroom is usually accompanied by accessories and or carpet colors that contrast the wall color.

The bedding, pillowcases, curtains, and/or carpets are typically a darker shade like charcoal gray.

This looks extremely stunning when done correctly.

Similarly, if you opt for a light color tablecloth, it makes sense to select a dark shade of the same color for the napkins and vice versa.

Texture and patterns

The same rule of thumb applies here as it did with contrasting shades.

If the tablecloth has a busy and detailed pattern or texture to it, the best thing you can do is accessorize simply. This can be done by opting for napkins that are devoid of any pattern or texture.

Simple and bold colored napkins will suffice. As much as they look different in design from the tablecloth, in a way, they perfectly match the design.

More often than not, the color used in the pattern of the tablecloth will vary from the base color of the tablecloth itself.

So, to match the napkin with the tablecloth, select the color used for the pattern as the choice of color for the napkins!

I promise you that it will look absolutely stunning!

Final Thoughts

That brings us to the end of this article on whether or not napkins should match the tablecloth.

In most cases, it shouldn’t match the tablecloth if that requires you to use the exact same color, shade, and pattern.

Instead, the napkin should match the tablecloth in respect to contrasting and complementary colors and patterns.

Usually, it’s one or the other and that’s how it should be. 

Use your discretion when selecting the appropriate napkins for the tablecloth in use. I’m sure that you’ll make the best decision possible after applying the advice mentioned above.

With that being said, I hope you enjoyed this article on napkins and tablecloths. If so, check out some of these articles below:

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