Guide to Napkin Rings and Holders: Material, Style, Size

Saffron Marigold - Updated: August 18, 2023

Napkin rings, also known as serviette rings or napkin rings and holders, are bands made of various materials that hold a dinner cloth in place. In 1800s France, these accents were used to identify a person’s place at the table since every family member had their own cloth. Silver was the material of choice, and rings were decorated with motifs such as crosses, initials of the user, braids, floral designs, and ornate flourishes.

But, today’s serviette rings are available in a wide range of materials and styles. We’ll review different types of napkin rings based on material and style. Plus, ideas on how to pair ring holders with dinner napkins.

Photo: Patricia Maristch

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What are the different types of napkin/serviette rings?

There are standard napkin rings that are simply bands made of a single material and figural napkin rings where the band is attached to or part of a small figurine, sculpture, or other design. For instance, figural napkin rings from the Victorian Era included cherubs, butterflies, birds, and children figurines.

Figural serviette rings can also make it easier for guests to take off the ring or to identify their place at the table. Plus, it gives a whole another fun aspect to setting up your tablescape!

Photo: Linda Halbrecht

Napkin ring materials

Napkin holders are traditionally made of silver, but today they’re available in every material imaginable. From rose gold to wooden napkin rings, your choices are endless. Keep in mind that metal rings may need to be wiped and polished regularly to prevent discoloration. Wooden napkin rings also need to be stored properly to prevent damage from humidity or spills.

On the other hand, single-use rings made of paper may be best for less formal occasions, while good quality napkin rings made of metal, wood, acrylic, and woven materials, are great for those who love to entertain on a regular basis. Hardy materials can be reused indefinitely, and versatile designs can be incorporated to almost any table setting.

Gold napkin rings

A collection of botanical cuttings, hand-cast from real plants to preserve their exquisite details—perfect for an elegant garden party.

Example of gold napkin rings featuring a collection of rings made out of die-cast herbs
Photo: terrain

Pair with these gold napkins…

Delicate, petite, scrolling vines that perfectly match the aesthetic of your delicate golden napkin holders.

Saffron Marigold, Gardens of Versailles ~ Yellow Grey Floral White Dinner Napkins

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Wooden napkin holders rustic napkin holder

Rustic napkin holder made of solid wood for an organic vibe.

Example of a wooden napkin ring made of solid brown mango wood
Photo: World Market

Pair with these nautical napkins…

Marry light or dark wooden rings with these blue dinner napkins for a cool coastal look.

blue cloth napkins navy napkins
Saffron Marigold, Pacific Blue ~ Rustic Navy Blue Ocean Oriental Asian Napkins

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Silver serviette rings

An extraordinary silver napkin ring featuring a dragonfly in repose.

Example of a figural silver napkin ring featuring a silver dragonfly
Photo: Wolf & Badger

Pair with these blue napkins…

Mystical lotus flowers for your elegant silver napkin rings.

Saffron Marigold, Midnight Lotus ~ Blue and White Floral Party Dinner Napkins

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Paper napkin holders

Laser cut paper napkin holders for an exquisite look—great if you’re trying to keep it eco-friendly and within budget.

Example of paper napkin rings and holders featuring laser-cut designs on pastel papers

Pair with these floral napkins…

Gorgeous honeysuckle print napkins to complement your graceful paper napkin holders.

Saffron Marigold, Empress Gardens – CP ~ Elegant White Cloth Floral Napkins Set

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Beaded serviette holders

Playful and charming, choose beaded napkin rings made by artisans for a personal touch.

Example of a beaded napkin ring featuring a floral design made of blue beads
Photo: Sabavi Home

Pair with these boho napkins…

Use artisan-made napkins like this Moroccan-inspired set for a fun summer celebration.

Moroccan table napkins set on a Moroccan tableclothh
Saffron Marigold, Mosaique Bleue – Sky ~ Boho Print Blue Cloth Napkins

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Woven napkin holders

A nature-inspired luncheon calls for an organic material like this handwoven napkin ring made of natural Colombian palm.

Photograph of woven napkin ring in the shape of a leaf
Photo: Macondo Forever

Pair with these nature-inspired sage green napkins…

These dinner napkins are perfect for nature or woodland-themed party.

Saffron Marigold, Woodland Ferns ~ White, Light Blue, Sage Green Cloth Napkins

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DIY napkin rings

Made of real grapevines, these DIY holders sing with rustic charm.

Example of DIY napkin rings featuring a woven ring made of grapevines
Photo: The Mtn Bluebird Co

Pair with these rustic cream and red napkins

Use these geometric, Turkish-inspired napkins for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other cozy gatherings.

Saffron Marigold, Ruby Kilim ~ Red Decorative Cotton Cloth Table Napkins

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Figural napkin rings and holders

A fluttering hummingbird to enchant guests.

Example of figural napkin rings
Photo: Perigold

Pair with these floral napkins…

Pair a whimsical figural design with these delightful dinner napkins.

Saffron Marigold, Enchanted ~ Floral Dinner Table Napkins

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Napkin rings and holders for every season and occasion

If you have a particular holiday or celebration in mind, take a look at these napkin holders and dinner napkin pairings for table decor ideas.

Easter napkin rings

Adorable, wooden bunnies for your endearing Easter table setting.

Photograph of Easter napkin rings featuring rabbit-shaped wooden rings
Photo: Etsy

Pair with these French cottage napkins…

In the same vein, these quaint cloth napkins were made for an Easter table.

Saffron Marigold, Morning Dew ~ French Country Provence Yellow Blue Dinner Napkins

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Thanksgiving napkin holders

A copper-toned, pumpkin-shaped napkin ring to celebrate the season of gratitude.

Photograph of Thanksgiving napkin ring featuring a metal pumpkin figurine
Photo: Yacanna

Pair with these orange dinner napkins…

Your autumnal tablescape will look even more bountiful with these orange, cream, and sage green dinner napkins.

Saffron Marigold, Orange Blossom ~ Persian Mediterranean Floral Print Napkin

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Christmas napkin rings and holders

Spread holiday cheer with these modern farmhouse napkin rings.

Photograph of Christmas napkin rings paired with rustic dinner cloth
Photo: Jac Patrissi

Pair with these Christmas print napkins…

Amp up the festive spirit with our holiday print Fete Royale, inspired by vintage Christmas wrapping paper.

Saffron Marigold, Ruby Kilim ~ Red Decorative Cotton Cloth Table Napkins

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Wedding napkin holders

Elegant and timeless, an olive branch design will make your wedding shower or engagement party that much more special.

Photo: Enta Global

Pair with these elegant white napkins…

Choose a graceful set of cloth napkins like this ivy lace pattern in a white-on-white palette.

Saffron Marigold, Ivy Lace ~ Elegant White Cotton Cloth Dinner Napkins

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How big are napkin holders?

In general, napkin rings are about 1.75 to 2 inches in diameter. For reference, cloth napkins are 16 x 16, 18 x 18, 20 x 20, or 21 x 21 inches squared. So long as your dinner cloth is not overly thick or folded over too many times, they should fit into a standard napkin ring.

What is the use of napkin rings?

Napkin rings are used to bring a decorative flourish to your tablescape. They also help make a table setting look more refined and formal, depending on the occasion. Traditionally, they were used to identify a person’s place at the dinner table.

Do people still use napkin rings?

Yes, people still use serviette rings to add a personal touch to a table setting. Whether it’s to enhance the look of your everyday tablescape or add extra glitz and glam to a celebration meal, napkin rings help make your table setting look more cohesive and aesthetically pleasing.

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