napkin weirdo

by Grace Bonney

The title sort of says it all: I’m a total napkin weirdo. I consider my napkin obsession bizarre mainly because I don’t actually use them. I like them too much to get them dirty. I know, sign me up for the next round of crazy obsession shows on TLC.  Much like my hoarding tendencies with cards, I buy napkins and handkerchiefs whenever I see one with a great color or pattern. While checking out Barneys’ sale page (still not cheap enough, of course), I caught these new napkins ($12–$30) from Kim Seybert and was totally transfixed by the color. So punchy and bright, they’re perfect for spring and summer and, if you’re me, framing and/or storing in a way that prevents their intended purpose. You can order these individually right here and here, but Barneys also has a few nice designs from Madeline Weinrib and Deborah Rhodes, if you’re looking for a little less color. Click here to check out their full table linens collection online. xo, grace

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  • Don’t feel bad, Grace. I asked for a napkin to take home with me at a restaurant in Beirut recently because I loved the design so much. They looked at me a little weird, but returned a minute later with a bag containing a dirty napkin for me to have. The server handed it to me saying, “It must be washed.” They had no more clean ones to give me :) It now proudly adorns my espresso machine…

  • I have a similar obsession with napkins and tea towels. I see it as being environmentally friendly as we these instead of paper napkins or paper towels!

  • A friend of mine has vintage scree printed napkins and handkerchiefs framed and hung all over her house, they look really beautiful…you are definitely not alone Grace!

  • Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who collected these wonderful little works of art! I have a cedar chest full of vintage and antique embroidered napkins and hankies from flea markets and family! Like the others here I too use them, as many are made from linen and very durable!

  • Call me a weirdo too then. I have a ton of gorgeous napkins. I even have a few I designed and had made. I love using napkins with colors and patterns, as they add so much to a table. If you keep using the same china you can get a different look all the time. And napkins take up a lot less room than another set of china.

    I know how you feel about the getting dirty part Grace, but I still cannot get myself to not sure them. Paper napkins for a small cocktail party or dinner are just unacceptable!



  • My husband is always on me to get rid of my napkins, I am always looking for more, I love the idea of framing some, especially if they are colorful. Any one have other ideas for using them? I was recently in the Philadelphia airport and they have such an interesting exhibit by the way of unfinished needlepoint collected at thrift stores and then finished all in white, they are beautiful….

  • I really like my mismatched but color coordinated napkins from Picking Daisies in San Luis Obispo, CA. These came to me as a gift, and I have been ordering ever since…

  • So glad I am not alone in this obsession of napkins and tea towels. :)

    @Carla, I fold mine lengthwise into thirds, and stand them up in a beautiful basket. They look like a giant bouquet of flowers. When I get back home next week, I will take some pictures.

  • I am a weirdo that uses all of my napkins. My kids get a cloth napkin packed in their lunches. It’s the one part of folding the laundry I actually enjoy. Folding stacks of matching napkins and storing them in a bread box.
    Carla I frame my tea towels, great way of rotating art.

  • Lol! I’m so relieved to know I’m not the only one who has a thing for napkins. I always find myself asking before buying another one, ‘Now, what am I going to do with this?’ because I haven’t done anything with the ones I’ve already gathered. Maybe I’ll just enjoy them and stop looking for something to ‘do’ with them.

  • I totally understand. They’re little works of art. Just like the cards. And postcards. And bandanas. And scarves. All the little collections I like. :)

  • just use them and your home meals will be even more fun! take it from someone who has messy kids and cloth napkins that never seem to stain, you’ll be happy you did.

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