What Side does the Napkin Go On, And Why, And How to Use it

2024-04-30 Updated by Shawn

The functions of a napkin can be a wiping for the mouth and preventing juices from dripping onto clothes. When you have a dinner, a small napkin also hides many etiquette secrets. Today, uncover the various details and etiquette hidden in napkins together. Now, let's learn all about the basics of what side do the napkins go on, how to place folded napkin on table, where to put napkin when going to restroom and more.

what side does the napkin go on

What side does the napkin go on when setting a table?

Where to place napkins on table? There are two ways. Put the napkins on the left of the plate.

napkin is on the left of the plate

Or put the napkins on the plate.

napkin is on the plate

Sometimes napkin is also placed in the glass. You may have seen this arrangement in medium-sized restaurants or bistros. It is considered appropriate for restaurants of a casual or mid-level style. You will never see it in a higher calibre restaurant, and of course you should avoid it at home.

napkin in the glass

Overall, you can either place the napkin directly on the plate or on the left side of the plate. Both are acceptable and suitable for restaurants or home receptions. Remember that the one on the left is yours and the napkin on the right belongs to the guest sitting on your right.

Why does the napkin go on the left?

This may stem from historical traditions where servers would place napkins on the lap of the most important person or on the left side of the plate to signal that it was for the main course.

Additionally, many people associate the left side with strength, dominance, and leadership, which could also contribute to why the napkin is placed there.

What side does the napkin ring go on?

If a napkin ring is found on the napkin, it should be placed in the upper left corner of your seat after removing it. After the dining is over, pick up the napkin, thread it through the napkin ring, and place one end of the napkin towards the center of the dining table.

Napkin usage

Before dining

Gently unfold the napkin. If it is a relatively large napkin, it can be folded in half or diagonally and placed on the thigh. If it is a relatively small napkin, it can be fully unfolded and then placed on the leg. Why are napkins usually folded or spread out on the thighs instead of around the neck? Because as long as the amplitude is not particularly large when you eat, the probability of food juice dripping on your legs is much higher than throwing it to your chest, and it is not aesthetically pleasing to wrap around your neck.

During dining

During dining, it is important to clean your mouth with a napkin from time to time, otherwise the oil and greasiness not only affect your image but also make others uncomfortable when they see it. Ladies who have applied lipstick should gently press their lips with a napkin before drinking alcohol, wipe off the lipstick, and avoid the lipstick imprint sticking to the glass.

If you have to leave the table midway, fold the napkin up, with the dirty side facing up, and place it on the chair.

After dining

Before getting up, you should pick up the napkin from your lap, fold it up, fold the dirty side inside, place it on the left side of the plate, and then stand up and leave the seat.

When should you unfold the napkin?

Here we are, the hostess has just sat down, so you can do the same (because, as you probably know, you are not supposed to take your seat before the hostess). You can now unfold the napkin and place it on your lap, even before being served your first course.

Where does the napkin go when you leave the table?

Where should you place it when you need to leave? It actually depends on whether you intend to come back or not, like after having been to the bathroom. If you will return, you should put your napkin on the chair seat, or on the chair arm, but never the back, which would be too visible and inelegant. This would indicate to the waiters that you are still present at the table, and that they should not remove your cutlery. At this point I advise you to check that there are no food stains on your napkin that could leave a mark on the chair.

If you are done with your dinner, then you need to place the napkin on the table. This tells the waiter that you are finished with your dinner, and ready for your plate and cutlery to be cleared. French put the napkin on the right of the plate when they leave while British put it on the left of the plate when they leave.


What side does cutlery go on?


Do napkins go on left or right?


What side does the fork and knife go on?

What side does the silverware go on? Forks should be set to the left of the plate, with knives placed to the right. Soup spoons should be placed on the right of the knives.

The number of knives and forks is equal to the number of dishes, and they are arranged from the outside to the inside in the order of serving. So the outermost knife and fork or spoon is used for appetizers, the middle knife and fork is used for eating fish, and the knife and fork closest to the plate is used for eating meat.

Does salad plate go on left or right?

Bread and butter plates, plus the salad plates, go on the left side of the dinner plate above the fork.

What side does the glass go on?

There are at least three kinds of glasses at the top right of the dining table, from left to right, they are water glass, red wine glass and Baijiu glass.

Written by Shawn
Hi, this is Shawn from Softer Paper Co,. Ltd. We started this blog to record the knowledge we know along the way and help other people to get the useful information. And if you want to purchase toilet paper in bulk, feel free to contact us.
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