Keeping it snug!
I’ve been talking about my favorite napkin rings for quite some time now, but I’ve yet to write about the basics of napkin rings. Specifically, napkin ring sizes, because I’m sure by now you all know the different finishes a napkin ring can have.
Above is an illustration copied from Wikipedia which illustrates The napkin ring problem. While I won’t be writing about geometry today, I will be talking about a napkin ring problem that concerns me, an avid tablescaper, when it comes to determining the napkin rings to be used on my table.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but one of my tablescaping pet peeves is when a centerpiece is overly large, thus blocking the view (and conversation) from the one seated across me. Another big pet peeve of mine, one which concerns the topic we have on hand today, is when napkin rings don’t fit well around linens. As subtle as the problem is, something as simple and as small as an imperfectly fitted napkin ring can drive me nuts!
Aside from how I want others to see my table, I’m always greatly concerned about how my guests interact with my settings. Call it a physical form of user experience if you want, but a big part of being a great host is making sure that my guests enjoy the experience, down to every last inch. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), creating this perfect environment requires me to be a little bit obsessive about even the tiniest of details, hence Robin’s napkin ring problem.
“Will this napkin ring go with the theme of my table?”, “Do these napkin rings complement the rest of my scape?”, and “Will this napkin ring fit around my napkins perfectly?”, these are just some of the questions I wrestle with every time I look through my tablescaping cupboard to decide how I’ll be laying out a setting for a soirée. Of course, just like there are different sorts of napkins, there are also different sizes for napkin rings—ensuring that each and every napkin you own can have a perfectly snug fit.
With the advent of the internet and online shopping, I’m even more wary about ordering napkin rings if only for the looks. Trust me, there’s nothing as disappointing as opening up a long awaited package only to discover that the darn things just don’t fit! This is even more frustrating when the napkin rings in question are so beautiful, but are just so unusable due to weird sizing.
Thankfully, with decades (or a single decade, anyway) of experience comes a little bit of wisdom, and now I obsessively pore over napkin ring reviews like my life depends on it. I’m happy to report that with my last couple of buying sprees, I’ve definitely had more hits than misses!
To me, the perfect napkin ring should neither be too loose nor too snug on a napkin. Just like I don’t want my napkin rings to slip off at the start of the meal, I also don’t want my napkins to look like stuffed sausages either! So it goes without saying that the best sort of napkin ring should glide perfectly over my napkins, just like a well fitting shirt would over my head.
What I’ve found in my years of experience in buying napkin rings is that rings with an inside diameter of 1-1.5″ are the norm, with 1″ being on the small end. Now, while online shopping, I try and stick to napkin rings that hit the 1.5″ mark perfectly. These fit the majority of my napkins, of which I have an abundant collection of heavy linen and cotton ones.
Sometimes though, I tempt fate and buy napkin rings with a smaller than average diameter, if only because they’re so cute. Take the silver napkin rings above, which I bought for one of my holiday tablescapes: they’re pretty, cheap, and also a tad bit too small (1.37″), making them a tight fit for most of my napkins. Fortunately for me, I have some gauzy linen napkins I can pair with them, but if you lack thinner napkins then I would stay far, far away.
A 1.3″ napkin ring is probably the smallest I will go without sacrificing too much practicality. Anything smaller than that and I don’t think I’ll have any napkins that will fit!
On the other end of the spectrum, there are napkin rings with an inside diameter of 1.8-2″! Just take a look at the antique gold napkin rings above which have a diameter of 1.9″. These extra large napkin rings are useful for my heavier silk linens or damask napkins, which usually need to be stuffed into regular sized napkin rings.
Of course, the kind of napkin ring you gravitate towards is determined by what kind of napkins you mainly have. If your collection leans towards fabrics like woven cotton or linen (like mine does), I highly suggest looking for napkin rings in a 1.5″ size. It’s never steered me wrong!
What do you think? Do you even think about this as much as I do? I’d love to know your thoughts and comments below!