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Tips and Solutions Detail

What to Look for When Choosing a Tablecloth

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Tablecloth buying doesn’t need to be difficult, although we have all stood at the local linen store staring at the large selection hoping the perfect one will just fall off the shelf at us!  If you’re in the market for some new linens or just want to know how to start, we’ve got some helpful tips and ideas to get you going.


  • If just starting out, select a classic white or neutral color.  It will go with everything and every occasion, and will be easy to accommodate different accessories. 
  • Lighter colors can appear either classic or casual while darker colors will have a more dramatic effect. Lighter colors are well suited for any holiday look, and can also add that “wow” factor to your table.


  • Linen has always been at the top of the list for tablecloths, with cotton and cotton blends following close behind. However, these fine fabrics will require pressing after each and every wash.   Check the label, some even may require dry cleaning.
  • Another option readily available today is easy care polyester fabrics.  Talk about simple --  just wash, dry, and use!  Polyester and synthetic fabrics have come along way in texture, care, and appearance.  These fabrics have the advantage of needing less pressing and minimal work from you, giving you more time for your party and guests! Also, because of their synthetic nature, spills and messes are easy to treat using your everyday pre-washing spray treatments. 

Shape and Size

  • Looking for the right size of tablecloth can seem tricky, but really there are only a few rules.  If you have an oblong or rectangular table, choose an oblong or rectangular tablecloth that will give you at least a 6” drop on all sides.  The average may fall between 6’-12”, but remember that tablecloths with a shorter drop will have a more casual look, and tablecloths with a longer drop will appear more formal.
  • Long, to-the-floor length tablecloths traditionally are used for most formal events such as weddings or holidays; however, they are still suitable for anytime.  If you have an oval table, opt for an oval tablecloth for an even drop all around the table perimeter.  If you cannot find an oval, a rectangular or oblong tablecloth will still work just as well; you will just have a lengthier drop on those empty corner areas. 
  • Think outside of the box and have fun with a perfectly square tablecloth. In addition to using them on square tables, these can be darling placed at an angle over an oval or rectangular table..  For this look, it is ok for it not to be too “perfect” looking with the dropped edges.  This is a fun look especially if you have a beautiful dining table that still wants to be seen.  After the place setting and accessories are added, your table will have a fun and carefree look for a more casual occasion.
  • It “seams” to be perfect, except for the seams.  If you can, avoid unsightly tabletop seams in your table linens unless it is part of the tablecloth’s overall design and function.  The attention shouldn’t be on the seam running across the middle of the tabletop, it should be on the beautiful place setting, décor, and guests!
  • Whether it’s for extra seating, a buffet or a gift table, a folding utility table like a Lifetime 6’ Folding Table can be a very versatile and handy table!  But, let’s face it, there are times when showing a little table leg, especially those on a folding table, just doesn’t look good.  When you need to dress up your utility table with a more decorative and sophisticated flair, consider a full-length tablecloth.  A fitted tablecloth like Macel & Company’s “Slips” line is a great solution to make a hardworking functional folding table completely blend into your decorative environment. Start with an Eva Basic, a one-piece slip that has full-length coverage from the tabletop to the floor.  Next, bring in some color with a Betty or Laura Topper. These fun, creative toppers come in a variety of colors and can be used right over your Eva Basic for a custom look!  An added bonus of using a full-length tablecloth is being able to store extra items underneath your table and out-of-site.

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