Should you put tablecloths on your tables? Most definitely. There are a few reasons why.
Quality table linens shield your dining room table from heat, watermarks and food spills, helping preserve the beauty of heirloom furniture or preventing damage to a contemporary piece.
But, just as importantly, your table decor can take any meal from run-of-the-mill to a fine dining experience, enjoyed in the comforts of your own home. A quality tablecloth is a key part of that.
Finding the Right Tablecloth Fit
Ideally, the tablecloth should extend six to eight inches from the table’s edge. For formal events, a 15" drop is more common.
Can you use a square cloth on a round table? Absolutely, if you find a pattern you love that isn’t available in a round tablecloth. Rectangular tablecloths are fine on oval tables, too. In fact, doing this is fairly common because oblong tablecloths can be harder to find.
When to Use Table Runners
Table runners are great additions if your menu includes dishes served piping hot. A table runner in a contrasting color or print from your tablecloth can pull together a centerpiece or help create a theme.
The table runner should be the same length as your tablecloth or drop six to eight inches below the table’s edge if a runner is your only table linen.
Do People Still Use Placemats?
Traditionally, tablecloths and placemats are not used together. Instead, the placemat finds its place in more casual settings. They serve the same function as tablecloths—protecting the table from stains and heat damage. They’re also great for telecommuters who need to protect the dining table from a laptop.
If your meal is somewhere between semi-formal and casual, you can dress up your placemats with fun napkins and stylish napkin rings.