Tablecloth Basics

There’s nothing like a tablecloth to hide an ugly dining room table, make the table the focal point, or add color and elegance to a dining room.  A truly terrific tablecloth can take on all three tasks with style.  But before you go shopping, don’t forget to measure the dining room table!

  • There are four basic tablecloth shapes: oblong, which are rectangular, oval, round and square.
  • The tablecloth drop is how much the tablecloth hangs over the table, for formal dining rooms, a drop of 8 to 14 inches is optimal.  For a more dramatic effect, you can have a tablecloth ‘puddle’ look by increasing the drop to over 30 inches.  Don’t use it for sit-down dinners though, use it for buffets or in-between looks.
  • Don’t forget to include an extensions or leaves when measuring the dining room table – if you’re going for a 12 inch drop, you need to double it when you add to the length and width to account for the drop on each side:

For a 48 inch round table with a 12 inch drop, you’ll need a 72 inch round tablecloth (48” + 24”).

Tablecloths come in standard sizes, so choosing the size you need before you shop can make life much easier, particularly if you're shopping at discount stores that may have limited sizes.

  • 70” x 90” can be used on tables up to 54 x 74 inches that seat up to 6 people.
  • 70” x 108” can be used on tables up to 54 x 92 inches that seat 6-8 people.
  • 70” x 126” can be used on tables up to 54 x 110 inches that seat 8-10 people.
  • 70” x 144” can be used on tables up to 54 x 128 inches that seat 10-12 people.
  • 70” x 162” can be used on tables up to 54 x 146 inches that seat 12 or more people, they’re often termed banquet size.
  • 60” round tablecloth can accommodate a table up to 48 inches in diameter for 2-4 people.
  • 70” round tablecloths work on round tables up to 54 inches in diameter for seating for up to 6 people.
  • 90” round tablecloths can handle tables up to 74 inches in diameter for seating for 6-8.
  • 108” round tablecloths can hand tables up to 92 inches in diameter for seating from 8-10 people.