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For protecting your dining table from everyday spills or laying on a feast for friends and family, a tablecloth is an essential in every dining room. Read on for tips on how to find the right tablecloth size and which material makes the best tablecloth or cover.

How do I know what size tablecloth to buy?

Before buying a tablecloth for a dining table, take its measurements. This will make sure that a small tablecloth won’t come up too short or an extra large rectangular tablecloth won’t be too long. You will always want a tablecloth with a surface area that is slightly larger than the tabletop its meant for. Here are some quick tips on how to measure different shapes of dining room tables:

  • Round tablecloths: to measure a round table, take its diameter. Don’t forget to measure the height of the table to determine what the overhang of a large circular tablecloth should be.

  • Rectangular tablecloths: make sure you take note of both the width and the length of a rectangular table.

How much should a tablecloth hang over?

The overhang of a tablecloth will depend on a couple of factors: the tablecloth size and the occasion. For example, wedding tablecloths have a long overhang as the setting is formal. On the one hand, banquet and buffet tables will have long tablecloths that hang at least halfway down to serve a decorative purpose. On the other, everyday meals in your own dining room or kitchen are more casual and you won’t want the tablecloth to hang so low as to get in the way of your knees.

To make sure you get a good and even overhang, look for tablecloths that are the same shape as your table. A large rectangular tablecloth will look untidy on a square table, as it will hang over more on two of the sides than the others.

What is the best material for a tablecloth?

The material of a tablecloth has a big impact on how it can be used and how easy it is to clean. Below are the most common types of tablecloth and their pros and cons:

Linen tablecloths

Table linens are made from the most refined materials. Linen tablecloths are smooth and soft to the touch. A classic white tablecloth with embroidered linen napkins sets an elegant tone at a dinner party or a family Christmas meal.

The downside to linen is that is not as easy to care for as other types of tablecloth. Wash it on a delicate cycle to maintain the quality of the fabric.

Cotton tablecloths

Cotton is more robust than linen. It can be washed at a higher temperature to help remove stains. Cotton and other fabric tablecloths come in a range of eye-catching patterns, such as striped, gingham or floral designs.

PVC tablecloths

Plastic tablecloths make the best table protectors. Vinyl table covers are waterproof and can easily be wiped down with a damp cloth, meaning you don’t have to wash it after every use or worry about staining. If you have young guests coming over, a PVC table cover protects your tabletops from food or arts and crafts activities.

Lace tablecloths

Lace table covers make a beautiful accent in a traditional or vintage-style kitchen or dining room. If you have a plain tablecloth, lay a lace table runner over the top to transform its look.

Where can you buy tablecloths?

Find high-quality kitchen and table linens in a variety of styles, colours and patterns on Houzz UK. Whether you’re kitting out a new home or looking for a birthday or anniversary gift, there is a wide range of dining products to find the perfect present.
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