39 Types of Tablecloths Explained

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Are you wondering what kind of tablecloth goes best with your home? Here’s a quick guide to the various types of tablecloths that can fit your table, no matter what kind of style you have for your home or what features you’re looking for.

Fabrics

The type of fabric you choose for your tablecloth matters because it sets up your dining room experience. Depending on which fabric type you choose, some of them cost more than others while some are cheaper. Some also last longer while others need to be replaced more often. Various fabric types also require various ways to clean as some types of tablecloth fabric are easier to clean than others.

1. Burlap

Burlap tablecloths are great for rustic living rooms or if you have a rustic-themed party. They tend to be brown and rough. They have a more neutral color and don’t have much design so you might want to pair it with a runner that has a design or a tabletop setting that is more elaborate yet still fits the theme.

2. Cotton

Cotton tablecloths are among the more well-known tablecloth fabrics. They come in various styles and prints though the quality of the fabric can differ. They usually tend to drape beautifully over the table, though they tend to absorb any spills and may even stain. It’s best to wash your cotton tablecloth regularly to keep it in good condition.

3. Lace

Lace tablecloths add a certain elegance to your dining room table. You can choose one that is very thin and almost see-through to place on top of another more solid tablecloth with a different color. Because lace is very sensitive, you need to be careful when you wash it and you might opt to have it professionally cleaned instead.

4. Linen

Using linen tablecloths is another way to make your dining room table look elegant. It’s made from flax plants and is somewhat more expensive than cotton, but it is durable and lasts longer. Linen also crumples easily, so after you wash it, you might need to iron it so it looks presentable when you use it. The more you use and wash it, the softer it gets.

5. Organza

Organza is a sheer, lightweight woven fabric. It was originally made from silk but can be made from synthetic fibers these days. Even if organza tablecloths made from synthetic fibers are more durable, as a whole, they are still very delicate and prone to frays and tears. They are very beautiful, however, and work well when partnered with tablecloths of solid colors for weddings and parties.

6. Plastic

Plastic tablecloths are very affordable and easy to clean and are more popular for outdoor tables. They come in various colors and prints, nevertheless, they don’t look as elegant as lace, linen, or organza tablecloths. They are, however, great for protecting your table from spills and you can easily dispose of them since they don’t cost too much.

7. Polyester

Polyester tablecloths come in various colors and prints—from simple styles to intricate weaves and patterns. They don’t fade as quickly as fabrics made with natural fiber and they are also easy to care for. They are durable and you don’t have to worry about stains and wrinkles. While they tend to be harder and more scratchy than other tablecloths, more recent tablecloths have a softer weave and are often mistaken for cotton.

8. Silk

If you’re looking for a tablecloth that gives off a luxurious feel, go for a silk one. They usually have a slight sheen that is similar to satin and are easy to wash. Nevertheless, you have to be careful as some silk tablecloths can be thin and tear easily.

9. Vinyl

Vinyl tablecloths are made of plastic with a flannel backing, which makes them highly durable. They are easy to clean because you can just easily wipe them up. Several manufacturers sell them in various colors and prints so you’ll definitely be able to find something that suits your home.

10. Blends

Some tablecloths come with two kinds of fabric, for example, a mix of cotton and polyester or cotton and linen. Lately, they have become more popular in homes especially as they cost a lot less than pure linen (which can be pretty expensive). Some manufacturers even say they are easier to maintain and can also be more durable.

Care

Some tablecloths require simple washing while some are more complicated to clean. Before you buy a tablecloth, find out how its cleaning fits into your routine and budget, especially if they require special care.

1. Dry clean only

Some tablecloths require dry clean only. You need to figure out if you can sustain the cleaning requirement it needs—taking it to the dry cleaners regularly. Remember that it will also cost more to have it dry cleaned so you need to see if the budget is something that works for you too.

2. Hand wash

Most tablecloth fabrics are all right with being hand washed, though some might require a milder kind of soap. Linens, lace, organza, and other tablecloths made of more sensitive material that could easily rip and tear are those that usually require hand wash.

3. Machine wash (cold)

Some tablecloths require cold machine wash. Vinyl, for example, while it can be wiped down from day to day, will also benefit from a thorough cleaning once in a while. Vinyl tablecloths usually require machine wash with cold water on a gentle cycle and mild detergent. You still have to be careful, though, as it’s easy to ruin a tablecloth when you do in-depth cleaning.

4. Machine wash (warm)

Some tablecloths that are made of cotton or linen or other fabrics that have an embroidered or lace edge require machine wash with warm water and mild detergents. Most polyester fabrics can also be washed with warm water, but it’s best to check the label first.

5. Spot clean

If you find some food spills on your tablecloth, there’s no need to pop it into the washer right away. You can do spot treatment by cleaning the stained spot. Some tablecloths, however, are made of materials that are more fragile than others and therefore cannot be hand washed or machine washed at all. These kinds of tablecloths require spot cleaning to clean them regularly.

Shapes

A tablecloth has two main purposes. The first is to add to the aesthetic of your table so it suits the room where your table is. The second is to prevent food and drink spills, unintentional scratches and stains, and other activities from damaging your table. Choosing the right kind of tablecloth depends on the shape of your table so that you can fully protect it.

1. Oval

Oval tablecloths work for both rectangular tables and oval-shaped ones. Before you buy an oval tablecloth for your rectangular table, make sure that it is wide enough to cover the corners of the table. If it’s too short, it might end up looking awkward and out of place.

2. Rectangular

Usually, rectangular tablecloths only work for rectangular tables. If you use them on a square or round table, the two longer ends will hang down or you’ll have to fold up your rectangular tablecloth into a square so that it’s just the right length.

3. Round

While you can try to put a round tablecloth on a square table, the truth is round tablecloths look best on round tables. If you’re looking for a round tablecloth for your round table, make sure it’s long enough to hang down on all the sides. Formal events usually have round tablecloths that go all the way to the ground.

4. Square

Square tablecloths work best for square tables, but they work for round tables too. When using a square tablecloth on a round table, make sure it is large enough to cover and hang around on all the sides especially if you want it to cover your table completely. You can also get a smaller one and use it as an accent on top of your round tablecloth.

Styles

If you want a home that looks cohesive, where every piece blends with each other, you’ll want to give a lot of thought and care into choosing your tablecloth too. Get something that suits the theme of your dining room, living room, or wherever your tables are.

1. Basic

Basic tablecloths usually come in simple, solid colors. They don’t have print and can fit well in almost any living room setting. If you feel it is too plain you can always brighten the look with colored plates and interesting tabletop accents.

2. Beach

Beach-style tablecloths give the impression of the beach or outdoor living. The best thing about this type of tablecloth is that it lightens up your space and makes it look more cheerful. If this is the look you’re aiming for, get light colors on a light fabric. You can also get a tablecloth with an ocean design or palm tree design.

3. Craftsman

Craftsman tablecloths have two characteristics. They can be made of heavier and coarser fabric or they can have bold colors and lines. They’re a great way to make a statement by adding a pop of color or accent to your home that is perfect for parties or large or small gatherings.

4. Contemporary

Contemporary tablecloths are great for living rooms that have a lot of light and neutral colors. It’s best to get a tablecloth that has a neutral color too and then just liven up your space with beautiful dishes or centerpieces with pops of color.

5. Eclectic

If you want a tablecloth that will stand out and act as a conversation starter, get a tablecloth with an eclectic design. Make sure the print is large so that it’s something that catches the eye of your guests right away. If you want your tablecloth to truly stand out, you can opt to make it the main focus and just put simple dishes on top of it.

6. Minimalistic

Minimalistic tablecloths often come with neutral colors and plain fabric. If ever they come in print, they are usually checkered or have a few simple lines. These tablecloths are great if you have a minimalist look for your home.

7. Modern

Modern tablecloths are usually characterized by lines, patterns, and colors. If your dining room and the overall look of your home are modern-themed, it’s all the little details in your fabrics, furniture, and accent pieces that set the tone for your home. Get a tablecloth with design, rather than a plain one, so that it fits with the theme of your home.

8. Rustic

If you want your home to look like a log cabin, you should use rustic tablecloths to go with your rustic furnishings and accents. You can opt for a burlap tablecloth or a checkered tablecloth, both of which are very rustic in appearance.

9. Scandinavian

The Scandinavian feel comes with a lot of clean lines and an overall simple feel. If you’re looking for a Scandinavian type of tablecloth, look for one with neutral colors and straight lines.

10. Traditional

Traditional tablecloths come with a sense of nostalgia. They are often floral, though they come with other designs as well. They also often come with lace, which makes your table look very elegant, especially when it fits well with the rest of your home. If you want a traditional tablecloth, it’s best to look for something that comes in a light color and that has exquisite embroidery or beading.

11. Tropical

Tropical tablecloths often come with bright, vibrant prints, such as that of flowers and animals. They help light up the room and improve the overall mood. If you want to go for the tropical vibe, make sure you get a tablecloth that is bright and has a lot of colors.

Special features

Some tablecloths come with special features that keep them from slipping off the table or help them weather any kind of weather especially, if your table is outdoors. Here’s a quick list of them and what they’re for:

1. Anti-wrinkle

It doesn’t look so attractive when you have an event and the tablecloths you’re using are wrinkly. Fortunately, some tablecloths are anti-wrinkle and look like they’re fresh out of the dryer, so you don’t have to iron them especially if you don’t have the time.

2. Embroidered

Embroidered tablecloths are classy and elegant and usually boost the overall look of your table. They are great to use during special occasions. The only downside is that they can’t be machine washed like other tablecloths as that can easily damage the embroidery. Gentle care is the best way to keep them in good condition.

3. Hand woven

Handwoven tablecloths are unique and custom-made, sometimes with no two designs that look alike. They make your table look very unique in terms of color, pattern, and design.

4. Heavy-duty

Heavy-duty tablecloths are often used by those who run catering companies. That’s because they need to wash their tablecloths multiple times between events without having to worry about the cloth fraying or fading.

5. Non-slip

Most tablecloths tend to slip from one side to another because of their material unless you have dishware and accessories on top of the tablecloth. Non-slip tablecloths have a backing underneath the tablecloth that will keep it in place even if there’s nothing on top of it.

6. Outdoor approved

Outdoor tablecloths are specifically designed for outdoor use. If you like to dine al fresco, this type of tablecloth is perfect so you don’t have to worry about using an indoor tablecloth and having it damaged by the weather and other elements.

7. Reversible

Reversible tablecloths come with two patterns or styles on either side of the table cloth. This is a great option if you’re looking to save on both space and money as you get two tablecloths for the price of one. You can easily flip between either design, depending on what you feel like, and you’re only storing one fabric so it won’t take up much room.

8. Stain-resistant

These types of tablecloths are made of special material or are coated with material that helps resist fabric stains. Instead of having to toss your tablecloth into the washer when there’s a spill, you can simply wipe it up.

9. Water-resistant

The most challenging part about tablecloths is that spills happen and tablecloths are quick to soak up the liquid. A water-resistant tablecloth will help protect the table from getting damp and damaged by the spill. You can also quickly wipe it up and clean it.

FAQ

What is the most durable fabric for a tablecloth?

Polyester is the best and most durable fabric for a tablecloth. It doesn’t stain, doesn’t tear easily, and is easy to wash and clean. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for something made of natural fibers, you can get cotton or linen as they are also long-lasting.

Why are tablecloths so expensive?

Tablecloths that are made from natural materials or have unique weaves and prints tend to be more expensive. If they are made of good quality, however, they can last longer. You can always look for cheaper alternatives, but remember that you might be sacrificing quality for a lower cost.

How can I prevent my tablecloth from blowing away?

You can get a tablecloth with an anti-slip backing underneath which will keep your tablecloth in place even if you don’t have anything on top of it. You can also place dishware or centerpieces (like a vase) on top of your table, but remember that once you remove them, your tablecloth might fly away.

Why are oval tablecloths so hard to find?

Oval tablecloths (and oval tables) aren’t as common as round, square, or rectangular tables and tablecloths. Thus, it might be harder to find oval tablecloths as they aren’t widely used and other people just opt to use a rectangular tablecloth for their oval table instead.

What can I use instead of a tablecloth?

You can use rugs, table runners, scarves, sheets, kraft paper, blankets, shower curtains, and even gift wrappers. Some people opt to do away with tablecloths and just put placemats. There’s no limit to what you can use in case you don’t have a tablecloth on hand or are looking for something fun and creative.

How do I choose the right tablecloth size?

Measure the length and width of your table then add twice the desired drop to each side’s dimension. For example, if your table measures 32 inches wide and 62 inches long, and you want a drop of 9 inches, you need to add 18 inches to each side. The tablecloth size you should get, then, will be 50 x 80 inches.