Monday, April 14, 2014

Getting your Tablecloth Right: the Look, Colour and Experience

The humble tablecloth is traditionally a decorative accessory that pulls together everything about your table setting.

The tablecloth also provides more elbow room than traditional placemats, which is especially great if you have a crowded table (sitting more than usual) at dinner parties and other events.

(Thanks to Jenny Downing for the image, via Flickr)

There are several things that you need to consider when choosing your perfect tablecloth for your occasion. There are also different styles for different occasions.

Here are the things that you need to consider:

  • Dominance
  • Visual weight
  • Color
  • Texture
  • Pattern


This refers to the design of the tablecloth. Getting the right tablecloth must accents the dominant texture, colour and pattern of the room decor as well as the servingware and dinnerware at the table.

Visual weight

This is in reference to the relation of the different proportions of the room.

For large rooms: use a large woven tablecloth with compactly arranged patterns. This helps convey the visual weight.

For small rooms: it is recommended that you use a tablecloth with a lightweight colour and a light pattern, which gives the room an airy feel.


The colour of your tablecloth helps set the mood for the table, which differs from occasion to occasion and from guest to guest. It also removes the need to replace or change the tableware.

Formal dining: the colours to concentrate on for formal dining are ivory, white and ecru. However, more recent trends have seen people use more lightweight pastel colours on their formal tables.

Informal dining: this is a complete contrast to formal dining. Think bright and deep colours that contrast the room decor and tableware that you will be using. This could be anything from a bright orange to a deep purple.


The texture of the table cloth works hand-in-hand with your tableware and be in relation to the occasion.

Formal dining: For formal dining try and use a tablecloth with a smooth finish. Think about porcelain, silver and crystal type finishes, maybe with a touch of satin sheen, such as damask.

Informal dining: For a more informal dining experience you can use a range of textures from coarse to smooth.


Again, the pattern of the tablecloth is determined by the occasion of the day. You can pick anything, which such variations on bold patterns to subtle patterns, from large to small.

Formal dining: For formal dining occasions you should consider using patterns that are small and subtle.

Informal dining: This is in complete contrast to the formal dining occasion, with the use of bigger and brighter patterns available for you to choose from. Think about the room decor and tableware, which pattern suits the room and maybe compliments your own style.

When buying a tablecloth, whether it be for your long grand table or round tablecloths for a more intimate table, there will be a tablecloth for each and every occasion.

Like furniture a tablecloth should fit in with the rest of the room decor, room furniture as well as your very own personality. 

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