Party Pointer: Look for Table Linens Now


If you are having family or friends to your home to celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or New Year’s, this is the time to look for new table linens. Stores always have more choices available during the holidays because more people entertain during the fall and winter holidays.

If you are hosting one or more of these special meals, you should look at your expected guest list now and figure out how you will seat everyone. You may have room for everyone at one table, or you may have to use additional tables.


Then you should check to see if you already have cloths or place-mats that will fit the tables you plan on using. You should also check those linens for stains, and you may need to freshen them by laundering them again.


If you don’t have the right-size tablecloth or appropriate colors for the dishes you will be using, you should first check with family members or friends who might be able to lend you linens (or dishes). If you are using multiple tables, remember that each one can have a different color cloth/place-mats and different dish patterns.


If you decide you will purchase a new tablecloth, be certain you know what size you will need. Measure the length and width of your table, and add 12 inches to both. You should generally allow for a drop of six to eight inches on all sides of the table, but it’s best to allow for a few extra inches.

Here are the standard tablecloth sizes:

  • 52″ x 52″ Square fits a table sized 28″ x 28″ up to 40″ x 40″ that seats 4
  • 52″ x 70″ Oblong (Rectangular) fits a table sized 28″ x 46″ up to 40″ x 58″ that seats 4-6
  • 60″ x 84″ Oblong (Rectangular) fits a table sized 36″ x 60″ up to 48″ x 72″ that seats6-8
  • 60″ x 84″ Oval fits a table sized 36″ x 60″ up to 48″ x 72″ that seats 6-8
  • 60″ x 102″ Oblong (Rectangular) fits a table sized 36″ x 78″ up to 48″ x 90″ that seats 8-10
  • 60″ x 102″ Oval fits a table sized 36″ x 78″ up to 48″ x 90″ that seats 8-10
  • 60″ x 120″ Oblong (Rectangular) fits a table sized 36″ x 96″ up to 48″ x 108″ that seats 10-12
  • 60″ x 144″ Oblong (Rectangular) fits a table sized 36″ x 108″ up to 48″ x 132″ that seats 10-12
  • 60″ Round fits a table sized 36″ to 48″ diameter* that seats 4
  • 70″ Round fits a table sized 44″ to 58″ diameter that seats 4-6
  • 90” Round fits a table sized 60” to 78” diameter that seats 6-8

*Diameter is measured from edge to edge across the table’s center


Think about what kind of fabric you want to buy—cotton has a great look and feel, but can shrink in the wash and needs strong ironing; polyester may not look as elegant, but launders well and doesn’t wrinkle as much. There are also many new fabric blends that may be wrinkle-resistant and/or stain-resistant.


Consider whether you should get a solid color cloth or a print one. If you choose a print, be certain that it look good with your dishes. If both your dishes and cloth have strong patterns, the overall effect can be too “busy.” But if you have plain white or cream dishes, you can use more color and pattern in your table linens.

You will also need to decide if you are going to buy matching napkins for your tablecloth, because it is best to buy them all at the same time. Waiting to buy them later may mean you won’t be able to find them still available.

Check online to see the wide variety of linens available, even if you plan to buy them locally. Watch for sales or discounts of holiday linens to save money.

New table linens can bring new life to your holiday tables. Your guests will ooh and ahh over your party presentation!


Tip 1: You may be able to find some terrific bargains on nice table linens at your local thrift shops if you have the time to look and can find the right sizes. Always take a tape measure with you to ensure the tablecloth is the size you need, and check for stains or tears.

Tip 2: Please take the final step to make your new linens show themselves to their best advantage—IRON THEM!
You can try dampening the new cloth and putting it in the dryer to shake out the wrinkles. But if that doesn’t work, please take the time to iron the cloth—wrinkles absolutely ruin the look of a well-set table! It’s worth the extra effort for these special occasions!

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