Party Pointer: Tablecloth Sizes

If you enjoy having family and friends over for dinner or parties, you will probably find that you will need one or more tablecloths to use on your dining room table. This is when tablecloth sizes become important to you.

Look at the dishes you plan to use in your dining area and determine what colors would look best with them. Think about what texture (smooth surface or rough, pattern or no pattern) you think would look best with your china. Decide if you would like to go with a formal look or a more casual one.

Now measure your dining table–be it round, oblong, square, or rectangular. You will need to have these measurements with you when you are ready to shop.  For a round table, measure the diameter.
Don’t forget to account for any leaves or extensions your table may have when measuring, as it is common for tables to be extended while entertaining.

To find the tablecloth drop (the length your tablecloth will hang down from the tabletop), you subtract the table length from the linen length, subtract the table width from the linen width, and then divide the differences by two. For example, you have a standard six- foot rectangular table, so the width is 30 inches and the length is 72 inches, and you have a 70×120 inch rectangular tablecloth. Subtract 30 from 70 to get 40 inches wide (70-30=40) and then subtract 72 from 120 to get 48 inches long (120-72=48). Now divide those numbers by two, giving you a 20-inch drop on widthwise and a 24-inch drop lengthwise (40/2=20 and 48/2=24).

If you know what size table you have and length of a drop you want, you can find out the tablecloth size you need by multiplying the drop length by two, then adding the table width and length (if you want a non-uniform drop, you will have to individually calculate the widthwise and lengthwise drop lengths). For example, you have an eight-foot table (30 inch by 96 inch) and want a 15-inch drop (halfway to the floor), you multiply 15 by 2 (15×2=30) then individually add the table width and length to get 60 inches wide by 126 inches long (30+30=60 and 30+96=126, respectively), which means you need a 60×126 rectangular tablecloth to get a uniform tablecloth drop of 15 inches.

A lengthier drop is typically employed in order to achieve a more formal look.

Less expensive tablecloths, especially cotton ones, may shrink when washed and then your cloth will not have the drop you want.

If you are planning an event where you will need to rent linens for tables in the venue, you need to figure out the tablecloth sizes you will need. Most venues offer a mixture of 60” and 72” long straight tables or 70” or 90″ round tables. Your party venue may be able to tell you the sizes of the tablecloths you will need for their tables, or your rental company may be able to help you figure out the sizes. A number of table linens rental vendors online have sizing calculator you can use to determine what you need.

Once you have the measurements you need ready, you will be ready to shop or rent pretty linens to dress up your party or event. Have fun exploring the options!


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