Saturday, August 6, 2011

Draping the Dining Table

Often, while I’m designing interior dining spaces, I’ll be asked about some of the accoutrements and accents which might be needed when a client decides to entertain.  I don’t know about your area, but it can be a challenge to find the perfect tablecloth and napkins to compliment certain dining decor.  There are a few options in department stores, but they aren’t always the best size or the materials might be a little on the “shiny” side. Also, if the main focus is on seasonal decor, but let’s say, your home isn’t resplendent in those colors, you may find your search to be limited. In those cases, I’ll turn my attention to creating a custom cloth. 

Dining alfresco in elegance.  The cloth emphasizes the seating and tableware hues. via Traditional Home 

Country Living features my preference for a longer table cloth.  In order to keep the corners from free-floating on the floor, a kick pleat with corner gussets will bring everything under control.


A fun and casual cover, from Anthropology, does offer a little more pizzazz with the sewn-on ruffling.  Do pay attention to the draping of corners.  You don’t want a guest to trip on them when exiting the table.

I love how this rounded cover has cording to provide a tailored, dressmaker touch.  It should fit over the top, just like a cap!

Ikat Table Runner, Blue

Sometimes it just works better to use a table runner for color when you’re not worried about protecting the surface.  They’re often easy to create, even if you’re not an expert seamstress.  William Sonoma provides their interpretation of an Ikat pattern in ink blue.

Don’t be afraid to pull out the placemats!  It’s all about layering for visual interest.  As you can see from this Veranda article, (via designer Michelle Nussbaumer), what might have looked to be pretty casual in the store, takes on a whole new look.  Think of how we love our sea grass and sisal rugs placed in a more formal setting.

Lace has made a comeback in all things interior!  Bring out those family, vintage treasures.  If they were left off your inheritance list, there are many antique shops and vendors who will be happy to add a bit of history.  Although not vintage, H&M has one that’s a real beauty.

If you’re ever confounded about how to determine the correct tablecloth size, I usually go by the rule-of-thumb of taking the table measurement and I will add 14” - 15” to each side for the cover’s width and length.  For example, a 44” x 72” table would need at least a 72” x 100” cover and you might have to adjust a little in order to find a ready made one.  It’s important not to have the cloth draping too deeply in someone’s lap.  The other option is to go full length, which means your table will be at least 29”- 30” high, so you would add that all the way around in order for it to drop to the floor.  Here’s a handy link to convert centimeters to inches.

The chart below offers a little “cheat sheet” of most pre-fab sizes and will give you an idea of how many people will be seated at the table.

Seats (Persons)

Tablecloth Shape

Tablecloth Size
Width x Length
(Net sizes are 2 inches smaller)

2 - 4


36x36" Round

2 - 4


36x36" Square

4 - 6


45x45" Round

4 - 6


45x45" Square

4 - 6


54x54" Square

4 - 6


54x72" Oblong

6 - 8


72x72" Round

6 - 8


72x90" Oblong

8 - 10


72x108" Oblong

8 - 10


72x126" Oblong

8 - 12


72x144" Oblong

12 - 16


72x162" Oblong

16 - 18


72x180" Oblong

18 - 24


72X216" Oblong

12 - 16


108x108" Round

14 - 18


108x108" Square

14 - 18


126x126" Round

How do you drape your table?  I would love to hear your ideas!

All My Best

1 comment:

Marcy said...

Love the information here! Beautiful images too. I featured your blog at stylesson today!