To an uninspired soul, a tablecloth might be a piece of fabric meant to save the expensive table from accidental spills. But in reality, a tablecloth is much more than that. With a little investment in something as simple as a tablecloth, you can not only have a beautifully laid table to sit around, enjoy a gratifying meal, but also add splendor to your living space. So what do you need to look into when you are trying to find an ideal tablecloth?
Know your table size
Determine the width and length of your table. Measure your table from end to end. Note down the measurements, both in inches and centimeters because different brands use different means to determine sizes. Remember to check if the tablecloth you are buying is for a four-seater or a six-seater dinner table, if you don't want to keep struggling adjusting the skirting later. Tablecloths sometimes hang too far over the short ends or just barely fit the table length, and this can spoil the beauty.
Decide on the shape that suits your table best
Tablecloths are generally available in different shapes: rectangle, oval, round, and square. Each shape comes in many different sizes, so be sure to measure your table. Round ones look good only on round tables. Do not try to use them for square or oval tables. Similarly, square tablecloths are generally designed to fit square tables that seat up to four people. If you have a six to eight-seater table, make sure whether a rectangle or oval shape one will suit it.
Choose the right fabric
While selecting the fabric, it is advisable that you examine the usability of the table. Would you like a dramatic lacy tablecloth to match the formal dinner mood or require a reasonably priced printed vinyl for everyday use?
Tablecloths usually come in cotton, cotton blend, polyester, vinyl, or crochet. While a polyester tablecloth might be a little expensive, it is usually more functional and easy to clean. Cotton, cotton-blend, and vinyl tablecloths on the other hand are a good value for money, if you are looking for low-priced tablecloths. Vinyl fibers too are easy to wash and care, in case of errant spills. You can simply wipe off the food stains on a vinyl material. The only problem with it is that the material tends to tear-off after some time. Crocheted material, even after several washes, looks new, preserving its original shape and color, and thus is great for daily use. However, it is the light-weight cotton that remains the most popular fabric because of its easy handling quality. Whatever fabric you choose, it is important to check the washing instructions of it when you are deciding to buy, because certain fabrics have the tendency to shrink.
Estimate the yardage
Before you finalize your buy, determine the desired drop or skirting of the tablecloth. This is the length of the tablecloth that hangs over the table edge.
- For everyday tablecloths: the drop is 10-12" or about 1-2" above the chair seat.
- Formal dining tablecloths: the drop is 16-24".
- Floor-length tablecloths: the tablecloth reaches to within ½" of the floor (about 28-29").