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Tablecloths serve many functions; they are decorative elements for any formal or casual event, and also help shield your tabletop from unwanted spills or stains. They have long been a staple among the table linen family, and paired with the right place settings and centerpieces, a tablecloth can help make your next dinner party or weekend brunch a hit. Don’t rush out and buy the first design you fall in love with though — believe it or not there is a method choosing the right tablecloth for each table and occasion. Read the tips below to learn how to perfect your table decor with tablecloths in the correct size, shape and material for every event.

What tablecloth sizes and shapes work best?

When picking out your tablecloth, make sure to measure your table and consider its shape. You should of course buy one that matches the shape of your furniture — a round tablecloth for a round table, an oval tablecloth for an oval table... you get the idea. Pairing the wrong shapes will cause the the material to bunch and fold in strange places, making for an awkward look and potentially unlevel plates and dishes. As for size, make sure your tablecloth is not too short or too long. You’ll want at least a 6 inch drop, and usually a 12-18 inch drop on most sit down tables. If it is in fact going on a sit down table, it should cover the sides of the tabletop, but not be long enough to pool up in your guests laps as they eat (they might mistake it for a napkin!). For tables used as a buffet, it’s alright for the linens to drape further down, either for a dramatic effect, or to cover anything you need to store and hide below.

What tablecloth materials are available?

Commonly, tablecloths come in vinyl, cotton or linen, though other materials, such as burlap, lace and paper are also available. Plastic, oilcloth and vinyl tablecloth options work well for a kid's table, picnic table or outdoor space, since they have a casual look, are waterproof, and easy to wipe clean. Cotton is great for the everyday lunch or casual dinner, and is generally machine washable, while linen tablecloths are a bit more formal and perfect for holiday dinners and special events. Lace tablecloths can be the toughest to clean, but also provide a timeless look, and pair well with all sorts of designs, like burlap, to dress them up or down for any occasion. Decide where you’ll be using your new tablecloths most often, and how much effort you are willing to put into cleanup, before making any decisions regarding material.

Find where to buy Tablecloths and get inspired with our curated ideas for Tablecloths to find the perfect item for every room in your home. With such a wide selection of Tablecloths for sale, from brands like LA Linen, DDCG, and Design Imports, you’re sure to find something that you’ll love. Shop from Tablecloths, like the Warm Stripe Tablecloth 60"x104" or the DII White French Stripe Tablecloth 60"x104", while discovering new home products and designs. Whether you’re looking to buy Tablecloths online or get inspiration for your home, you’ll find just what you’re looking for on Houzz.