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How to Measure Your Table for a Tablecloth

  • by Melanie Viaje
  • 5 min read

Picking the right size tablecloth can be a bit of a challenge. This article explains how to properly measure to get the correct tablecloth size for any table.

When you’re setting a table to celebrate with family and friends, you want to get it right. From china places settings, silver, and drinkware to centerpieces and candles, no detail is too small to consider. And that’s why you’ve chosen a stunning tablecloth to serve as a backdrop to your tablescape. And no matter the style, all well-set tables have one thing in common: a properly fitting tablecloth.

But you won’t achieve the perfect look with guesswork. A tablecloth that runs too small looks strange. Alternatively, a table cloth that's too large may appear fine, but will quickly get awkward by bunching in your guests' laps when they sit down (an exception to this is a banquet table which should have a floor length tablecloth).

Home Treasures Valenicia White Tablecloth

At Fine Linen and Bath, we offer an extensive collection of luxury table linen. And we are expert at helping our clients choose not only the best style, but also the correct size tablecloth. Follow these guidelines to choose the perfect tablecloth whatever your table size.

What is the Best Drop Length for a Tablecloth?

An easy way to successfully size your tablecloths is by remembering the term “drop length.” Also referred to as “drop,” this is the amount of fabric that hangs from the top of your table to the hem. No matter the size or shape of your table, the magic number for tablecloth drop is somewhere between 8 and 10 inches of overhang. Tablecloth drop is universal and included in standard tablecloth sizes.

Ideal Drop Length for a Tablecloth

How to Measure Your Table for a Square Tablecloth, Rectangle Tablecloth or Oblong Tablecloth

With their different shapes, it’s not intuitive that measuring a square table, a rectangular table, and an oval table would have so much in common. The process for all three, however, is essentially the same.

How to Measure for a Square, Rectangle or Oblong Tablecloth

Follow these steps for square, rectangle or oblong tablecloth measuring

  1. Measure the table length and table width (for an oval table, width at its widest point)
  2. Decide what length of a drop you would like. (Remember that drop the amount of fabric that hangs down from the top of the table, usually 10” - 12" 
  3. Take your desired amount of drop and multiply it by two (for each end of the table).
  4. Add that amount of drop (drop length times two) to the length and width of the table.

Note: a rectangular or oblong table and an oval table will both use an oblong tablecloth.

SFERRA Festival  White Oblong Tablecloth

SFERRA Festival White Oblong Tablecloth

Oval Tablecloth Measuring Example

  • If the table measures 42" wide x 62" long and you want a 12" drop.
  • The oblong tablecloth should measure: 66" (42" width + 24" total drop) x 86" (62" length + 24" total drop)

For measuring table runners: a table runner will have a predetermined width. To properly size your table runner, only measure the table length. Then double the drop and add it to your measurement.

How to Measure Your Table for Circular Tablecloth or Round Tablecloth

If you remember sitting in high school geometry class wondering if you’d ever use what you learned in adult life, this is your lucky day. While we won’t have you calculating area, you will be reintroduced to an old familiar term: diameter.

How to Measure for Circular or Round Tablecloth

Follow these steps for circular or round tablecloth measuring

  1. Measure the diameter of the table (the length across the table).
  2. Decide what length of a drop you would like.
  3. The drop is the amount of fabric that hangs down from the top of the table. Typical drop ranges are between 8 to 10" (inches)
  4. Take your desired amount of drop and multiply it by two (for each end of the table)
  5. Add that amount of drop (drop length x two) to the diameter of the table

Matouk Calypso White Round Tablecloth

Round Tablecloth Measuring Example

  • If the table has a 66" long diameter and you want a 12" drop.
  • The circular tablecloth should measure: 90" (66" diameter + 24" total drop)

Pro tip for accurate measuring: Remember to double the drop and add it on to every measurement you take. Measuring your tablecloth is that simple! And if you have any concerns, questions, or a need for assistance, the design team at Fine Linen and Bath is always here to help! 

Adding a Silencer Pad

As luxury linen experts, we would be remiss if we didn’t take a moment here to remind you of the importance of adding a silencer pad underneath your tablecloth. We love Matouk Silencer Padding, a protective layer that prevents scratches, scuffs, stains, and damage to keep your dining table pristine. This protective pad is a heat-resistant and water-repellent cotton/polyester blend. Matouk Silencer Padding is available in standard sizes and can be custom made to your individual specifications.

Matouk Table Silencer Pad

Caring for Your Luxury Table Linens

If you follow the guidelines, measuring your tablecloth will be easy. What may prove a bit more challenging? Cleaning the inevitable stains and spills from your tablecloth while preserving the beauty and integrity of the fabric. Fortunately, we can help with that as well!

Choose the Best Laundry Detergent to Wash Your Luxury Table Linens

Your luxury table linens are an investment. With proper care, fine European linen can last to be handed down through generations. Caring for heirloom linen involves choosing the proper detergent. Harsh, chemical-filled grocery store brand detergents contain ingredients that can damage and weaken fibers over time. At the same time, you want to clean and remove stains from your table linen. 

This is why we recommend Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent. This concentrated, gentle, detergent is pH neutral and made with plant-based ingredients. At the same time, it’s formulated with powerful laundry enzymes that naturally break down and remove tough stains without damaging the fabric. will clean and remove tough stains without damaging the fabric. Learn more about how enzymes work on various types of stains here.

Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent is made in small batches with naturally derived ingredients according to strict protocols and stewardship guidelines. You can read and learn more about the ingredients here. Heritage Park products are also Leaping Bunny approved as never being tested on animals.

Avoiding Other Harmful Laundry Chemicals

Many laundry products, including those that claim to clean, brighten, or soften linens, can damage fine linen. Never use fabric softener or dryer sheets, both of which contain chemicals that coat and weaken fibers. You should also avoid chlorine bleach with any fine linens, as it also weakens natural fibers and may cause them to yellow. If fabrics need bleaching, use an oxygen-based bleach if the care label permits.

When caring for fine table linen, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Read our guide to laundering washable table linen, including instructions on washing, ironing, and treating common stains such as red wine, sauce, and grease.

As always, the Fine Linen and Bath Design Team is available to answer any care questions you might have about caring for your table linen.

Fine Linen and Bath: An In-Store Shopping Experience Delivered to You Online 

At Fine Linen and Bath, our mission is to deliver a concierge luxury linen shopping experience with online convenience. Browse our website to access an expansive collection of bedding, bath, table linens, and accessories from the world's premier brands.

When you need answers, consultation, or help to narrow your choices, our team of expert design consultants is here to assist you. We offer individualized recommendations, personal consultation, and even complimentary swatch samples for your review. We'll help you make the right buying decisions for your style, budget, and design goals.

Please connect with us online or -- even better -- give us a call at (866) 352-4522. We'd love to get to know you!