Here are some tips for choosing a tablecloth.
First, think about your occasion. A formal occasion, such as a black tie affair, calls for classic table linens in neutral tones, like white cotton or white linen. For other occasions, damask tablecloths lend more flair, especially colorful woven damasks. Embroidered tablecloths make the occasion feel more traditional, while prints have a fun, casual, and easy way about them.
Second, get the right size. A tablecloth should hang amply off the sides of your table and never seem too short. We recommend at least eight inches for formal dining. The more the tablecloth hangs, the more formal it looks: think about wedding or banquet tables where the tablecloth drapes all the way to the floor. Use our tablecloth size guide for more information on how to choose the right size tablecloth for your table.
Third, think about color. White is always appropriate but it is quite formal. Irish linen white, ivory, beige, or ecru tones are softer. When choosing colors, think of your tablecloth as the foundation for your decor: a lighter hue will tend to blend in with your setting, whereas stronger color will make a bold statement.
Finally, remember that good tablecloths can be used for years to come. With proper care, a cotton or linen tablecloth can last for years and be handed to the next generation as a precious heirloom. So choose something you’d really love, use it often, and enjoy!
For more information, see our guide on choosing table linens.