Table linens can help set the tone of a gathering and provide a backdrop to display dinnerware and glassware. A tablecloth not only serves a decorative function, but it also protects your table from stains and scratches. If your dining table has seen better days, a tablecloth is a simple way to cover it. For everyday meals, many people opt to use placemats and bring out a tablecloth only when entertaining or for special occasions.
When shopping for a tablecloth, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the selection of sizes, materials, prints, and finishes. Learn more about how to choose the best tablecloths for your home and explore our top picks.
- BEST OVERALL: DII 100% Cotton, Chambray Tablecloth, Everyday Basic
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: LUSHVIDA Rectangle Table Cloth – Washable Microfiber
- BEST PATTERNED: Maison d’Hermine Amazonia 100% Cotton Tablecloth
- BEST VINTAGE: ARTABLE Lace Table Cloths Rectangle Fall Antique
- BEST RUSTIC: smiry Embroidery Tassel Tablecloth – Cotton Linen
- BEST FORMAL: Benson Mills Harmony Scroll Tablecloth (Birch)
- BEST OUTDOOR: BEAUTYTREES Table Cloth Waterproof Oil-Proof
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Tablecloths
Tablecloths come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, materials, and styles. Before shopping for a tablecloth for your dining room or outdoor table, consider these important qualities and features.
Size and Shape
Size and shape are usually the first concerns when shopping for a dining table tablecloth. Start by measuring the table; then consider the drop—the amount of material that hangs off the edge of the table. While the exact length of the drop is a personal preference, most design experts agree that it should be no shorter than 6 inches on each side.
Some common tablecloth sizes to fit the most popular table sizes include:
- Rectangular or oblong tablecloths come in the widest variety of sizes. The most common sizes range from 52 by 70 inches to 60 by 140 inches.
- Square tablecloths are commonly 52 by 52 inches or 70 by 70 inches.
- Round tablecloths are typically 60, 70, or 90 inches in diameter.
- Oval tablecloths are usually 60 by 84 inches or 60 by 102 inches.
If the dining table has leaves to expand it, you may need several different sizes to accommodate various occasions or number of diners.
Table linens are made from either natural or synthetic materials, each of which has advantages and disadvantages.
- Natural materials like cotton and linen are soft and naturally absorbent. They are durable, hold up well to ironing, and become softer with each wash. However, colored cotton fabrics tend to fade over time, and the fabric may shrink in the wash. Although more expensive, linens made from natural materials should last longer than synthetics.
- Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and microfiber, have improved significantly over the years. Some even look and feel like cotton. Synthetic fabrics are generally durable and stain-resistant, traits that make them an optimal choice for tablecloths that will experience a lot of wear and tear. Some are completely waterproof for outdoor use.
- Laminated tablecloths have protective coatings, which makes them ultra durable.
Table linens are available in a wide variety of styles to suit individual preferences.
- Neutral solid colors are versatile and can be used year-round.
- While white or cream-colored linens look elegant, they may not be ideal for everyday use.
- Patterned tablecloths hide stains more easily and are available in designs for holidays and special occasions.
- Decorative details like embroidery and tassels add visual interest, but they can make laundering more difficult.
A crisply ironed tablecloth is ideal for a formal setting, but note that ironing instructions vary depending on the material.
- Cotton holds up well to ironing but may need frequent ironing as it tends to wrinkle.
- Linen also needs ironing, especially when new, but some people prefer the more casual look of unironed linen.
- Microfiber cannot be ironed.
- Polyester is wrinkle-resistant and doesn’t require frequent ironing.
- Laminated and vinyl tablecloths cannot be ironed.
Ease of Cleaning
Inevitably, tablecloths and linens will get soiled and require occasional stain removal, so look for easy-to-clean styles. Cleaning instructions vary depending on the material.
- Microfiber and polyester tablecloths can be machine washed and tumble dried.
- Cotton tablecloths can be machine washed and dried on a low setting.
- Laminated and vinyl tablecloths cannot be machine washed; instead, wipe them down with a damp cloth.
- Lace tablecloths should be hand washed.
Our Top Picks
Now that you’ve learned more about tablecloths, it’s time to start shopping. These recommendations for some of the best tablecloths consider all the features described, including style, material, and ease of cleaning.
Cotton’s natural fibers make this DII tablecloth feel soft and luxurious. This 100 percent cotton tablecloth comprises a woven chambray fabric with a textured appearance. With an informal design that suits farmhouse, rustic, or modern decor styles, it comes in neutral hues and pastel colors. For a coordinated look, matching cloth napkins are also available.
This tablecloth is available in a range of five rectangular sizes as well as a 70-inch round version. It’s machine washable on the gentle cycle and should be tumble dried on low. If necessary, iron it at a low temperature.
LUSHVIDA’s polyester tablecloth is completely waterproof, making it easy to maintain in busy households. The scalloped edge adds a vintage aesthetic, and it comes in a variety of square and rectangular sizes. The color variety—beige, black, burgundy, navy, red, and gray—provides options for various decor styles.
The material incorporates a finish to repel most stains, including coffee and wine. Stains that do occur usually wipe clean with a damp cloth. It’s machine washable and can be dried on low heat. A low-temperature iron is safest.
Those looking for holiday-themed tablecloths for their next festive get-together will appreciate the range of prints and patterns available from Maison d’Hermine. This 100 percent cotton tablecloth comes in a wide variety of patterns for everyday use, specific occasions, and even seasons: winter-themed scenes, autumnal prints, and spring florals.
Each print is available in rectangular, round, and square shapes of varying sizes. Machine wash on warm, tumble dry it on low, and iron if necessary.
Vintage-style lace tablecloths like this one by ARTABLE bring an antique aesthetic to a dining room. Made with polyester, the body of the tablecloth is sturdy, while the delicate lace trim adds visual appeal.
Unlike other lace linens that require careful hand washing, this one can be machine washed without the risk of shrinking. While this particular tablecloth is white with matching lace, others are available in contrasting colors and different styles. Each style is available in several rectangular sizes.
An embroidered cotton tablecloth like this smiry Embroidery Tassel Tablecloth suits many decor styles, including rustic farmhouse. With a tassel fringe and a cotton-linen blend, it works well for themed baby showers, engagement parties, barn-style weddings, or everyday use. It comes in a selection of both neutral and colorful hues and different embroidery designs.
It’s machine washable and can be ironed at a low temperature.
Formal dining rooms merit luxury tablecloths that let guests know they’re in for a special dining experience. These linens by Benson Mills deliver a high-end result at an affordable price point. Because it’s a cotton-polyester blend, it offers the benefits of both materials; it can be machine washed in warm water but is also soft.
It comes in birch, gold, silver-blue, silver-gold, and white. A festive green and red version is also available for holiday entertaining. It comes in a range of rectangular sizes, and matching napkins are also available.
For backyard barbecues, camping, or picnics, diners need a sturdy, waterproof tablecloth, and this one from BEAUTYTREES features an affordable price point. Its classic checkered print evokes retro decor. Made from easy-to-clean vinyl, users can simply wipe it down after meals with a damp cloth. Liquid spills bead on the material’s surface without permeating it. It’s both scratch- and heat-resistant, and it comes in a square or rectangular size.
FAQs About Tablecloths
If you still have questions about choosing the best tablecloth, the following frequently asked questions may help.
Q. What are the best tablecloth fabrics?
The best fabric for a tablecloth depends on your needs and preferences. While natural materials like cotton are soft and feel luxurious, synthetic materials like polyester hold up better to frequent laundering.
Q. How much should a tablecloth hang over the table?
A tablecloth should hang at least 6 inches off the edge of the table.
Q. Can you use a rectangular tablecloth on a round table?
It’s tricky to fit a rectangular tablecloth on a round table, but a square-shaped tablecloth could work.
Q. What is the best way to store tablecloths?
Once completely dry, either hang or fold your tablecloth. Store it in a cool, dry area. Depending on the material, tablecloths that have been stored flat may need to be ironed before you use them.