Elevate Your Dining Experience: A Guide To Buying Table Linen

Elevate Your Dining Experience: A Guide To Buying Table Linen

A beautifully set table is key to hosting a memorable event or dinner party. And linen can go a long way in making your table look elegant, sophisticated, and inviting. In this guide, we'll take you through the key factors you should consider when choosing the best table linen, from material and table linen size to colour and table linen design. Ultimately, we aim to help you create a stunning tablescape to impress your guests. To help you make the most of this buying guide, we'll also sprinkle in some of our best table linen suggestions. Let's dive in.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is table linen?

The term refers to the fabrics used to cover a table or adorn a place setting. These include tablecloths, runners, tea towels, placemats, napkins, and table skirts. Each of these items has a specific purpose and can add to the overall aesthetic of your table.

How to make a table runner?

To make a table runner, measure the length and width of your table, cut fabric to those dimensions plus a few extra inches for hemming, hem the edges of the material, and add any desired embellishments or decorations. There are many tutorials and patterns available online for more detailed instructions.

How to style table linen?

There are endless ways to style tablecloths and table linen. An easy way is to pair matching table cloths, placemats and cloth napkins to create a cohesive look.

Types of Table Linen

Many types of table linen options exist to create stunning tabletop settings to achieve the desired look. Here are the most common types of table linen:


Nothing sets the tone for a table like a beautiful tablecloth. Available in a wide range of fabrics, colours, and sizes, tablecloths can instantly transform your dining space and create an inviting atmosphere. In terms of the best material for tablecloths, you have choices galore at Harris Scarfe. Whether you opt for a classic white or ivory tablecloth for a formal dinner party, a bold and colourful tablecloth for a festive gathering, or a patterned tablecloth to add visual interest, the right tablecloth can elevate your table setting to new heights.

Table runners

Table runners are a stylish and practical way to add texture and colour to your table. Placed down the centre of your table, they create a focal point that draws the eye and adds visual interest. Table runners are available in various lengths and widths and can be made from multiple materials, including linen, cotton, silk, and more.


Placemats are an excellent option for individual place settings, adding a touch of elegance and formality to your table linen design. They protect your table from spills and stains while adding visual interest and texture. They're also available in various materials, including bamboo, paper, linen, and more - placemats can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion.


Napkins are a table setting essential, used to wipe hands and faces and to add a pop of colour or texture to your table. Like tablecloths, napkins come in various materials and colours and can be folded in multiple ways to create a beautiful display. From simple cotton napkins to elegant silk or satin napkins, there's a napkin for every occasion.

Each type of table linen has its unique benefits and can be used to create a stunning table setting. By choosing the right tablecloth, table runner, placemat or napkin, you can create a cohesive look that will impress your guests and make your event or dinner party unforgettable.

Table Linen Materials

Choosing the suitable material for your table linen is crucial for achieving the desired look and feel of your table setting. Here are the most common materials used for table linen:

  • Cotton: Cotton is a popular choice for table linens due to its durability and ease of care. Cotton tablecloths, runners, placemats, and napkins are available in various colours and patterns, making them versatile for any occasion. Cotton table linens can be machine washed and dried, making them an excellent option for everyday use.
  • Polyester: Polyester is a synthetic fabric known for its durability and resistance to wrinkles and stains. Polyester tablecloths, runners, placemats, and napkins are available in various colours and patterns, making them popular for events and parties. They are also an affordable option for those on a budget.
  • Linen: Linen is a natural fabric valued for its luxurious texture and drape. Linen tablecloths, runners, placemats, and napkins are available in various colours, from classic white to bold and bright hues. Linen table linens are perfect for creating an elegant and sophisticated table setting. While linen does require more care than cotton or polyester, it is worth the effort for stunning results.
  • Silk: Silk is a luxurious and delicate fabric that adds a touch of elegance to any table setting. Silk tablecloths, runners, and napkins are available in various colours and patterns but are more commonly used for special occasions due to their delicate nature. They require special care, including dry cleaning, but the stunning results are worth the extra effort.
  • Other materials: There are many materials, including bamboo, paper, and vinyl. These materials are often used for casual events or outdoor gatherings, as they are easy to clean and care for.
Sizing For Table Linen

Sizing for Table Linen

Getting the table linen size and shape right is crucial for creating a beautiful and cohesive table setting. Here's what you need to know about table and linen sizes and shapes:

  • Standard sizes for table linens: There are standard sizes for tablecloths, runners, placemats, and napkins designed to fit most tables. For example, a rectangular tablecloth is 60 inches by 84 inches (150cm x 213 cm). Measuring your table before selecting a size is essential to ensure a proper fit.
  • Custom sizing options: If your table is an unusual shape or size or wants a custom fit, many retailers offer custom sizing options. This allows you to select the size you need for your table, ensuring a perfect fit and a beautiful setting.

Round Tablecloth Sizing Guide:

When fitting a tablecloth for a round table, for a normal setting we recommend a 25-30cm drop, which means you need to measure the diameter of the table (see pic below) then add 50- 60cm to this measurement (twice the drop). Example formula:

Formula = Diameter + 2 x drop required

Rectangular Tablecloth Sizing Guide:

To get the length of your tablecloth measure the length of the table and add twice the desired drop (length you want the tablecloth to overhang the table). Do this again to get the width. See the example formula below:


Table width/length + Drop on side + Drop on side



100 cm + 25 cm + 25 cm

150 cm


215 cm + 25 cm + 25 cm

265 cm

Colour & Table Linen Design Considerations

Selecting the right colour and design for your table linens is vital in creating a beautiful and cohesive setting. Here's what you need to know about colour and design options for table linens:

Solid colours

Solid colour table linens are a classic and timeless choice that you can easily pair with any decor or theme. Neutral colours like white, ivory and beige are perfect for formal events, while bold, bright hues like red and blue are splendid for casual occasions. For instance, we love this linen and white tablecloth from Chyka Home for offering a neutral and grounding backdrop for your table setting.


Patterned table linens can add interest and texture to your setting. From traditional florals to modern geometric designs, there are endless options. When selecting a patterned tablecloth, it's essential to consider the other elements of your table setting, such as your dinnerware and centrepiece, to ensure a cohesive look.


Embroidered table linen adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to your table setting. Whether you opt for delicate floral embroidery or bold and graphic designs, embroidered tablecloths, runners, and napkins are a stunning choice for special occasions.


Jacquard table linens are a luxurious option with intricate patterns woven into the fabric. They are available in various colours and designs, from classic damask to contemporary geometrics.

Other design options

There are many different design options for table linens, including lace, fringe, and beading. These details can add texture and interest to your table setting and create a unique and personalised look.

At Harris Scarfe, we offer table linen in various designs, colours, sizes and patterns to suit any occasion or style. From classic solid colours to modern patterns, our table linens are made from high-quality materials designed to elevate your dining experience.

Care & Maintenance For Table Linen

Care & Maintenance

Here's what you need to know about caring for and maintaining your table linen:

Washing instructions

Always check the care label for specific instructions before washing your table linens. A mild detergent can wash most table linens in a washing machine on a gentle cycle. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners. If your table linens are heavily soiled, consider soaking them in warm water and mild detergent before washing them.

Drying options

Once your table linen is clean, dry them properly to prevent shrinking or damage. Line drying is the gentlest option, but if you need to use a dryer, select a low heat setting and remove the linens promptly when they are dry to prevent wrinkles.

Ironing tips

Always iron your linens on the reverse side to avoid damaging any embroidery or decorative elements. Use a low to medium heat setting and steam to remove wrinkles. Consider pressing cloth to protect the fabric if your linens are heavily wrinkled.

Storing guidelines

Proper storage is essential to protect your table linens from damage and ensure they are ready to use when needed. Fold your linens neatly and keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing linens in plastic bags, which can trap moisture and lead to mildew.

We offer a range of beautiful and practical table linens at Harris Scarfe. Our linens are made from high-quality materials that are durable and easy to care for, making them an excellent investment for your home. Whether you opt for classic cotton or luxurious silk, our table linens are designed to elevate your dining experience and make every meal special.

Cost Considerations

Shop for a range of high-quality table linens at affordable prices. Here are some factors that can affect the cost of table linens:


The type of material used can significantly impact the cost of table linens. Natural fabrics like cotton and linen are more expensive than synthetic materials like polyester.


Table linens designs like embroidered runners may be more expensive than those with simple patterns or solid colours.


Premium brands may come with a higher price tag due to their reputation and the quality of materials used.

In addition to offering competitive prices, we also provide tips for getting the best value when shopping for table linens. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Buy in bulk. Purchasing a set of table linens can be more cost-effective than buying individual pieces.
  • Invest in quality. While it may be tempting to opt for cheaper options, investing in high-quality table linens can save you money in the long run by lasting longer and requiring less frequent replacements.
  • Look for sales and promotions. Harris Scarfe frequently offers sales and promotions on table linens, so check our website or sign up for our email newsletter to stay updated.

Buy the Best Table Linen For Your Home

Investing in high-quality table linens can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your table setting. Consider the type of table linen, material, size and shape, colour and design, care and maintenance, and cost when purchasing. With these considerations in mind, you'll be well on your way to creating a stunning tablescape that your guests will remember for years. We also have a tableware buying guide to help you find the best crockery, cutlery and accessories to dress your table like a pro. While at it, also browse our exhaustive list of dinnerware and glassware. Happy shopping!