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Size does matter!How to pick the right sized tablecloth

Whether you're inviting friends over for a casual get together or you're hosting a formal dinner, your table linen serves as a visual backdrop to any occasion you're hosting - The building block for any table setting.

But just like any other piece of decor, choosing linen is more than just finding one that reflects your style. It needs to be perfectly sized to fit your table.

If there's one mistake you could and should absolutely avoid is using the wrong size of tablecloth for your table. One that’s too long would make it look awkward as it will drape all over your lap. On the other hand, putting something that’s several sizes smaller will make everything look undone.

When choosing the right table cloth size, there are 3 basic steps that will help you arrive at the perfect size for your table:

Step 1: Measure the size of your table

Knowing the exact size of your table helps you in picking out the right table cloth.

  • For a rectangular/oval - Measure the entire length and width of your table.

  • For a square table - Measure one side of the table which can be used as the width and length measurements.

  • For a round table - Measure the diameter of the table from one end to the other end of the table. It should ideally be the longest length across the table.

Step 2: Factor in the desired tablecloth “drop” -

It’s important that you choose to what extent you want the table cloth to hang over the sides of your table. This will determine the size of your table cloth that will fit your table like a glove. Typically, it is a 6”-15” drop on all sides for a standard table. You can go with 6”-10” for a casual setting and up to 15” overhang for a formal setup.

Step 3: Determine the right size for your tablecloth

Once you have measured your table and determined the drop, you will need to apply this simple formula to determine the size of the table cloth you need:

  • For a rectangular, oval or square table - Add twice the drop length you prefer ( 6-15”) to each of the length and breadth (since it drops on both ends). Compare this with the available product dimensions.

A couple of points to note: -A rectangular tablecloth works well even on an oval shaped table.

Pic courtesy: Praveena(left), Srilatha(right)

-Often, a 6 seater table may need an 8-seater cover & so on.

Pic Courtesy: Menaka Raman(top) and Bhavana Bhargava(bottom)

  • For a round table - Add twice the drop length you prefer ( 6-15”) to the diameter. Compare this with the available product dimensions.

An important point to remember here is to always account for shrinkage of material( since its fabric, it can shrink to about 2-5%) - so when in doubt, go for the larger size.

Since there is no one standard size followed for dining tables. Table cloth dimensions usually fall within a particular range that can work across differently sized tables. It’s absolutely ok for the drop not to be uniform around the table and the difference could be anywhere between 3-5".

Common mistakes people make when choosing the size of a tablecloth:

  • Walking into a store without having the right measurements of your table.

  • Not taking into consideration the drop or the overhang on the sides of your table.

Once you’ve identified the right size for your table, invest in buying a few colours or patterns so you can mix-and-match your linens with your dinnerware to fit the occasion. After all, size does matter!



Deepthi Velkur (@deepthi9844) is a Bangalore based freelance digital content writer, and mom to a busy 10-year old. Her writing credits include health and fitness magazines, running stories and wedding planning articles. While redecorating her apartment she fell in love with home styling and now marries her love for home decor with writing.


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