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The Versatile Runner: 5 reasons why runners are essential

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

Pic Courtesy : Jonali

If there’s one thing everyone appreciates its feeling welcome in a friend’s home. Whether it is a lovely dinner, a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, the dining space is usually where the “coming together” happens and is the life of any home.

The easiest and the quickest way to elevate your dining space is by dressing your table with a table runner. It’s functional , low maintenance, pocket friendly and aesthetic all at once.

Jonali Khargharia, an interior designer with vast experience in designing residential spaces, talks to us about why she uses runners extensively and why they are absolutely essential in every home.

She believes wholeheartedly in using furnishings in a way that satisfies her senses. “Passing by the space, should make you smile” is a simple guideline she follows.

All pictures featured here are styled and shot by Jonali.

Here are her 5 reasons for why runners are essential in every home

#1 Show off your table with some Oomph

A nice wooden table needs to be shown off and that’s exactly what a runner can do - It livens up the space, without taking the attention away from your gorgeous table. They can serve as a tool to anchor your table visually and bring together the centrepiece and other accessories in creating a cohesive look. Table-covers can sometimes feel “Chunky” while runners can subtly uplift the space.

#2 No-Stress Maintenance

it is super easy to use, a smaller surface area to clean , and hardly takes up space in your closet.

#3 Protect the surface of your table

Worried about water rings and heavy /sharp centerpieces? Protect the surface of your table by cushioning it with a runner. You don’t have to go scrambling for coasters every time, worry about spills or wax from melting candles.

#4 Change the look of your space by season / occasion

Runners add pattern, colour, texture and a character to satisfy your senses, without being too loud. On a casual day, a runner across the centre of the table with a tray as your centrepiece to hold your fruits, flowers or your daily essentials would work just fine. In a formal or festive setup, you can use table runners as an accompaniment to your placemats or even over a tablecloth. Use them on special occasions to conjure up some holiday spirit or simply add a seasonal flair.

#5 Versatility - They work on sideboards and coffee tables too!

Don’t restrict yourself to using runners only in your dining space. Think console units, sideboards, bookshelves, coffee tables, patio tables, end tables, side tables. Break the monotony of dark surfaces.

Pic Courtesy: Jonali

Here are some of her tips on how to choose and style your tables with runners

Trays are a must-have Whether it’s the coffee-table, dining table or a sideboard, it provides a way to organize the contents- remotes/coasters on the coffee table, cutlery stand, salt’n’pepper shaker on the dining table.

The centerpiece chooses your prints It’s important to visually balance the elements / prints and patterns on the table.

- If using a vase with flowers / fruits or an elaborate centerpiece, go for a solid, minimal or beige runner.

- With a minimal / monotone center piece like a candle arrangement, it’s alright to go for florals / busy prints.

Choose based on your serve ware Plan your linen based on what serveware/ cutlery you’re using - If your plates are solid then lay the table with printed placemats / linen. If you’re using printed / coloured / patterned serveware, then go for solids in linen - it’s all about the balance.

Mix it up! Mix u match runners and placemats for some contrast. but make sure you pick one that complements your other linen.

Manage proportions Table runner should ideally be about 1/3rd of the width of the Table. So visually, it covers the middle 3rd of the table surface. Also, avoid really tall centerpieces and don’t combine them with really short ones. Finding the right balance and symmetry in what you lay on the table is an extremely crucial step.

Pic Courtesy: Jonali

More about Jonali and what inspires her -

Jonali’s design sensibilities are largely influenced by places around her such as her childhood years in Assam, her eclectic experiences in Delhi and her present day Bangalore adventures.

An enthusiastic admirer of minimalist living, Jonali believes that perfection lies at the crossroads of functionality and design. It comes as no surprise that she is drawn to natural elements, neutral colors and block prints. Bringing natural materials into a home helps us reconnect with nature and create a sense of calm in the home.

She’s an avid DIY enthusiast . A cursory glance at her Instagram handle(@allthatihome) will offer you glimpses into her under-stated yet chic, clean and minimalist living.



Deepthi Velkur (@deepthi9844) is a Bangalore based freelance digitalcontent 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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