How To Choose A Tablecloth Color – Questions To Ask Yourself

The walls of your dining area have been painted, the furniture in place, the dishes and glasses purchased. Now comes the final touch, the tablecloth, and you wonder how to choose a tablecloth color. Have no fear! We have done the research to help you figure this out.

When choosing a tablecloth, consider the following:

  • What style are you going for?
  • Will colors work?
  • Patterns, yay or nay?
  • Is this cloth for a special event?

These questions will help you decide what color would be best for your tablecloth. Read on to find information to help answer these questions.

A luxurious restaurant incorporated with white clothing and wooden chairs, How To Choose A Tablecloth Color - Questions To Ask Yourself

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Things To Consider When Choosing A Tablecloth Color

What Style Are You Going For?

The color of your tablecloth should match the “feel” of your dining area. Is it a comfy nook in the kitchen, or is it a sophisticated dining room with chandeliers and a tray ceiling? Or is it more of a chameleon that changes with the seasons?

For a more formal look, white, off-white, and ivory tablecloths are the most appropriate.

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Click here to see Gee Di Moda Tablecloth In White at Amazon. 

If your dining area has a more thematic feel, then a colored tablecloth may be more appropriate. For example, a baby pink or pastel yellow cloth would look lovely in a country cottage kitchen, while a deep red would go well in an old-world style dining room.


Will Colors Work?

Some experts believe that colors can enhance appetite, especially deep blue, yellow, or chocolate.

Click here to see Maxmill Jacquard Tablecloth in Brown at Amazon.

If you do go with a colored tablecloth, choose a color that picks up shades of the walls or curtains or highlights elements for your dishware. Just make sure the cloth is an accent and not overwhelming the room.

interior of a narrow dining room with an oriental are rug with white chairs and a wooden dining table

Patterns, Yay Or Nay?

When deciding if you want a tablecloth with a pattern, remember that patterns may be hard to match with existing décors and accents and may make things look too busy.


So, if you’re deciding on a particular pattern, and are asking yourself if it’s too much, then yes, it is.

Patterns can also distract people from their food, so be cautious in your choices. Consider a damask – also known as jacquard – which refers to patterns woven into the cloth’s fabric. This is more subtle than a print and creates a patterned material without being overpowering.

Click here to see Benson Mills Harvest Legacy Damask Tablecloth at Amazon.

Is This Cloth For A Special Event?

Many people have “every day” tablecloths and then various cloths for special events. For an event, consider the occasion, the location, and the season.

An occasion isn’t seasonal-based and can include a baby shower, an engagement, or a birthday. In situations like this, it’s okay for the tablecloth to stand out and not match the room’s surroundings.


Is the table outside but not necessarily themed? Consider the surrounding atmosphere when choosing your tablecloth. Is it in an open and sunny area? You may want to use a primary-colored cloth, such as orange or lime green, or a bright pattern. A darker cloth such as burgundy or deep purple works better if it’s a more shaded area.

Click here to see Spring & Summer Outdoor Tablecloth at Amazon.

Then we have seasonal events, such as holidays. Many holidays have traditional colors, and it is okay for your tablecloth to represent that, no matter what the room’s colors are. For example, for Hanukkah, you could use the traditional blue and silver; for Ramadan festivities, you could use purple (or dark blue) and yellow.


We know there is more to tablecloths than just color, so continue reading as we try to answer more of your tablecloth questions.

What Fabrics Are Best For Tablecloths?

Again, this answer is based on the style of the dining area and the occasion for which the tablecloth is being used.

Usually, the top choice for formal dining areas is cotton and linen because of their luxurious look and their strength. They are sustainable and soft and give an elegant look that makes your table picture-worthy. Remember, though, they usually aren’t stain-resistant, and they need to be either machine-washed (or dry-cleaned) and ironed with each use.

For less formal situations, you have multiple choices. Polyester, microfiber, and cotton blend are the step-down from cotton and linen. They still give a formal look but don’t require as much ironing and are stain-resistant.

Click here to see Jacquard Flower Pattern Polyester Table Cloth Spill Proof at Amazon.

Then there are the tablecloths that are used more for outdoor events and kids’ parties. For these situations, you have inexpensive options like laminated fabric and vinyl. They can be easily cleaned with a sponge and don’t need ironing.

Should Your Tablecloth Match Your Napkins?

This seems to be a debate among experts. The purists insist that the napkins should match, either as the same color or drawing one color from the cloth if there is a pattern. While others believe that, although for formal occasions, the napkins should match, they don’t have to match all the time. They can be a contrasting color, a pattern with the tablecloth’s color, or a bright pop of color if the cloth is a neutral tone.


So when choosing napkins, you should again consider the type of event and the dining area being used.

How Do You Determine The Best Tablecloth Size?

Choosing a size isn’t as scary as one would think, although it is easier when you know the measurements of your table. If you don’t have the measurements, you need to know the following things: the shape of your table and the number of people who can sit comfortably around it.

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Before you decide on the size, remember the ‘drop.’ The drop is the material that hangs over the edge of the table. A table should have a 6″- 10″ drop, and the longer the drop, the more formal a feel the table will have. But, as with many rules of tablecloths, it comes down to personal preference. 

If you know the measurements of your table, then add 12″ – 20″ to the length and width of your table. If you aren’t sure about the measurements of your table, then choose the next size up. For example, if you have a round table that seats four, it’s better to get the 70″ tablecloth than the 60″.

One last thing: if your cloth is for a special occasion or a holiday, remember to add the extra inches of the table extensions (also known as leaves) that will be used to your tablecloth measurements. And if you don’t know the exact measurements, usually a leaf seats two more people at the table.

In Closing

When you are ready to buy new tablecloths, the only thing that has concrete limitations is the shape of the cloth; you wouldn’t want to get a round cloth for a rectangular table.

Otherwise, the sky’s the limit. You can choose your tablecloth based on the event, the guests, the season, the location, or just on your creativity. Have fun with it!

Before you go, check out these other posts that may be of interest to you:

Should Your Dining Table Always Be Set?

What Are The Best Placemats For A Round Table?

Can You Put A Dining Table In The Living Room?

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