How Far Should A Tablecloth Hang? [Should It Touch The Floor?]

Most people will choose a tablecloth based on its style and material. However, this makes it easy to ignore or forget the size of the tablecloth. But the length of your tablecloth can change the entire attitude of a room. Many times, new tablecloths are purchased for special occasions, either at home or in public. How far a tablecloth hangs will create a casual or formal mood. But don’t worry, because we have carefully researched just how far your tablecloth should hang.

How far your tablecloth hangs off a table is determined by the formality, environment, and table dimensions. Traditionally, a half drop is acceptable for casual occasions. This means that the tablecloth will hang halfway to the floor. However, even though a half drop saves money, your tablecloth should touch the floor on formal occasions. This is because a full drop will cover the legs of your tables, chairs, and guests.

Whether you are planning a wedding or simply restyling your dining room, you should always consider the drop of your tablecloth. Longer tablecloths will require more cleaning and a bigger budget. Shorter tablecloths won’t look so elegant. Keep reading to learn about what size is right for you.

Rustic themed outdoor dining area with wooden chairs, white tablecloth, and incorporated with plants and herbs, How Far Should A Tablecloth Hang? [Should It Touch The Floor?]

What are standard tablecloth sizes?

There are countless varieties of tables, some of which may have been custom-made. Some are designed for a small dining room corner, while others will seat a dozen party guests. As such, standard tablecloth sizes are usually selected by the shape of the table. Your table is very likely to be round, square, or rectangular. You can read this post to help decide whether to purchase a new round or rectangle table.

Click here to find this rectangular tablecloth on Amazon.

Even when you shop casually, there are slight variations from one tablecloth to the next. However, most of them will measure around 50 inches by 80 inches. Rectangle tablecloths will usually measure a little larger, around 60 inches by 100 inches. Again, these sizes can quickly change by tablecloth brand or table shape.

As such, it is always ideal to measure your table for a personalized tablecloth size. Fortunately, there are established math equations that will surely produce much better results. Otherwise, you may end up with tablecloths that drop too far and get filthy or torn up. More to come on tablecloth equations!

What size tablecloth do I need for a 6-foot table?

Tablecloths on the reception area of a wedding

You will need to take a couple of steps to determine the right tablecloth size for any table. You will need to consider the shape of your table, the formality of your room, and then, calculate with precision.

Establish The Formality

Firstly, you will need to determine the purpose of your tablecloth. The formality of your tablecloth will guide you in selecting the right amount of drop. The drop is how far your tablecloth hangs over the edge of the table.

Click here to see this wedding tablecloth on Amazon.

You might be planning on a casual event or everyday use at home. In this case, the tablecloth will commonly hang around six or eight inches from the table's edge to the end of the tablecloth. If you plan on finding a new tablecloth for some special occasion, then you should use a longer drop. This means that the tablecloth should hang about 15 inches from the table's edge to the end of the tablecloth.

Or, you can even let the new tablecloth touch your floor altogether. In fact, some people allow their tablecloths to fold into the floor like a puddle. This is similar to elegant curtains that deliberately pool. Now, cleaning a puddled tablecloth may be challenging, but it always looks fancy.

Read more: How To Make Curtains Longer [3 Ways]

Calculate With Equations

A neatly folded table napkins and white tablecloths inside a luxurious restaurant

Once you have decided on how formal your room will be, things become a little tricky. There are universal math equations that many businesses will suggest, essentially two specific equations, to determine tablecloth size. One is meant for square and rectangle tables, while the other is for round tables.

For square and rectangle tables, you will need to measure the length and width of the table. Then, multiply the desired drop length by two. Finally, add that sum to the length and width of your table. So, the equation is: Drop Length x 2 + Length. And then: Drop Length x 2 + Width. The results will determine the dimensions of your tablecloth’s length and width.

To make it clearer, let’s break that equation down for a square, six-foot table intended for casual dining. Brace yourself for a word problem:

  1. A foot is 12 inches long. This means that the length and width of the square, six-foot table are actually 72 inches long.
  2. Since a casual tablecloth drop is around eight inches, you will multiply eight by two, which is 16.
  3. You can finally add 16 to 72, which is 88.

This means you need to buy a tablecloth that measures 88 inches by 88 inches, to account for table coverage and appropriate drop. 

Round tables aren’t very different to calculate. Instead of measuring the length and width, you will measure the diameter, the length from one end of the table to the other. Multiply the drop length by two, and add that to the table’s diameter. This will determine your tablecloth’s diameter.

What do you do if your tablecloth is too long?

In more casual situations, it’s likely that a tablecloth won’t perfectly match the accompanying table. Or, perhaps it’s too late to find a brand new set of tablecloths. It’s even possible you measured incorrectly before deciding on the new tablecloth. Either way, there are various solutions for tablecloths that are too long.

Click here to find this sewing kit on Amazon.

The more elaborate answer is to trim and hem the tablecloth. Determine how much shorter you’ll need the tablecloth to be. Before you evenly trim off any fabric, remember that you will need a spare inch to hem the tablecloth afterward. Unfortunately, this requires sewing tools and skills, which not everyone will be ready for.

Fortunately, there are some quick DIY solutions, too. You can always hem the tablecloth without trimming first. Then, you can get creative with how to keep the tablecloth hemmed. Any kind of clip or pin will do. If this doesn’t look nice, you can try to pleat the tablecloth, which will adjust look deliberate and appealing.

Click here to see this Gold Leaf Ribbon Rope on Amazon.

Others have recommended tying the four corners of the tablecloth together. Again, the actual binding can become a decoration. You can use another cloth, ribbons, string, and so forth.

Are table runners supposed to hang off the table?

Table runners are a long, narrow cloth that sits on your table or tablecloth. They’re essentially like a large, decorative ribbon. Table runners with tassels or other decorative corners should definitely hang off the table. If decorative corners just sit on the table, they will look very clunky.

Click here to see this luxury table runner on Amazon.

Otherwise, it’s purely an aesthetic choice. Depending on the style of the room, table, and tablecloth, your table runner may look nicer if it’s the same length as your table. Some people even use table runners that are shorter than the length of the table.

In closing

Tablecloths are such a commonplace ornament; they are easily overlooked. But they can completely determine the formality of any room. So, although some calculations are probably for your own table, the effort is always worthwhile. And if the tablecloth doesn’t quite fit, some handy solutions are just begging for your own creativity! Now you can prepare for any occasion, from everyday dining to lavish celebrations.

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