What Should I Consider When Buying Table Linens?

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  • Written By: Deborah Ng
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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Table linens add an elegant touch to any celebration. From the backyard picnic to the fancy dinner party, nothing says class like crisp, clean table linens. Choosing table linens can be tricky, as the last thing you want is to purchase a less than quality set. When it comes to buying table linens, you truly do get what you pay for.

Table linens should be made out of soft, natural fibers such as cotton or linen. Yes, you can purchase a set made from synthetic materials, but you'll be swapping quality for easy care. With table linens made from synthetic fibers, you won't have to do as much ironing, but it should be kept in mind that they don't absorb liquids as well as those made from natural materials.

Table linens made from cotton or linen are not only more absorbent but also last longer. The fibers don't pill or pile as easy as with synthetic table linens and they don't become shiny when exposed to an iron's heat. Egyptian cotton and Irish linen are considered the finest materials for table linens because of their long, durable fibers.


White is the most popular color for table linens because it's considered formal. Table linens in off white or ivory are also acceptable. If you'd like to go with color, choose a set that goes with the décor but doesn't overwhelm it. A damask (woven) or embroidered pattern is perfectly acceptable, as long as it's not too busy. Your guests should notice table linens but not be distracted by them.

When choosing table linens, the "drop length" must be taken into consideration. This refers to the amount of tablecloth hanging down from the edge of the table towards the floor. Elegance is measured by drop length; the longer it is, the more elegant and formal a table will be.

If you wish to have your table linen touch the floor, you'll have to do a little math to figure out the size of the linens you want to buy. For example, if your table is rectangular, the length should be determined by adding the length plus two times the height. The width should be determined by adding the width plus the height times two. Fortunately most table linens come in standard sizes and it's not difficult to choose the best size table linens by reading the packaging.

Whether you choose synthetic or natural materials for your table linens, one thing is for sure. They will add a touch of elegance and class to your décor.


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