How to Lay a Tablecloth

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measaure

  • Silence cloth (flannel or cotton pad or cloth)

  • Tablecloth (proper size for your table)

  • Centerpiece (optional)

Properly laying a tablecloth is not something most of us ever really think about very often. However, a tablecloth that is not properly laid upon the table can have such unfortunate consequences as guests tripping over the tablecloth or spilled glasses and broken dishes. There is more to properly laying a tablecloth than simply throwing the tablecloth over the table and centering a vase of flowers in the middle of the table. In addition, there are different methods for tables of different sizes and for different occasions. If you know the technique for laying a tablecloth, you will never have to worry about tablecloth accidents again.


How to Lay a Tablecloth

Step 1

Determine the size of your table. Use the tape measure to measure all four sides of the table if the table is square or rectangular. If the table is round or oval, measure across the table from side to side and from head to foot.


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Step 2

Find the appropriate size cloth to cover the table. Examine the measurements shown on the tablecloth's package. Make sure that the cloth will hang about 9 inches over each side at the edge of the table.

Step 3

Lay the silence cloth at the center of the table. The silence cloth is usually double-sided flannel or thicker cotton. This cloth will keep the tablecloth from sliding and slipping, muffle noise of dishes and silverware against the table, and also protect the table from accidental spills and burns.


Step 4

Launder and iron the tablecloth.

Step 5

Unfold the tablecloth on the table from the center of the table out to the edges.

Step 6

Place the center fold (facing up) of the tablecloth directly down the center of the table. The four corners of the tablecloth should be of equal distance from the floor on each side of the table.

Step 7

Place your centerpiece in the middle of the table. Centerpieces are optional depending upon the occasion and your personal preference.


Make sure that the edges of the tablecloth do not hang so low that guests get tangled up in it when sitting or getting up. Use a bowl filled with seasonal fruits or a vase of flowers for a centerpiece to add an elegant yet comforting touch.



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