How to Buy a Tablecloth

Three Parts:Calculating the measurementsShopping for the tableclothPurchasing antique or vintage tablecloths

Buying a tablecloth may seem an easy and straightforward exercise. However, before the tablecloth do you know exactly what size you need? This is the main consideration and the most important starting point for buying a tablecloth.

Part 1
Calculating the measurements

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    Measure your table. Note down the measurements by width, length and height. For example: A 6 foot banquet table measuring 30 inches wide by 72 inches long by 29 inches high.
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    Decide how you want the tablecloth to look when it is on the table. Do you want the tablecloth to drop neatly to just above the floor? Maybe you will have people eating at the table and only want a 12 inch drop all round.
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    Use an online tablecloth calculator. This makes it really easy to work out quickly from your table's measurements which tablecloth will work best for your table.

Part 2
Shopping for the tablecloth

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    Consider what elements of the tablecloth are important to you. Besides the size, there are other things to consider when getting the right tablecloth. These include:
    • What fabric do you want? There are cottons, linens, blends with synthetics, and so forth. Some don't need ironing, others do. Some may stain more easily than others.
    • Are you going to launder this tablecloth often? If so, you won't be wanting a delicate, hand-embroidered cloth but a strong, sturdy and colorfast tablecloth instead. If you are looking for a regular use tablecloth for the family dining table, then polyester is a great choice. It is normally stain-treated and washes easily.
    • Is it just for special occasions? If so, it's okay to want the delicate, lacy and hand-embroidered tablecloth, provided you're aware that it may get stained and require special washing. For something fancier, maybe look for a Damask fabric––these have beautiful patterns woven into the cloth.
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    Check online options. You might like to see what is available online before going to a store. However, actually being in the store is best because you can touch the fabric and see for yourself what it looks like close up.
    • Purchase a quality made product. Cheaper items will not last as long as those that may cost a bit more but are well made.
    • You will often find the best prices online but you may wish to get a swatch or sample as online shopping doesn't give the in-store possibility to see the linen.

Part 3
Purchasing antique or vintage tablecloths

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    Consider older tablecloths when you want something fancy and elegant. They can be great for covering side tables permanently or just used occasionally for very special meals. Antique tablecloths will often be handmade and heavily embroidered, making them a beautiful item in your home and it is nice to honor the person who made it many decades ago by giving the cloth another round of usage.
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    Find the antique or vintage tablecloths. Look in antique, vintage and charity stores for older linens. There are also many online sources, such as Etsy, eBay and specialist vintage linen storefronts.
    • Online sellers will often do the work of checking for flaws and problems with the cloths, telling you upfront so that you are aware of any problems. You can also ask if they don't make any mention of these things.
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    Know what to look for. When deciding on an antique or vintage tablecloth, there are certain things to look for:
    • Stains: Look for stains. Some stains ruin an old tablecloth and it's not reusable. However, some stains might be small enough that you can live with them.
    • Tears or fraying: Look for small tears, fraying and loose threads. Consider whether they mar the overall appearance of the tablecloth or whether they're just part of its character.
    • Missing embroidery: Unraveled or unfinished embroidery may cause the tablecloth to look incomplete or shabby. On the other hand, this may simply form part of its charm.
    • Smells bad: Let the seller know it smells bad and see if you can get a price reduction as you're going to have to wash the item. If you can't get it for a good price or it really stinks, leave it be.
    However, even if you find any of these flaws, don't be too precious about it, as all old things have some wear and tear and if the stain or tear is small, barely noticeable or simply part of the nature of the item in a good way, then it may still be fine to use it. Also, you may be able to disguise some flaws, especially if the embroidery is worth salvaging. Ultimately, antique or vintage tablecloths are about adding charm and character to your home, so a few flaws are to be expected.

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Categories: Home Improvements and Repairs