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The table is a place where family, friends and new acquaintances come together. We dine, we converse and we celebrate each other in many ways, meaning your table quickly becomes the centrepiece or canvas in setting the right tone and mood for each social occasion. Like a painting it represents a beautiful visual statement and snapshot in time, and therefore, should be tasked with its ability to endure in the memory of its audience. So, when pursuing perfection and faced with many options, where does one begin? Here is a quick guide on selecting the perfect tablecloth for your social occasion:

1.  Choosing French Linens

French linen tablecloths are characterised by a combination of gorgeous materials, expert construction, fine workmanship, and elegant design. They are durable, stain resistant, and become softer with use. Their long-lasting nature means the luxurious feel and appearance will provide years of loyal service.

rectangular french linen tablecloths

2. Choosing the Right Shape

The average dining table comes in four shapes and it is important that your French linen tablecloth aligns. This will determine the way the tablecloth drapes off the table creating differing appearances. The following shapes are recommended:

round french linen tablecloths

3. Choosing the Right Size

When purchasing a tablecloth for your dining table, you should determine the proper size of the tablecloth for your specific table and whether it be a casual meeting, informal or formal dining assembly. Choosing the right size will impact the visual statement and aims to avoid bunching and creasing as much as possible.

Casual meetings need not be too exuberant calling for a tablecloth that sits with a minimum 15 centimetre drop. If the tablecloth is presented for informal dining you should allow for a 15 to 20 centimetre drape on all sides, and for formal settings the tablecloth should hang down 25 to 30 centimetres around the table. For the more elaborate occasion however, you could even have a drop of anywhere from 40 to 75 centimetres, reaching the floor! The longer the drop, the more dramatic the effect.

If the table is extended and shortened often, then you should purchase separate tablecloths to fit each size.

4. Choosing the Right Colour & Design

When choosing the right colour and design for your tablecloth there are three aspects to consider.

First, choose colours that complement the existing décor of the location of your event. If the space is providing a provincial charm consider a French Country design. For outdoor events, let the setting guide you. Typically, bright colours look fantastic in sunlit areas, while pastels are brilliant in garden settings.

Second, consider the “climate”, spring and summer colours tend to be lighter, while bolder colours are more appropriate during the colder autumn and winter months.

And third, think about the mood that you want to create. Vibrant colours add drama, while softer colours and neutral tones are used for formal occasions evoking a more refined setting. Generally for formal themes either solid, woven with a pattern and embroidered designs suit best, whilst informal themes call for printed designs and colourful weaves.

blue french linen tablecloth setting

It seems as though finding the perfect tablecloth is subjective and limited to a specific snapshot in time thus one cannot look to ascertain a ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to the perfect tablecloth. Although using a basic guide is a humble beginning, it seems the greatest success is found through experience and experimenting with various concepts and ideas. Therefore, the last piece of advice is not to acquire one perfect tablecloth but rather a range of beautiful French linen tablecloths in order to start your journey to creating the perfect table setting.