Sprucing up your home, especially your dining room or kitchen area, is as easy as changing out the table decorations each season. Whether you’re looking to create a seasonal display to give your dining room table some personality or just want to create an extra focal point in your entryway, table runners, tablecloths or placemats are a table’s best match.
These simple table linens come in a variety of sizes, colors and textiles to suit every taste and style, and are made to look great on any table, from long rectangular dining tables to smaller coffee tables.
Decorating your table is less about following a strict set of rules and more about expressing your own design sense in a way that works with your furniture and taste to match the environment. With that in mind, here are three ways to decorate using table linens.
Long and Lengthwise
Traditionally, table runners lay lengthwise and centered across the table, with enough length to leave some material hanging over the edges. To successfully lay out a table runner, you'll need to know the length of your table so you can find a table runner long enough to leave 6-12 inches of material hanging over both ends of the table. Once you know your ideal length, choose something in a color and pattern that catches your eye. You can keep things traditional with a single table runner centered lengthwise across the table. This serves as a visual center line for the table where centerpieces align or dishes are placed.
You can also mix things up by layering two table runners, one on top of the other, for the ultimate textured look. Be sure that one has a thinner width dimension than the other so the bottom one is exposed.
A less formal arrangement for a table runner places shorter runners widthwise across the table. This creates a sense of visual unity across the dining table and if you use enough of them, you can skip the placemats all together. If your dining table is really long, table runners placed widthwise can serve as a visual and physical divider between place settings.
For a more minimal look, use both a runner and coordinating tablecloth with just a few decorations. To keep things interesting, it is important to choose a table runner in a contrasting color or pattern than the tablecloth itself, so that it stands out. Ideally, the length of the table runner and the tablecloth should align exactly so that the overhang is equal.
Of course, if you are into adding even more texture to your table in terms of textiles, add some place mats or decorative napkins that coordinate with your runners and will be functional to your guests. The final step to dressing your table is a centerpiece or foliage of your choice and voila! You have a well-dressed table, which will be easy to change up as often as you like.