What is the ideal overhang for my tablecloth?

Long Tablelcoth Overhang

Your tablecloth is the first layer of dressing your table, whether it is for a special occasion or everyday dining.  The length of your tablecloth drop or overhang will affect, not just the look of your dining setting, but also how it functions.  So, it is important to get it right.

Let’s dive in.  How long should the drop on your tablecloth be? Well .. the short answer is .. it depends.  The ideal overhang for your tablecloth is whatever you think looks and works best, although anything between 10cm and 30cm could be considered “normal”. 

Of course, like every interesting question, there is a more involved long answer as well.  And here it is.

A Shorter Tablecloth Overhang 

There are many reasons why a shorter overhang of around 15cm may be better for you. 

  • If you have young children who may pull at the tablecloth, keep temptation to a minimum and go for a shorter drop.
  • Older folk or those with reduced mobility sometimes like a shorter cloth as they don’t want to get tangled up in the tablecloth when they sit down.
  • Do you have dining chairs with large arms? You probably don’t want the tablecloth to drape over the chairs and pile up on the arms. So, have a shorter drop that just skims the top of the arms.  This gives a nice even look all around your table.
  • You invested in a stylish table with an architecturally interesting design. Don’t cover the legs up with a long tablecloth.  When you’ve got it – flaunt it!  Shorten the drop and show the world those stunning legs.
  • Generally, a shorter cloth is a good choice for more casual dining.

A Longer Tablecloth Overhang 

When is a longer overhang best?  Here are some reasons why a longer drop may be the right choice

  • A longer drop works best for more formal dining. Think of a five star restaurant and you immediately imagine lush long tablecloths inviting you to immerse yourself in a luxury dining experience. Having a longer overhang will create the same luxury feel at home.
  • If you are using the table for display, go crazy! Perhaps it’s a bedside table or where you intend to place food and drinks for a party.  A drop all the way to the floor will give you a stylish, elegant look.
  • For very long or wide tables, it’s best to be a little more generous with the overhang. It’s all about the proportions. Going too short will look like you bought a tablecloth that’s too small ro it has shrunk in the wash.   
  • Has your table seen better days? You may want to cover up more of your table by going for a longer drop.  Put the focus on the tablecloth rather than the table.

Your Choice

To decide on the perfect tablecloth overhang for you, consider your functional requirements first.  Then to make sure you are happy with the look, experiment with an existing tablecloth and drape it at different lengths over your table.  You’ll soon discover what length you feel looks best and will suit your lifestyle.


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