When it comes to covering banqueting tables size does matter. In fact, you could argue that it's more important that the actual fabric or colour you use.
Now, obviously we're biased at 88 Events as we hire out tens of thousands of tablecloths each year. But hopefully by the time you've finished this short article, you'll have a better understanding of why tablecloth size is so important and how to work out what size you need.
Floor Length or Knee Length?
We're going to begin by stating our case for floor length linen being the default option all the time. This is what we do for our own events and we advise our clients to do the same. The main reason we recommend your linen touching the floor is simply because it gives a much more elegant look and finish to your table.
If you decide to go for a knee length cloth then you are bringing the table legs into play. This can work in a nice fine dining restuarant that has lovely tables with shapely legs carved from the finest Amazonian Mahogany. However, for your standard banqueting table, showing off a pair of folding, metal legs is not the nicest of looks.
Take a look at the image below. This has a 90" square cloth on a 5ft round table. There's a lot wrong here but it's not that uncommon a site at venues all over the country. Firstly, we've put a square cloth on a round table. Why would anyone do that? Cost usually.
Square cloths are almost always cheaper to buy (and thus rent) than round cloths. Round cloths are harder to make, require more material and are harder to iron than the closest square sized equivalent. The only way to 'save' this look would be by adding on another square cloth positioned the opposite way round to fill in the gap. But this requires two tablecloths and is thus more expensive. And yet you'll still see this look at lots of places, even high-end 5 star places.
Now look at the image below. A much more elegant look you'll agree? The cloth drapes very nicely and touches the floor perfectly. How did we achieve this? Simply by placing the correct sized cloth on the table. In this instance, a 120" tablecloth on a a 5ft round table. More on calculating size later. And if you're interested, the lovely tablecloth below is our Cream Essential tablecloth. The price to hire is £12 inc. VAT. Can you afford to spend £1.20 per guest for a simple, elegant look like this? Can you afford not to?
Now that we've stated our case for floor length linen as the default, let's help you get the right size of cloth for your table. The following graphic will help you easily determine what size of cloth you need.
So... 120", 132" , 88" x 144". What does it all mean?
Let's just start from the premise that it's easier to measure tablecloth sizes in inches rather than centimetres or millimetres. Don't ask why. We didn't make the rules! Anyway, there's 3 ways to work out the size of tablecloth you need:
Make sure you know the height and width (diameter) of the table. Standard height in the events industry is usually 30”.
To calculate the drop of the tablecloth, simply subtract the width of the table from the width of the tablecloth. In this example, a 6ft table = 72” diameter. 132”-72” = 60”. You then divide the difference by 2 to give you the drop on all sides = 30”. And voila, your tablecloth will be floor length all the way round.
On a 5ft round table you would need a 120” tablecloth and a 108” will be floor length on a 4’ round table.
Similarly, a 120” round tablecloth on a 6ft table will drop 6” from the floor, i.e. 120”-72” = 48”/2 = 24”. Subtract the 24” from the height of the table and you’re left with a tablecloth that falls 6” above the floor.
Is your head spinning yet? Easiest thing to do is call us on 0141 445 2288 or click here to make an enquiry and we'll help you out.
The Most Common Banqueting Table Sizes
Tablecloths in our Hire Collection typically come in two shapes, round and rectangular, and in a variety of sizes. When contacting our sales team for a quote on table linen, you will need to know what size and shape tables you have and how many. Here’s a quick guide for common table sizes and the size of tablecloth you need for it to be floor length.
These tables are usually tall and narrow in diameter and typically used for 'posing at' with a drink, hence the name. We recommend dressing a poseur table with either a 132" or 120" round cloth and tying it with a sash or seat tie. The larger sized 132" cloth will create a nice puddle effect as shown below.
Standard tables at a reception are typically 5ft or 6ft rounds. 5ft round tables can comfortably seat 8 people or 10 at a squeeze, but 8 is optimal if you're using charger plates. A 6ft table can fit up to 12, but 8 or 10 is recommended. Smaller 3ft tables are commonly used for cake tables or sweetheart tables (A table that only the bride and groom sit at).
Often used for buffets, sweet tables, head tables, gift tables and more commonly used for guest tables, these are normally 6ft x 2.5ft. When planning seating, 6 people can be seated comfortably per 6ft trestle table - one at either end and two on each side. You can then double up on the tables to create an almost square 6ft x 5ft table which can seat 8-10 and looks awesome if you have a made to measure cloth.
Do you have an event where the table cloths don't quite fit? Are your tables different sizes or shapes, with our bespoke manufacturing service we can manufacture table linen to your specifications.
Once you have the basics of your tablecloth figured out, it's time to colour in your tables with Napkins, Table Runners, Chair Covers, Glassware and Centrepieces! These options can all add a lot of variety to the decor and you can mix and match colours, patterns and fabrics.
Call 0141 445 2288 or click the button below to make an enquiry about these products or anything else from our vast Hire Collection.