So, I want to buy a tablecloth but where to start?


  • What shape table do I have?
  • How do I measure my table?
  • What length drop would I like?
  • What size tablecloth do I require?
  • My table extends, what now?
  • I’m still confused?


What shape table do I have?

You’d think this is a silly question but having been selling tablecloths for over 21 years nothing is a silly question. 

There are basically four shapes of domestic tables, we have a square, round, rectangle and oval. So, let’s clarify the shapes.

Square – 4 equal sides

Round / Circular – equal diameter

Rectangle / Oblong – a narrower width and long length

Oval* / Racetrack – same as rectangle / oblong but with rounded ends

*Do not confuse with eclipse or egg shape (oval cloths with work fine on these tables but not give you an even drop)

Obviously there will always be other shape tables out there such as octagonal, half moon etc but these may require a more bespoke service to cover.


How do I measure my table?

It’s pretty simple really, just take a tape measure and record the width and length of your table. 

If it’s a round table then measure the diameter, across the middle, if oval then just the width and length at the longest point.

As for the height of the table it is not overly important. The average height of a UK table is 28-32” (70-80cm) with a chair seat height of 18-23” (45-60cm). Sometimes customers with small children or pets prefer their cloth to hang between the table and the seats for ease but again this is down to personal choice as many also like the look of the cloth draped slightly over the seats. 


What length drop would I like?

This is the question I am asked the most, and to be honest there is no definitive answer. I always ask the customer it’s down to you? The industry standard is between 6 and 12 inches (15-30cm), I personally like 6” (15cm) drop.

Now we have to do the math!

So simply all you have to do is add the desired drop multiplied by two and to the size of the table. For example 

For example if my rectangle table measures 39 (100cm) wide by 63” (160cm) long and I would like a drop of around 8” (20cm) simply do the following –

WIDTH = 8” (20cm) X 2 = 16” (40cm) + 39” (100cm) = 55” (140cm)

LENGTH = 8” (20cm) X 2 = 16” (40cm) + 63” (160cm) = 79” (200cm)

TABLECLOTH REQUIRED = 55×79” (140x200cm)

Obviously tablecloth sizes vary, and there is no standard set sizes available so sometimes you may get it spot on and be able to buy the exact size and sometimes there needs to be some flexibility.


My table extends, what now? 

Once a customer has established what size cloth they require they often ask “so what about when we extend the table at Christmas?” Firstly 99% of tables only extend it one direction which is length ways so this is why as cloths get larger they usually stay the same width. 

There are two schools of thought when it comes to extending tables, you either buy two different size tablecloths or buy the larger cloth to fit both lengths and fold it over in the middle (the fold can be covered by a short runner if required for a neater look) .

Depending on the shape of your table will determine if you require a different shape tablecloth when extended? Round tables extend to oval and square tables extend to oblong so it’s just the case of measuring for your drop. As for Oblong and oval just do the same calculation as before but add the extension length to your original table size.


I’m still confused?

Don’t worry,  just contact us with your basic measurements and we can go through it with you to find the best size tablecloth / cover.


Lee Epthorp
The Tablecloth Company
June 2022