Best Fabrics for Tablecloths

A tablecloth is an excellent way to dress your table and protect it from food spillages. Experts also agree that the different types of tablecloths influence the quality of your food. But which fabric should you get?

This article should help you decide on the best fabrics for tablecloths. Keep reading to know their key features, pros and cons, and how they compare to other materials.

Different Types of Tablecloths

It can be challenging to decide on a tablecloth type with its many available shapes and sizes. Below is a list of the different types of tablecloths. 


Runners are second-layer tablecloths that add protection to your tablecloth. This long strip of fabric also adds a decorative touch to your table to fit the theme of your gathering. 

Place a table runner at the center of your table on top of the tablecloth, then add a centerpiece. 

Fitted Tablecloth

A fitted tablecloth snugly fits the dimensions of your table regardless of its size. It gives your dining table a more organized look that doesn’t look like someone just put a cloth over it. The item covers the legs of your table and sometimes has pleats to keep the corners neat.


A rectangular tablecloth is the most common type, with two matching lengths across each other. It’s available in a variety of styles and patterns. Use a linen or cotton tablecloth for special occasion dinners or vinyl material for outdoor dining. 


A circular tablecloth is ideal for more intimate events, whether you’re on a date with someone or having your friends over. This item is typically colored white and reaches the floor. But you’ll also find short, round tablecloths with patterned prints.


Overlays are a kind of tablecloth that adds dimension to your table. It accentuates your interior and protects the main table cloth from dirt and stains. Use two-tone templates if your main tablecloth is too plain for the event or if you want to cover disposable covers.

Dry Bar Covers

A dry bar cover is also known as a cocktail table cover. It hides any item or furniture that looks unappealing in the event place. Dry bar covers must be fitted so guests won’t trip on them.

Best Fabrics for Tablecloths

Different tablecloth fabrics come with their own benefits and drawbacks. Take a look at the different fabrics you can use for tablecloths and how they compare to other materials.


Cotton is a fantastic choice for everyday dining. It’s a natural fabric from cotton fibers with a light and soft property. Use this basic fabric in your informal dining room or eat-in kitchen to cover your plain dining table. 

The fabric is known for being absorbent and versatile. It can manage moisture, provide comfort, and avoid allergies, making cotton tablecloths ideal for kids. You can quickly clean your cotton cover if your child spills their food on the table. 


  • Perfect for everyday use
  • Machine-washable
  • Available in different colors and designs


  • Prone to wrinkling
  • It quickly fades when used as an outdoor tablecloth

Why You Should Use Cotton for Tablecloths

Cotton tablecloths are the most accessible types of tablecloths, which are available in several patterns and colors. They’re great because they’re so universal, easy to sew, and easy to wash.


Polyester is a synthetic material from petroleum, water, and air. The threads are made of mono ethylene glycol and purified terephthalic acid, also known as plastic. To make them, the plastic is forced through micro-tiny holes to form threads and then those are used to weave the fabric.

Manufacturers use the fabric for ordinary, standard tablecloths. Even though they look simple, polyester tablecloths can look fancier if you add extra elements on top of the table. 

You can also layer it with other covers without worrying about the cleaning process later on. Machine-wash the fabrics on a high setting without worrying about abrasion. These fabrics are also lightweight and wrinkle-resistant. 

Polyester is durable as it does not pill, stretch, or tear like cotton and other natural fabrics. It’s not prone to wrinkling, so it has a longer lifespan. Like cotton, polyester is available in many designs and colors. Use it for different themes for your gathering.


  • Wrinkle- and stain-resistant
  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean


  • Holds food odors
  • Less breathable than natural fabrics

Why You Should Polyester for Tablecloths

You should use polyester tablecloths because they offer similar benefits as cotton at a lower price. Polyester is also cheaper than real cotton but still gives you the look of the cotton material.


The vinyl fabric has a long life because it’s not prone to abrasions, UV damage, and liquid damage. This material comes from synthetic threads of plastic made of chlorine and ethylene. The chemical process results in polyvinyl chloride, which is weather-proof and easy to clean.

The fabric is ideal as an outdoor tablecloth because of its durable properties. It will last a bunch of years even if you leave it outside your house for a long time. Vinyl is also perfect for individuals who like to host dinners on a strict budget.


  • Easy cleanup
  • Resistant to fading and heat
  • Ideal for outdoor dining


  • Some people dislike vinyl’s unique texture
  • Cheap appearance
  • Difficult to fix tears

Why You Should Use Vinyl for Tablecloths

Vinyl is best for outdoor dining, picnics, and informal dining because of its weather resistance. It wicks away most spills and stains and cleans with a wipe of soap and water.


Linen is a natural fabric that offers comfort when dining with loved ones. This material can absorb a maximum of 20% of its weight when it comes to moisture. Linen is the second strongest material that can last long next to silk.

The appearance of linen isn’t intimidating in any dining setup. You can use it for fine dining without making your guests feel like you’re being uptight.


  • Offers thermoregulation
  • Second strongest fabric
  • Hypoallergenic


  • Expensive

Why You Should Use Linen for Tablecloths

Linen offers one of the best durability among other tablecloths. It’s sturdy and easy to sew, but also easy to wash. Most linen can be machine washed, too.


Are you preparing a candlelit dinner or a sophisticated gathering? Try a satin tablecloth. This fabric has one side that is shiny and another that is dull. It looks as glossy as silk with its dramatic drape and flexible curves.


  • Provides a luxurious vibe
  • More affordable than silk
  • Soft and silky texture


  • It’s not lustrous on both sides
  • High-maintenance

Why You Should Use Satin for Tablecloths

You should use satin for your tablecloths because it makes your dining room look more elegant. It’s also easy to work with and drapes beautifully. 

Final Thoughts on Tablecloths

Layering your dining table and dinnerware with a tablecloth will add a touch of magic to your meals. I hope this guide on the best fabrics for a tablecloth helps you host a beautiful banquet for your guests. 

Whether you’re buying or sewing a new tablecloth, it all comes down to the fabric you’re using. Share your expert advice on tablecloths in the comments below.

Leave a Comment