How to Cover a Dining Table (The Ultimate Guide)


A dining table is usually the centerpiece of a dining room or a kitchen, bringing together families and friends for delicious food and good conversations. Dining tables are made from many different materials and are made to withstand years of use and wear and tear.

However, one of the biggest mistakes we make is to overlook the protection that a dining table surface needs. Spillages and general wear and tear can make your dining table look way older than it actually is, and so protecting against these should be of the utmost priority.

One of the best age-old methods to cover a dining tabletop is to use cloth, plastic, or any other materials that can lay across a solid top and protect what’s underneath. Using such materials to cover a dining table can extend its life and prevent scratches and stains.

What to Use to Cover a Dining Table – Temporary Fix

There are many solutions to covering your tabletops. While some may be permanent, some you can change easily. When you’re looking for a quick solution to cover your dining table, one of the best options can be found in your linen closet.

Bedsheets can be used to protect your dining tables and add a little bit of design to them. When looking in the market, you can buy penny-saving linen and cotton table covers that come in many different colors and designs and are good to use daily.

If you’re looking for water repellent table covers, soft plastic sheets can help protect from water spillage, and heat and are not permeable, so dust cannot get through.

While plastic sheets give you the most heavy-duty temporary protection, they tend not to be available in as many colors and designs as the cloth table covers.

Protecting a Dining Table with a Table Protector

For the long term, durable solution to protect your dining table, table protectors are your best bet. These are available online on Amazon and Wayfair websites and are also just as easily available in your average home renovation brick and mortar store.

These table protectors are made from vinyl and light PVC and are usually covered with either flannel or quilted polyester on top. Table protectors are heat, tear, spill, and dent resistant, providing the maximum security that your table can get.

If you’re looking for an option that lets you show off your tabletop, these protectors also come in transparent sheets that offer the same protection level as the others. These table protectors won’t shrink or deteriorate with time and can be changed every few years.

How to Refinish a Dining Table

Whether you’re trying to freshen up your old table or upgrading a flea market find, refinishing a dining table at home is a pretty easy job, if done right. Solid wooden tables are the best candidate for at-home refinishing, whereas any other material might not be worth refinishing. The supplies that you will need are:

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • A cloth or paper towels
  • Mechanical Sander
  • Coarse sandpaper (60, 120, and 360 Grit)
  • A new tack cloth
  • Stain (with primer)
  • Topcoat

You start by cleaning your table’s surface, ensuring it is free from any dirt, oil, or grease that can mess up the final results. Once it is cleaned, start sanding with your roughest sandpaper, wipe away excess with a tack cloth and follow with a 120 grit sandpaper to ensure a smooth surface.

Once you have a smooth surface, you can go in with the first coat of your stain and sand it down with the 360 grit sandpaper, wipe away excess and follow with two more coats of the stain. When it has dried, cover it with two coats of sealant, and you are done.

How to Resurface a Dining Table

When you’re looking to resurface a painted dining tabletop, you can conveniently also do this at home, but it might be time-consuming. The materials you will need are:

  • Chemical strippers
  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles
  • Scraper
  • Filling material
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Varnish
  • Top Coat

Start working on this project in a well-ventilated area, with gloves and goggles on, and apply the stripper to the tabletop. Using a scraper, scrape off the paint or varnish while working in small areas and following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Use sandpaper to smooth down the surface and fill in any gaps or holes, following it with more sanding to smoothen the surface. Apply two coats of your stain and then top it off with a sealant to finish the job.

The Best Solutions for Each Table Top Material

There are various materials used to make dining tables. Whichever one sparks your fancy, you need to know how to protect it, keeping in mind the different materials and their upkeep.

You can invest in a glass tabletop for wooden dining tables that can protect your wooden top from any water rings, heat damage, and dust. If you’d rather leave your tabletop exposed, you should be vigilant about using coasters, placemats, and the occasional table runner to avoid any damage or wear and tear.

Glass tables are made of heavy-duty, durable glass but are prone to scratches and marks. To avoid leaving scratches on your glass top, you should make sure that sharp-edged objects are kept away or are put on top of a coaster, placemat, or a doyley.

Minimize the risk of things falling on the glass top and breaking it by ideally keeping glass top dining tables in an open space. Glass cleaners and soft cloths can help you keep the tabletop clean on a day to day or week to week bases.

If you have a metal dining table, you need to ensure that your table is protected from sustained exposure to moisture, as that can cause your table to rust.

If you’d rather do without a protector, again, be mindful to always use coasters and placemats. If your table has rust or grime on it, use tin foil to wipe away the rust and follow with WD-40 or baby oil to ensure that it stays shiny and dust-free.

How Important is Protecting a Dining Table?

A dining table has one of the most used surfaces in the house as that is where most meals are had and sometimes, is also used to do some work on. That is precisely why you need to make sure that you are protecting your dining table top to stay as new as possible for many years to come.

By using table covers, table mats, coasters, and runners, you can protect your table from water and heat damage as well as any general wear and tear.

Cleaning and maintaining your table should also be a priority for you, with weekly deep cleans that can ensure a longer life for your beloved dining table.

Final Thoughts

Dining tables are the centerpieces of a dining room or a kitchen where family and friends come together for food, laughter, and memories. Protecting them ensures that your dinners are always a hit, and you can enjoy your dining table for years and years. There are so many table cover options available in the market, be it design variants, materials, or colors, that everyone can find something to help them protect their dining table. A little bit of investment can save you from spending a lot of money buying a new dining table after just a few years.

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