Subtle changes make the most significant differences, especially in homemaking. You may not think your fabric choice for a table cloth is a crucial decision, but it can make or break a table setting. To avoid breaking the design of your dining table, what material should you use for tablecloths?
Cotton is the most common fabric used for tablecloths, but not the best. Linen is unarguably the best tablecloth material, but it is also expensive. For most other purposes, vinyl, or a combination of polyester and cotton, also known as poly-cotton, are perfect tablecloth fabrics.
Whether you’re designing your home or a homemaker, you need to know the specific type of fabric that will serve you best without giving your house a weird look. This piece will guide you through choosing a table cloth and what kind of fabric you should choose based on your budget and personal preferences.
What Kind of Fabric Is Used for Tablecloths?
While you may be picky over what material you want on your table, there is quite a great selection of fabrics that work well as tablecloths.
While some may be more popular than others, it doesn’t mean they’re objectively better. Depending on your budget and personal preference, you can choose between the varieties of fabrics on the market.
To help you choose the best fabric, I’ll list some of the most common materials used for tablecloths and why you should consider each of them.
Cotton is by far the most popular kind of fabric that most people use as tablecloths. They come in many different colors, and they are readily available at low prices. Cotton is also a very absorbent fabric, a quality that’s necessary for tablecloths.
However, cotton works best for indoor tables. Prolonged exposure to heat from the sun can shorten the fabric’s shelf life and make the colors look duller.
Its low cost, high durability, and longevity quickly put it above all other fabrics as the go-to option for tablecloths inside a home.
Linen is a better fabric for tablecloths than cotton, but it is also one of the most expensive. Making linen is a time-consuming and challenging task, and the source flax plant doesn’t even grow everywhere.
Despite the manufacturing costs, linen is more absorbent than cotton, and it also dries faster. Linen also doesn’t crumble as much as cotton, so you’ll worry less about ironing. These qualities qualify linen as a superior tablecloth fabric than most other fabrics on the market today.
It is a no-brainer if you have the budget to get a linen tablecloth; plus, it looks better too!
Polyester tablecloths may not be as absorbent as cotton or linen tablecloths, but they’re cheaper and excellent for temporary use. They’re also available in many colors to suit different moods and occasions.
Polyester can be made even more absorbent by blending it with cotton to create poly-cotton. Poly cotton tablecloths are just like polyester tablecloths but with the added absorbent qualities of cotton.
Polyester is better for events like weddings or birthdays due to its relatively low price, making it easier to buy it in bulk. Poly cotton tablecloths also work well for everyday use but are inferior to linen or pure cotton tablecloths.
If you worry about budget and don’t need the tablecloth for continuous usage, getting a polyester or poly-cotton tablecloth may not be a bad idea.
Similar to polyester and cotton, vinyl is also a reasonably priced tablecloth option for most use cases. Unlike cotton and poly cotton tablecloths, this fabric is perfect for outdoor uses as it’s resistant to harm from sunlight and other harsh weather conditions.
Vinyl tablecloths are also suitable for events with kids, as they’re easier to maintain than most other tablecloth fabrics. If you’re looking for a tablecloth that you can keep outside every day, a vinyl tablecloth might just be your best bet.
Is Linen Good for a Tablecloth?
Linen is so excellent for tablecloths that some people use it as a synonym for tablecloths. While linen may work excellently in most cases, it certainly doesn’t work in all cases.
For example, you don’t buy linen tablecloths in bulk for a wedding. It is simply uneconomical, as linen is a costly fabric. Since linen is expensive for many reasons, all linen products, including tablecloths, are proportionately costly.
Also, linen becomes weaker with each wash, and continuous exposure to harsh weather conditions will weaken the fabric. For these reasons, you may want to consider another material if you need a tablecloth for outdoor use.
Overall, linen remains the most capable fabric for tablecloths that money can buy. However, the best overall isn’t always the best for your case; sometimes, you just need something that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
What Is the Best Material for Tablecloths?
With everything you’ve read so far, it’s clear that you can’t easily pick a winner among the various tablecloth fabrics in the market. They all serve different purposes, and you should always get the best material for your specific use case.
If it’s a significant event with many tables around, you may want to go for a polyester or poly-cotton tablecloth. While it isn’t the most absorbent material, it is pretty cheap. You don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on tablecloths anyways.
Linen is the best for long-term uses but is more expensive than any other tablecloth material, no thanks to the manufacturing costs and the scarcity of flax, which is the source of linen.
If linen is out of the options, cotton becomes a no-brainer. It is absorbent enough to use for the long term, it is machine washable and dries quickly, and it also has a reasonable cost. These advantages position cotton as the most common material for tablecloths.
With all other things being equal, linen is the best material for tablecloths. It is very absorbent, easy to wash, dries quickly, and doesn’t need as much ironing as cotton.