How Far Should a Tablecloth Hang?

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Planning a successful dinner party, brunch, or breakfast party for friends or colleagues can be quite exciting. Especially if you know your way around events and making a lasting impression on your guests.

In the process of making everything perfect, you shouldn’t overlook little details like how far should your tablecloth hang?

It is widely accepted that a tablecloth should drop at least 7 inches away from the edge of the table. This rules out the possibility of having a disorganized table for your guests.

I know the embarrassment that comes with having your tablecloth fall off the table during an important event. It distorts the flow and things and fills the room with an awkward silence.

Take advantage of my shortcoming and learn everything (well, almost everything) about tablecloths which I’d be outlining carefully in this writeup, so stay with me till the very end.

Why Do You Need A Tablecloth In The First Place?


A tablecloth is the centerpiece of any table setting, so it has to be chosen carefully. For every table setting you at your friend’s place or at a fancy restaurant, the first step they definitely took was choosing the right tablecloth.

It’s what your guests will see first, so you should pick one that reflects your style.

In an obvious sense, tablecloths are used to set the table and make it fancier. But that’s not the only function it serves. It also helps to protect your table from dirt, water rings, heat, and scratches. 

When choosing a tablecloth, it is important to pick a set that fits your home and style because it might be very awkward having your home pull a “battle of the brightest shade” with the table cloth. Picture a red and green interior with purple tablecloths.

Wrong tablecloth color choice would make your home look like a clown fest which, from my experience, always puts the host in a bad spot.

You also need to know the type of table cloth fabric that best suits the mood of the event.

What Is The Size Of Your Table?

The most important factor to consider when choosing a tablecloth is the size of your table. A tablecloth that is too big or too small can change the entire atmosphere of a room and make the room look tacky.

A nice, clean-looking tablecloth will often boost people’s appetite and encourage them to eat more.

The smallest size for a dining table is 36 inches. If you have an even smaller space, consider buying a table that folds up or can be attached to the wall. And, if your dining room is long and narrow, try using two side tables instead of one large center table.

To get the exact size of your table, start by measuring the table with a tape measure and a piece of paper. If you have a round table, then you should still use the same tools to measure the diameter of the table.

Once that has been done, write down the width and length of your room table on a piece of paper. This should help you find out how large your tablecloth needs to be to cover it completely.

What’s The Occasion?

Many times, people buy tablecloths for special occasions. These can be events at home or in public. To determine how far the tablecloth hangs for your event, you need to have a mental picture of what that event would be like.

As easily overlooked as the length of the tablecloth hang is, it sets the pace for the progression of your event, so you might want to take it seriously.

Ideally, the tablecloth should hang at a convenient distance from the edges of the table so your guests won’t be distracted by the clutter underneath the cloth.

For a casual event, a half-drop tablecloth hang can be adopted. This should be about an 8-inch drop. The tablecloth should hang at least halfway to the floor

In a more formal event, you can choose to go for a longer tablecloth hang. A 15-inch drop from the edge of the table is accepted. At this length, the tablecloth overhang touches the floor. A full drop covers the legs of the chairs, tables, and your guests.

Although a longer tablecloth hang is more expensive to maintain, it introduces a certain style of elegance into the occasion, unlike the shorter tablecloth hang adopted for casual events.

What Type Of Table Is It?

Whether you have a round, square, or rectangle table, the shape of your table determines the size and overhang of the table cloth. A rectangle table would most times require a longer tablecloth than a round table.

Knowing the exact modifications of your table saves you a great deal of stress when picking out the perfect tablecloth. It helps you visualize all your options and know-how to achieve the desired outcome.

How To Appropriately Measure A Tablecloth’s Size From The Hang?

After deciding the formality of the event, the size of the table, and the shape of the table, the next thing to decide is the measurement of the tablecloth hang. Deciding the measurement of the overhang of a tablecloth is dependent mainly on the shape of the table.

Rectangle and square tablecloth hangs calculated the same way. On the other hand, round tablecloth drop is calculated differently.

If you have a rectangle or square table, grab a tape and measure the length and breadth of the table. Take note of this measurement for the calculations. Next, multiply the desired drop size by 2. For example, if you choose 8 inches overhang from the edge of your table, then the sum would equal 16 inches.

So, the equation would look like this: (Drop length x 2) + Length of the table. And for the width, the equation would look like this: (Drop length x 2) + Width of the table.

Let’s do some quick math.

1. If you have a 4-foot x 8-foot rectangle dining table, and you need to calculate the tablecloth hang for a casual event.

2. First, you have to convert your foot to inches. 1 foot = 12 inches.

3. For the length, 8-foot would be converted to 96 inches.

4. If the tablecloth hangs for the casual event is 8 inches, then the total drop length is 16 inches, i.e. (Drop length x 2) + length = required tablecloth size.

5. (8 x 2) + 96 = 112 inches for the length.

6. The same calculation applies to the width of the table, i.e. (Drop length x 2) + width= required tablecloth size.

7. (8 x 2) + 48 = 64 inches for the width.

8. This means that the size of the tablecloth you have to purchase is 112 x 64 inches.

However, if you have a round table, the calculation is a little different. Instead of measuring the length or width of the table, the diameter is measured from one end of the table to the other.

Next, the diameter replaces the width or length of the table. So, the equation becomes (Drop length x 2) + diameter of the table = required tablecloth size. This will determine the tablecloth size for the round table.

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