There are some skills that we never realize we need until the time comes! And measuring a table in order to get the correct dimensions for the perfect tablecloth is one such skill.
Whether you’re looking for the right size table linens off the shelf, or you’re a little more creative and are looking to make your own, there’s a real skill to getting the dimensions right so that your tablecloth looks perfect.
Now, some of this will look like math…. but don’t worry, it’s easy math. All you need is measuring tape, a little basic addition, and this article to help you get the measurements right for any tablecloth size (or skirting) – regardless of whether your table is square, a rectangle, an oval, or a circle. So, whatever size or shape of table you’re looking to cover, check out the following guide.
(p.s. in the market for a new table? Check out our guide to beautiful eco-friendly tables – good for your kitchen and the planet!)
Need to Know: Overhang and Drop Length
Very rarely will you find a tablecloth that fits exactly on top of the table with no overhang. If you’re measuring for a felt table top protector, then that’s a different story, but for tablecloths and skirting, you’ll want the fabric to hang over the edge.
The distance the tablecloth comes down from the top is called the drop length. You may not know this, but there are different levels of formality associated with the length of the overhang drop. The longer the overhang, the more formal the event or placement in the room.
So, how much should your tablecloth overhang?
For a table that’s been designated for everyday use, a drop length of eight inches is recommended. However, for a formal event such as a wedding or dinner party, a drop length of up to fifteen inches makes a fabulously dramatic statement on a dining table.
How to Measure a Round Table for Tablecloths and Skirting
If you have a standard table size, measuring for a table cloth is easy. Assuming you want an 8″ drop on all sides, 48″ diameter round table will require a 64″ diameter table cloth. A 60″ diameter round table will need a 76″ diameter tablecloth and a 72″ will need am 88″ tablecloth.
If you need a custom size, or want to vary the drop length, the calculations are straightforward. First, take your tape measure and measure the diameter of the table (the diameter is the distance from one side of the table to the other, going through the center).
To calculate the tablecloth size, take your diameter and add it to two times the desired drop length. We double the drop length because we want it to drop on both sides of the table. For example, if our round tables measured 50″ and we wanted an 8″ overhang, we’d need a 66″ round tablecloth (50″ + 8″ + 8″ = 66″).
If you’re making it yourself, don’t forget to add an extra inch (times two!) of overhang fabric for turning up the edges all the way round. So that’ll be 68 inches in total.
Both skirting and tables come in standard sizes. For a 48″diamater round table, you’ll need 13′ or 14′ skirting. For a 60″, you’ll need 17′ skirting, and for a 72″, you’ll need 21′ skirting.
If you’re making your own skirting for a table top that isn’t one of the standard sizes shown above, you’ll need to this is useful to know if you’re measuring up for skirting. The circumference of the table is the number of inches all the way around the table. You’ll need at least that length of skirting plus about an extra foot to give you some slack (more with large tables).
How to Measure a Square Table for a Tablecloth or Skirting
To measure a square table for a tablecloth For a square table you’re going to want to take the table measurements of the length and width of the table and add double the desired overhand. This will give you the length/width of the tablecloth. For a square, the length and width of the table and tablecloth will be the same.
For example, a table with the measurements of 75 inches by 75 inches, plus a desired drop of 8 inches all the way around, will want a 91″ x 91″ size tablecloth (75″ + 8″ + 8″ = 91″).
If you are buying a square tablecloth you may not find the exact size. An inch difference will not be noticeable. If you’re making it yourself, don’t forget to add an extra inch (times two!) of overhang fabric for turning up the edges all the way round.
To measure a square table for skirting you will need to measure from one edge of the table to the other and then multiply this by 4 to get the circumference. If you are only covering 3 sides of the table, you’ll multiple by 3 instead. For example, table dimensions of 48″ x 48″, would result in 192″ or 16′ of skirting required (48″ * 4) for all four sides.
How to Get The Right Size Tablecloth or Skirting for an Oval Table
Measure an oval table for tablecloth by treating it like a rectangle table. Measure the width and length at the widest points (going through the center) and add double the drop height to each measurement. For example, an oval table that is 50″ long and 30 inches wide at its widest points with a drop of 15″ will need a tablecloth measuring 80″ x 60″ (50″ + 15″ + 15″ x 30″ + 15″ + 15″).
Because of the shape of the oval table the drop will not be even around every side.
To measure an oval table for skirting you will need its circumference. If you do not know this, wrap string or something else round the table. mark where it overlaps, and then take it off and measure with a tape measure. You will need this length at a minimum for the skirting to go all the way round the oval table.
How to Measure a Tablecloth or Skirting For a Rectangular Table
To measure for a rectangle tablecloth you’ll need to measure both the table length and width separately and add double the desired drop for each. For example, a banquet table of length 50″ and width 30″ and a 15″ tablecloth drop would need a tablecloth of 80″ x 60″ (50″ + 15″ + 15″ x 30″ + 15″ + 15″).
It is not always possible to get a uniform drop on every side unless you are making it to fit. Also, remember that some tables are extendable. In this case, you’ll want two sizes: one for when the table is closed, and another for when it’s open. If you’re making it yourself, don’t forget to account for extra fabric for turning up.
To measure a rectangular table for skirting you will need to measure along each side you want skirting and add the values together. If a table is 60″ long and 30″ wide, and you want skirting all the way round, you will need 180″ of skirting, or 15′ (60″ + 60″ + 30″ + 30″ = 180″).