You’re hosting an upcoming event and you want a tablecloth specifically for the occasion. Or perhaps you’re renting tables for a wedding and you need matching covers for all of them. How do you know what size tablecloth to buy and what material is best for either casual or formal dining? Here are some tips and suggestions that will add just the right touch to your dining affair, whether you’re the mother of the bride or you simply want your backyard picnic table to look a little extra festive when guests arrive.

The material on this design is wrinkle and stain resistant and doesn’t require ironing. Eurmax

How many people you can seat depends on the size of your table. For round tables without leaves that seat two to four people, get a 72-inch round tablecloth, and a table that seats six to eight people, an 86- to 90-inch wide cover. Get a 70-inch oblong tablecloth for a square table seating two to four people, an 80- to 90-inch wide cover for six seats, a 102- to 108-inch tablecloth for eight to 10 people, a 124- to 126-inch wide design for 10 to 12 seats, and a 144-inch round sheet for 14 chairs at the table.

Great Value

The material on this design won’t scratch or damage surfaces. LovePads

For formal events, a tablecloth should have a 15-inch drop from the edge of the table to the bottom of the material. For casual dining, the drop doesn’t need to be as long so 6- to 8-inches of drop from the edge of the table to the bottom of the tablecloth is perfect. To figure the length of cloth you need, measure the length and width of your table, then add twice the desired drop (depending on whether it’s a formal or casual gathering) to each side’s dimension. For round tables, measure the diameter of the table then add twice the desired drop. For example, to fit a round table that’s 60-inches wide with a 15-inch drop, you’d need a 90-inch round tablecloth.

Also Consider

The material on this model won’t shrink after cleaning. TEWENE

You can also match tablecloth materials to your event. For more formal occasions, lean toward silk and linen. Linen wicks away moisture and its sleek look and feel adds a bit of elegance to a table. For casual moods (and less cleaning hassles once the party is over), consider vinyl. Cotton is great for everyday use—especially if you’re dining indoors—but remember it doesn’t resist stains well. Polyester is versatile and you can use it indoors or out. It shines more than cotton, but it’s wrinkle-resistant and machine washable.