French Blue Linen Plain Napkin Set

The Beginner’s Guide to Dressing Up Your Dining Table with Linens

Linen has been a popular fabric for centuries for everything from clothing to home goods and more—and with good reason! With a chic wrinkle, lightweight feel, and versatile use, we adore the look of table linens in our homes. When you collect colorful linen table runners, classic white linen napkins, and more, you can coordinate a timeless and beautiful table setting for any occasion. 

Whether you’ve hosted gatherings a thousand times or it’s your first event, setting the table can come with a million questions. How do you decide which table linens to use? What pieces can be layered together? There’s so much to learn about linen home goods—so let’s do it together!

Why We Love Real Linen 

Lilac Linen Plain Napkin Set

Sustainable, traditional, and oh-so-luxurious 100% linen pieces elevate your everyday moments. Every time you gather around a table, whether for your morning cup of coffee or after-dinner drinks with friends, linen tablecloths and linen napkins can add to the atmosphere of your gathering. Invest in these special moments, big and small, by dressing up your table.  

Table linens are also more than just an aesthetic detail to your dinner party—this perfect home décor fabric is designed to protect your furniture from damage and spills. Lay down linen table runners and placemats during mealtime, or keep them on your table 24/7 and elongate the lifespan of your favorite dining pieces.

When Do You Set the Table with Linens?

When setting a beautiful tablescape with all your favorite table linens, there’s no need to find the perfect excuse! Feel inspired to set the table whenever the mood strikes. Table linens can be dressed up or down for any occasion, whether you’re setting the table for a quick breakfast or a lavish party. 

The Main Types of Table Linens and Their Uses

Stock your linen closet full of the essentials and invest in these must-have types of table linens

Linen Napkins

Linen napkins are a stylish and helpful staple to have on hand. Skip the disposable napkins and do your part to save the planet by buying a set of striking lilac linen napkins to complete a vibrant place setting, or stick to a neutral set for an everyday style.

Linen Placemats 

The chic, rectangular look of linen placemats makes it easy to design a beautiful table while protecting your tabletop from unwanted stains, spills, and scratches. Add a touch of class to a casual meal by setting them on their own, or add to a formal dinner table setting to enhance the look of an upscale event—the choice is yours!

Linen Tablecloths

Optic White Linen Tablecloth

There’s nothing more sophisticated than a flowing linen tablecloth. Whether you’re setting up for a date-night dinner or love the simple look of linen in your home day and night, adding a linen tablecloth in your favorite color transforms the space. 

Linen Table Runner

linen table runner is a piece of fabric that flows down the middle of a table. While they aren’t full-coverage, a linen table runner makes any table look grand. Use one solo, or pair a linen table runner with matching placemats for an eclectic and charming vibe. 

When to Use a Tablecloth vs. a Table Runner

Many people use a linen table runner for more casual, around-the-clock décor, while linen tablecloths are pulled out for mealtime. Nothing stops you from leaving a tablecloth set out year-round or even layering the two together for a styled look. As you set the table, remember there is no hard and fast rule regarding using your table linens—if you love how something looks, that’s all that matters.

3 Steps to Coordinating Your Table Linens

As you bring out your favorite French blue linen table runner and matching linen napkins, you can follow these three steps to help you create a memorable and unique tablescape for any event: 

Step 1: Choose Your Table Linen Colors

First, you have to decide the color scheme for your table setting! Get inspired by the theme of your event, the season you’re in, or your favorite colorful pairings to create a unique table. Once you’ve chosen colors you love, you can determine the exact shade for your linen table runners, napkins, and tablecloth. 

When setting the table, play around with mixing and matching color combinations. For a coordinated, timeless look, stick to finding linen tablecloths and napkins of one hue for a monochromatic scheme. If you want to blend colors, find a linen tablecloth in one shade and add bold accent colors using linen napkins and table runners. 

Pro tip: As the smallest table linen in a tablescape, linen napkins are the perfect place to add a pop of color to your spread. 

Popular Table Linen Color Schemes:

French Blue Linen Table Runner with Flowers

For a coordinated look that never fails, stick to one of these three color schemes:

  • Cool tones—blues, purples, and greens
  • Warm tones—reds, yellows, oranges, and pinks
  • Neutrals—ecru, white, cream, brown, grey, and black

Step 2: Complement the Dinnerware

In order to create a cohesive table setting, you have to choose the ones that complement your dinnerware and serveware. If you have brightly colored and patterned dishes, sticking to subtle and timeless linens will allow them to pop. On the other hand, if you’re using plain dishes, your linen napkins and tablecloths can be as vibrant and experimental as you want!

Step 3: Decide How to Layer 

The final step is choosing how to layer your table linens. A good rule of thumb? The more layers, the more your gathering is elevated—and the more opportunities you have to play with color and texture! 

If you prefer a minimalist look, stick to a crisp optic white linen tablecloth or a set of matching placemats. For a maximalist approach, layer multiple types and colors of table linens. Start with a linen tablecloth as the base layer, adding on a linen table runner, placemats, and linen napkins. 

How Many Sets of Table Linens Do You Need?

Nothing is worse than your only set of linens sitting in the wash when you need them! To ensure that you always have a set of table linens to adorn your table, as well as multiple color and style options, you should have: 

  • 2-3 linen tablecloths
  • 3-4 sets of linen napkins
  • 2-3 sets of linen placemats
  • 1-2 linen table runners

Anyone can design a stunning gathering using table linens with a little inspiration and guidance. All it takes is building your collection and remembering our easy-to-follow steps when it’s time to set the table!

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