Red Linen Placemats on Table

The Beginner’s Guide to Setting Your Table with Luxurious Linen

There's nothing quite like walking into the dining room and seeing a beautiful tablescape before you. Whether hosting a sophisticated soiree with linen placemats for your friends or setting the table with a linen table runner for Sunday brunch for the family, entertaining is all about going the extra mile to create long-lasting memories. 

There are so many moving pieces to the puzzle of creating a gathering, from choosing the perfect recipes for the menu to sending the invites. But when it comes to setting the table, every event starts with the same thing—table linens. Learn why we recommend you set the table with real linen, discover more about each type of must-have linens, and find inspiration for designing your table settings with our beginner’s guide.  

Why Table Linens?

White Edge Embroidered Linen Tablecloth

From elegant linen tablecloths to simple linen napkins, stocking up on a wide assortment will help you personalize the look of your home and prepare you to host any event throughout the year. Investing in high-quality linen napkins, table runners, and more elevates your hosting game. While all types of table linens are designed to protect your dining room table and add style and grace to your event, linen remains the preferred material due to its absorbency, sustainability, and effortless style. 

What is Linen?

Linen is a durable, soft, and strong material made from the flax plant that is used to make many everyday items, such as clothing, bedding, and table linens. Even if you yourself don't have any linen pieces in your home, there's a high chance you've admired linen placemats or tablecloth at someone else's table! 

Table Linens Throughout History

Did you know that even though we commonly refer to them as "table linens," the earliest forms of hand towels, tablecloths, placemats, and more were often made from silk, flour sacks, or other cloth? Even now, many companies produce napkins and tablecloths using cotton or poly blends—but if you want real elegance and style, linen is the correct choice.  

Linen has been used in kitchens around the globe for centuries. From the Ancient Romans carrying early versions of linen napkins, also known as "mappa," to wipe their fingers after mealtime to the flowing tablecloth in Da Vinci's painting, The Last Supperthere are thousands of examples throughout history of civilizations using (and loving!) kitchen linens. 

Perfect Occasions for Setting the Table

You and your family deserve to have every moment celebrated, both big and small, and selecting the perfect table linens elevates the look of your event and the memories attached. Take matters into your own hands and set the table with linen table runners, napkins, and more for occasions like:

  • Birthday parties
  • Everyday breakfast
  • Dinner parties
  • Brunch
  • Potlucks
  • Holiday parties
  • …and whenever the mood strikes!

5 Reasons to Set Your Table with Linens

Lilac Linen Table Runner

From neutral linen placemats reserved for special dinners to a lilac linen table runner that sits as decoration, there is always a reason to choose high-quality linens: 

1. Table Linens Offer a Timeless Style 

Linen tablecloths, napkins, bedding, curtains, and more are a popular favorite in homes everywhere, making this all-natural material the best fabric for home décor and style. Every home and table can be set with linen, and whether you prefer a matching set of linen placemats and linen napkins or a vibrant linen table runner, they always work as a soft base layer to whatever delicious meal you intend to serve.  

2. Linen is the Cleanest Choice

Setting a linen tablecloth will keep the table beneath safe while soaking up any spills throughout your event. Choosing a linen napkin instead of a poly blend is more than just for show. 

Unlike its cotton counterparts, the eco-friendly material is absorbent and wicks away moisture, meaning any spills can be cleaned up in no time. It's also notorious for drying faster, preventing pesky bacteria from building up on your table. Even after sopping up the messiest spills, linens can be cleaned and reused with little to no trouble.  

3. Linen Is Easy to Wash and Dry

There's nothing more daunting than a growing pile of laundry—but when it comes to linen, the care is simple! Unlike other materials that can break down, linen placemats, napkins, and tablecloths are famous for looking better and feeling softer with each wash, so you don't have to avoid using them for everyday dining. Whether you choose to save your linen table runner for special occasions or plan to fold linen napkins for every mealtime, you'll never have to compromise the quality or feel of your favorite home goods.

How Do You Clean Table Linens?

Rust Red Linen Napkin Set

It's recommended that you reserve a separate load of laundry for any and all table linens to keep your wardrobe clean and fresh. Dust off any crumbs and attack any spots or stains with a drop of dish soap before heading to your washing machine. 

To elongate the lifespan of your favorite linen placemats and other pieces, use gentle detergents in cold or lukewarm water. When it comes time to dry, you can either dry on a low setting in the dryer or hang outside to dry in the breeze the old-fashioned way! Once dried, you can fold or roll them up to store in your linen closet or kitchen drawers. 

4. Linen is the Environmentally Friendly Choice

Sure, linen is a luxurious choice for bedding, but it's also one of the most sustainable options for table linens. Biodegradable, strong, and made from natural flax fibers, linen takes less water to grow and harvest than other options. Every single part of the flax plant is used for items such as cloth, linseed oil, and more, leaving no waste behind. 

From beginning to end, creating the linen napkins you know and love is quite the evolved process, but investing in high-quality options is worth it. When you set out a linen tablecloth, you can rest easy knowing that your purchase didn't harm the beautiful Earth we live on. 

5. No Ironing Needed

When setting the table, the last thing you want is to take extra preparation time to iron, steam, or press your tablecloth and napkins. With linen, you don't have to! 

Linen may wrinkle easily, but this texture detail adds to the overall rustic charm of your tablescape. With ready-to-go table linens, your party hosting timeline will be a breeze: just take your linen tablecloth out before the event and place it right on the table, letting the natural curves and creases complement your gathering. 

Note: If you want a smoother look, you're welcome to iron while the linen napkins and placemats are still slightly damp. 

Finding a Luxurious Linen Tablecloth 

Olive Green Round Linen Tablecloth
Linen tablecloths are an essential piece to anyone's collection. With the addition of this simple fabric, you can instantly transform the entire atmosphere of your dining table. Choose from different pops of color or go a neutral route—whatever your style, our tablecloths can help you dress your table to the nines!

When buying a linen tablecloth, understanding the shape that will suit your table is one of the first steps. As a general rule of thumb, you can always purchase a linen tablecloth that is the same shape as your table. 

A round linen tablecloth on a round table or a rectangle linen tablecloth on a rectangular table offers a sophisticated, classic look. But if you prefer a more modern approach, the world is your oyster! Play around with layered shapes and styles, such as putting an olive green round linen tablecloth on top of a rectangular one to add depth and dimension to your event.  

Our Linen Tablecloth Styles:

Whether you're looking for a white linen tablecloth embroidered with an accent thread or one with a pop of color, we have different styles available in both rectangular and round shapes:

  • Embroidered edge
  • Bordered 
  • Plain

Selecting the Perfect Linen Tablecloth Size

Start by measuring the length and width of your table to get the baseline requirements for an appropriately sized linen tablecloth. Then, factor in how much fabric you would like to hang off the sides of the table to get the final measurement to use for your search. 

For laidback events or everyday styles, most people choose to keep a casual look, with around 6-8 inches of extra material flowing from the surface. But, for formal gatherings, such as engagement celebrations or special occasion meals, you may consider 12 or more inches of extra fabric to the linen tablecloth to add a dramatic flair to your space. 

Custom Sizing for Linen Tablecloths

Pale Blue Color Bordered Linen Tablecloth

Similar to measuring for curtains, finding the right size for your linen tablecloth is essential. With our made-to-measure tablecloth designs, you can customize the desired fit! If you have an antique dining table that's too large for any linen tablecloths on the market or want a look you can't find anywhere else, we can make it for you. After selecting a color, you can input your desired width and length—and we'll take care of the rest!

Selecting Soft Linen Napkins

Linen napkins don't have to be reserved for special occasions! The elegant touch of a cloth napkin works for all everyday meals, elevating any table from ordinary to stunning with ease. 

Whether you're looking for a matching set of linen napkins for a large-scale event or collecting a colorful assortment to be used throughout the week, our styles are perfect for your table. Leave the disposable alternatives behind and invest in linen napkins that make every meal feel special. 

Trying Out Traditional Linen Placemats

Linen placemats can either work as an alternative to a linen tablecloth or be paired together. Rather than covering your entire table with the gorgeous material, a linen placemat is set out at each individual place setting, perfect for everything from everyday dining to creating a layered look at a formal event. 

Setting a Modern Linen Table Runner

When you're not dining, a linen table runner is the perfect accent to keep your style on display without the hassle of a full linen tablecloth. The flowing, thinner strip of lining can be laid across the center of the table from end to end to add a little something special to your table setting. These can also work as a decorative addition to any buffet table or serving station to elevate your events.

3 Tips for Designing the Perfect Linen Tablescape

When it comes time to design a tablescape using your new linens, take these three tips to create the perfect look:

Tip #1: Consider the Colors

Indigo Blue Linen Table Runner

First things first—the colors of your linen table runners, tablecloths, napkins, and more contribute to the overall look of your event, so choose wisely! Consider using one or two colors for a sophisticated neutral, such as white, grey, or brown. But don't be afraid to mix and match to design a complex and colorful linen setup with a bold pairing like blue table runners and red linen napkins. We love using linen napkins to add a surprise pop of color to any table!

Tip #2: Consider the Theme

If there is a theme for your gathering, linen can help solidify it. From holiday gatherings with reds and greens to romantic wedding celebrations of blush pink and creamy whites, linen table runners and linen placemats that fit a theme’s color palette will tie the event together.

Tip #3: Learn Linen Napkin Folds

Linen napkins are preferred when it comes to creating classic, beautiful napkin folds! Linen napkins are durable and slightly rigid, working well to create one of the countless napkin fold designs: 

How Often Do You Clean Table Linens?

Similar to caring for your linen bedding, the consistency for cleaning your linens matters. Linen napkins should be washed after every heavy use, while linen placemats and tablecloths can be washed every month or so, depending on how dirty they appear. A linen table runner can be washed infrequently, especially if it's just for show. But your table linens will look and feel better after each wash!

How you set your table matters, and whether you're serving breakfast for your family or hosting a once-in-a-lifetime milestone event, each piece should be chosen carefully. When you invest in linen tablecloths, napkins, placemats, and runners you love, you can create sophisticated table settings, no matter the occasion. 

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