Let’s Talk Linens: The Ultimate Guide to Table Linen Sizes

Photo Credit: Bergen Linen Photo Credit: Bergen Linen

When choosing linens for an event, the creative process is exciting — imaginations run wild mixing fabrics, colors, textures and patterns, creating inspiration boards and mixing and matching in the Design Studio. Then, you sit down to order the linens, the calculator comes out, and…what size did you need for those cocktail tables, again?  For the dining room table?  For the Serpentine buffet?

We know choosing linen sizes can be confusing, especially if you don’t do it every day, so we set out to create the ultimate Table Linen Size Guide.  With everything you ever wanted to know about linen sizes right at your fingertips, choosing your sizes will be just as enjoyable as deciding between Sequins, Shantung, or Shimmer.

Table of Contents
Download the Linen Size Chart (PDF)
How to Find the Right Linen Size
Rectangle Tables • Round Tables • Square Tables
Special Cases
How to Sash a Cocktail Table • Serpentine Tables • Banquet Size • Children’s Tables • Half-Round & Oval Tables
Decorative Accents
Overlays • Table Runners

Before we get into the size guide, let’s quickly review a few terms you’ll see throughout.  When discussing rectangular tables, length refers to the longer edge of the table measured in feet and width refers to the shorter edge measured in inches — e.g. 6’x30”.  Both length and width of rectangular linens, however, are measured in inches — e.g. 132”x90”.

When discussing square tables, length and width are equal to each other and are measured in inches — e.g. 24” x 24” or 24” Square.

Lastly, when discussing round tables, diameter is the distance from one end of the table to the other, through the center of the table, and is measured in inches — e.g. 60” Round.  Both square and round linens are measured in inches as well — e.g. 84” Square or 120” Round.

The height of a table is the distance from the floor to the top of the table.  Most tables we offer are available in several different heights, most commonly 30” high (standard height), 36” high, and 42” high.  The illustration below shows the different heights and their common usages.

Party Rental Ltd. - The Ultimate Guide to Table Linen Sizes

Lastly, the drop is the distance from the top of the table to the bottom of the linen.  Most often, the drop of the linen is equal to the height of the table to conceal the table’s legs, referred to as a full drop. However, the drop can be shorter or longer, depending on personal preference, the event’s specific design, or table usage.  Some clients use longer linens for a puddled drop, which has a more billowy appearance.
Party Rental Ltd. - The Ultimate Guide to Table Linen Sizes


How to Find the Right Linen Size

In general, to find the correct linen size, measure the distance from one side of the table to the other (in inches) and add the desired drop (in inches) twice.  This will give you the linen size needed to have the linen hang down one side of the table (drop #1), cover the table, and hang down the other side of the table (drop #2).

Rectangular Tables

For Rectangular Tables, you’ll need to do this for both length and width:

[Length” + Drop” + Drop”] x [Width” + Drop” + Drop”]

For example, if you have a 6’ long x 30” wide x 42” high table and you want the linen be a full drop to the floor, your linen size would be:

[72” + 42” + 42”] x [30” + 42” + 42”] = 156” x 114”

Round Tables

For Round Tables, take the diameter of the table and add the drop twice:

Diameter” + Drop” + Drop”

For example, if you have a 60” round x 30” high table and you want the linen to drop halfway to the floor (15” drop), your linen size would be:

60” +15” + 15” = 90” Round

Square Tables

For Square Tables, take the length of the sides and add the drop twice:

Length” + Drop” + Drop”

For example, if you have a 24” Square x 36” high table and you want the linen to be a full drop to the floor, your linen size would be:

24” + 36” + 36” = 96” Square

Pro-tip:  Need a quick way to find the full drop linen size for your table?  If the table is 30” high, add 60” to length/width/diameter. If it’s 36” high, add 72”.  If it’s 42” high, add 84”. Easy!



Special Cases

As with anything, there are some additions and exceptions to these general rules.  Take a look!

How to Sash a Cocktail Table

Many clients choose to tie sashes around the pole of cocktail tables, either for fashion, for function — i.e. to keep the linens from blowing in the breeze — or both.  When sashing a cocktail table, we typically recommend choosing a linen at least one size larger than needed for a full drop.  When the linen is sashed, it is cinches and lifts up slightly at the bottom, exposing the metal base of the table.  By using one linen size larger, there is extra fabric at the bottom to conceal the base after it’s cinched.

For example, if you’d like to sash a 30” Round x 42” High table, you’d first find the full drop size — 114” Round — then choose at least one size up, a 120” Round cloth.



Serpentine Tables

Serpentine Tables are a unique, curved table that can be used to create interesting configurations — round “doughnut” tables with an open center, long wavy tables that zig-zag, and more. The easiest way to cover Serpentine tables is with fitted Serpentine cloths, which are custom cloths available in several different colors and fabrics.

If the linen you like isn’t available in the custom fitted size, you can still get the look!  For the Serpentine 30” x 60” Tables (30” high), we recommend either a 120” Round or 132” Round cloth to cover each Serpentine Table.  With a little patience and adjusting — especially on the shorter side where the linen will puddle — you can use your favorite fabric to cover the uniquely shaped table.  Check out the photos below to see the difference.



Banquet Cloths

The workhorse of the linen sizes, Banquet Cloths measure 136”x72” and are great to use in situations where it may not be necessary for the linen to have a full drop linen on a rectangular table, like behind the bar, on kitchen prep tables, or in a more casual setting.



Children’s Tables

Our Children’s Tables are available in three sizes 4’x30”, 6’x30”, and 8’x30” and are all 22” high.  They’re shorter than a standard 30” high table, making them easier for little ones to reach.  Clients commonly use Banquet size cloths on Children’s Table, since an exact, full drop is usually not necessary.

If you do choose to order custom-sized linens for a Children’s Table, here’s what sizes you would need.  For a 4’x30”x22” table, you’ll need a 92”x74” cloth.  For a 6’x30”x22” table, you’ll need a 116”x74” cloth.  For a 8’x30”x22” table, you’ll need a 140”x74” cloth.

Half Round Tables & Oval Tables

Half-round tables may look confusing at first, but to find their linen size, treat them like a fully round table: find the “diameter” (the distance along the flat edge), add the drop twice, and choose that size round cloth.  Note that when using fully round cloths on half-round tables, the cloth will puddle along the flat edge.

For example, if your table is a 24” Half-Round x 42” High and you’d like a full drop linen, you would need a 24” + 42” + 42” = 108” Round cloth, with puddling along the flat edge.

To find the linen size for an Oval table, treat it like a rectangular table.  Measure the length at its longest and width at its widest, and add the drop twice to each.  Rectangular cloths can work on an oval table, however they will puddle in places, especially in the corners.  Ordering custom rectangular cloths with curved edges can help cut down on the excess fabric.

For example, if your oval table is 8’ at its longest and 54” at its widest (8’x54”), 30” high and you’d like a full drop, you would need:

[96” + 30” + 30”] x [54” + 30” + 30”] = 156” x 114”

Note:  Some fabrics can be made into custom fitted Half-Round & Oval cloths. Please contact your Event Rental Specialist for details.


 Decorative Accents

Whether you’re looking to add layered dimension, solid cloth or dress up a specialty table with a linen element, decorative accents like Overlays and Table Runners are a great way to add intrigue to a table.  Not sure what size you’ll need? We’ve got you covered.


Overlays are a personal design choice — some prefer longer overlays to cover more of the cloth underneath, others prefer shorter — but there are some general rules of thumb when choosing an overlay size.

When working with round tables, you can use either a smaller round cloth or a square cloth as an overlay.  When choosing a square cloth, be sure to keep in mind the “corner-to-corner” distance, as described in the illustration below.  The corner-to-corner distance of a square cloth is longer than its sides — for example, a 90” square cloth has a 127.28” corner-to-corner distance — so you’ll want to reference that distance when determining how far you want the overlay to drop from the table.

When working with rectangular tables, you’ll most often see square cloths used as overlays, either in a “diamond” position or in a “cap” position.  When using a “diamond”-style overlay, the corner points of the linen lay between the corner edges of the table, so you’ll want to consider the corner-to-corner distance when deciding how far you want the overlay to drop.  When using a “cap”-style overlay, the edges of the cloth lay parallel to the edges of the table, so you’ll want to consider the linen size when deciding which overlay to use.

Check out our recommended overlay sizes in this chart above and in the graphic below.


Table Runners

Like overlays, table runners are another personal design choice.  Some prefer them wider, some skinner, some longer or shorter, depending on the overall design and look you’re trying to achieve.  When choosing a Table Runner size, be sure to consider the width of the table, the width of the table runner, the width of your place settings, and any decor or platters you’ll be placing in the center of the table to make sure everything is laid out exactly how you’d like.

Our 108”x14” Table Runners are a standard table runner size that we carry in many different fabrics and colors.  To see how this standard size will look on several common rectangular table widths, check out the illustration below.  Each place setting is exactly the same, with the base plate a 12.5” Chop Plate, so you can see how the table width changes the appearance of the design.




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