Tablecloths Key Terms
Understand the terms you need to choose the right tablecloth or runnerTablecloths and runners are used for a variety of occasions, including banquets and formal events, casual gatherings and trade shows. Tablecloths also come in a wide variety of materials, from fine linens and lace to heavy-duty or disposable vinyl. Choosing a material for your table linens is a simple matter of the formality of the occasion, while any type of tablecloth or placemat has the advantage of making clean up more convenient. Learning the key terms used to describe different types of tablecloths and accessories will help you choose the right linen for any occasion.
DropThe drop of a tablecloth is the term used to describe the amount of fabric hanging over the edge of a table. Tablecloths are measured to ensure a certain amount of drop depending on the type of table being used. Drop may vary from a few inches to the full height of the table.
PlacematA placemat, or table mat, is a piece of fabric or vinyl designed to be used underneath a single place setting. Placemats can be both decorative and functional, and are often used in conjunction with a tablecloth to guard against spills and damage to the main tablecloth.
Table padA table pad is a thick, sectional pad fitted to the contour of a given table and used either alone or underneath a tablecloth to protect the table against heat and damage. Table pads are typically customized to match the color, size and shape of a table so that they can be used inconspicuously without disrupting the decor of a room.
Luncheon matA luncheon mat, like a placemat, is a type of table linen used underneath an individual place setting. Luncheon mats typically take on a lighter and more casual decor, and may more often be used as the only type of table linen, rather than being paired with a matching tablecloth.
Table skirtA table skirt is a term used to describe both a piece of wood that creates a lip around the end of a table or a type of table linen that lines the edge of a table but not the top. Table skirts are purely decorative and are usually used to disguise the area under a table, particularly at catered events and trade shows where the space under the table is used for impromptu storage.
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