The Essential Table Runner

Commonly Asked Questions About Table Runners

Are Table Runners Just for Dining Tables?

What is the Best Manner for Using Table Runners with Other Table Linens?

What is the Best Table Runner Size for my Table?

What is the Right Way to Care for and Store Table Runners? 


Bodrum Tuxedo Charcoal Napkins, Table Runner and Helix Charcoal Silver and White Silver Placemats

Table runners are essential to any home décor and are a great way to complement your table with added style without spending a lot of money.   For those of you who do not want to fully cover up your table with a full tablecloth or just want to add a touch of style, runners are a wonderful choice.  Below are commonly asked questions about using table runners.  In addition to dressing up your table, the runner can also protect the surface from dishes or tabletop home décor.

Are Table Runners Just for Dining Tables?

The short answer is no.  The beauty of the versatile runner is that it can be used in so many different ways.  There are endless styles, patterns and colors to choose from so let your creative imagination take over.  Whether you have contemporary, traditional, vintage, simple or vibrant taste, a runner can be used on your dinner table, coffee table, outdoor table, dresser, credenza or buffet table, wedding or banquet table, or writing desk for that matter.  For example, you can mix and match Bodrum Tuxedo Napkins and Table Runners with Bodrum Helix Placemats for a contemporary, fresh new look.

Setting Your Table with a Runner

A common approach for using a table runner on the dining room table is to place it horizontally with a 6” to 8” drop on both ends.   A longer runner cleanly hangs down from the table ends without touching the seats or guest’s laps.  You can also highlight a centerpiece by using a runner that is shorter than the table.   The look really does depend on personal preference.


Tessitura Pardi Uva (Grapes) Rustica Linen Plum Italian Table Runner


Bodrum Tuxedo Gold Napkins, Table Runner and Helix White Gold Easy Care Vinyl Placemats

Dressing Your Holiday Table

Other looks include putting a table runner over a tablecloth.  The pictures below show the look of a table runner over the same style tablecloth running vertical and a holiday table runner on a contrasting white tablecloth for a festive look.


Coffee Table Elegance

Add a smaller linen runner to your coffee table to give it a special touch of color and soft appeal.   You can use something with a tassel on the ends or a more rectangular shaped runner or perhaps a soft lace depending upon the style of the room.  Set off the completed look with a centerpiece accent or some coffee table books.


Tessitura Pardi Cerere Table Runners in Red and Natural

Adding Style to Outdoor Tables

Nothing beats dining al fresco (the phrase is used to mean dining outside or in the open air).  When everyone comes together to eat, whether you are having something as simple as hotdogs and hamburgers outside on the grill or maybe something that took a bit more work to prepare.   Table runners are a wonderful way to dress up your table outdoors.   You can be sitting at a picnic table or perhaps a more formal outdoor table.


Libeco Kalahari Belgian Linen Table Runner

Using a Runner on Your Writing Desk


What is the Best Manner for Using Table Runners with Other Table Linens?

There are so many possibilities in mixing table runners and other table linens.  With your dining table, you definitely want to mix and match to create an elegant or casual table.  You can use a table runner with coordinating napkins, like the Bodrum Corte Gold linens in photo immediately below and then mix it up with a different pattern and color placemat, like the Bodrum Trellis in Topaz.


What is the Best Table Runner Size for my Table?

Table runner sizes really depend on one’s personal preference.  If using a runner for the dining room table, you can opt for a 6-8” drop on each side of the table.  As noted earlier in this article, you don’t want it laying on your guest’s lap.    It’s also perfectly fine to use the table runner where it doesn’t hang off the table but runs the length of the middle, but stops short of the placemats being used.


Tessitura Pardi Rustica Linen Anthracite Italian Table Runner

What is the Right Way to Care for and Store Table Runners?

It is always best to start with the care instruction label on your product.  Improper care can lead to dissatisfaction in the results of your fabric after wash and dry.  It is important to select the proper washing agent.  Commercial liquid detergents can be safely used, but always check for colorfastness.   Colorfastness is a term used to describe a dyed fabric’s ability to resist fading and color running due to washing, exposure to sunlight and other environmental conditions.   Please ensure you check any specific care instructions, like ‘wash separately’ or ‘wash with like colors’ and these warnings mean the dye tends to bleed.

For pure linen, remove linens as soon as possible from the washer to avoid excess wrinkles.   Never tumble dry linen as this can over dry the fibers and makes ironing more difficult.  Linen naturally dries quickly anyway. The ideal way to dry linen textiles is air only. If possible, line dry, it is best for linen.  A line or rod is perfect or just lie flat to dry, but you can use a railing or shower rod as well. If you must use a dryer (however, not recommended), use the lowest setting and never dry completely. Always remove them from the dryer while still damp.   Always iron linen when damp as this is the ideal time to press them, however, if not possible, let them air dry.  If you smooth the wrinkles out at this point, the pressing becomes even easier.   Press on the underside, using a well-padded ironing board and a clean iron.  Iron with steam on slightly damp linen (best the inside of the fabric).   There is no need to use starch except perhaps for the finest linens, for linen has built-in crispness. If the linen has already dried out before ironing, use a water spray to re-dampen it. A good steam iron will work best on linen.

Generally, linens can be folded neatly.  If you can, store tablecloths and table runners without folding.   A trick to keeping your linens wrinkle free is rolling them.  Linen tablecloths and table runners store best when rolled to avoid wrinkles.   For tablecloths, if available, you can use a long, cardboard tube.  Storage should be dry and away from light with some air circulation.

Linens featured in this article are from Beautiful Linens at

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