All About Table Runners: Everything You Need to Know

What is the Point of a Table Runner?

Table runners are beautiful pieces of cloth that add texture and color to your table. A table runner is typically the centerpiece for your table decor. Not only are they aesthetically-pleasing, they also add a level of protection to your table from pans that could cause damage. These simple pieces of cloth add a lot of character to your decor and are a “statement piece” on your table. Perhaps one of the best features of a table runner is its versatility. Table runners are multifaceted. They can be used on an everyday basis or for special occasions. Typically during the holidays, a seasonal table runner is used with a holiday-themed print or graphic. On the other hand, a neutral-colored table runner is common for everyday purposes such as family dinners or casual get-togethers. 

What is the Average Standard Size of a Table Runner?

Typically, a table runner is anywhere from 36 to 108 inches in length. Depending on the length of the table you have, a longer or shorter runner will be appropriate. Furthermore, you must consider how much of the table runner you want to hang off the end. Most people allow for 6 inches of cloth to drape off both sides of their table.

Table Runner Size Chart

The size chart for a table runner is not as cut and dry as one for a table cloth. The most important thing to remember when shopping for a table runner is to allow enough fabric to hang off both ends of the table. The generally consensus is that 6 inches hanging off on both sides is sufficient. However, it is important to remember your table runner should not hang further down than your table cloth. In other words, both the table cloth and table runner should be at the same level. A good example is this: If your table is 60 inches long, your table runner should be approximately 72 inches long, allowing 6 inches on both sides of the table to hang off.

How Long Should a Table Runner Be?

The size table runner you need will greatly depend on the size and shape of your table. The size and shape dictate which type of table runner you use and how you place it. Don’t be afraid to get creative when decorating your table. There are no definitive rules that dictate what you can and can not do! Have fun with your table runner and place it however you see fit for your occasion.

Rectangular Tables:

This shape is the most common dinning room table and used most often with table runners. Simply lay the runner across the length of the table, allowing 6 inches to hang off on both sides.

Round Tables:

If you have a round table, you can still use a table runner, however you will have to get creative. There are two ways to use a table runner successfully in this scenario. The first is by using a single runner. This single runner is laid directly across the table’s diameter. When a table runner is placed this way, it allows for plates and dishes to be placed on either side of the runner. This is a great way to organize your table while still maintaining your beautiful decor. The second option is to use two table runners. These table runners can be crossed with one another in an “X” formation. The “X” will be placed directly in the center point of the table. The runners should be symmetrical when crossed in an “X” pattern. Guests can be seated on either side of the “X” pattern, with two guests sitting at either points of the table runner.

Square Tables:

When it comes to square tables, there are two ways to lay the table runner. The first method for laying your table runner is to place it straight across the middle. Guests could sit at either end of the runner, and also fill in the space on the sides. The next option would be to cross the runners in an “X” formation, just like we did for the round table. A person can sit at either end of the “X” point.

Should a Table Runner Hang Over the Edge of a Table?

Regardless of the size and shape of your table, the same rule applies. Approximately 6 inches of cloth should hang off of your table on both sides. You can choose to drape less on either side if you prefer. Ensure your runner does not exceed the length of your tablecloth on the sides.

How to Measure a Table for a Table Runner

Regardless of the shape of your table, your runner should be 12 inches greater than the length (or diameter) of your table. As long as you ensure 12 inches of excess fabric to allow for 6 inch drop on either side, it doesn’t matter if proportions are 100% accurate. Any slight differences in the length will not be noticeable. You may also want to consider measuring the height of your table if you have an unusually high or low table.

What is the Absolute Best Fabric for a Table Runner?

There are many different fabrics for table runners. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. The material will also depend on the type of table and the occasion. For casual occasions, simple fabrics such as cotton, linen and burlap are recommended. For special occasions, satin, silk and polyester are the best choice.

The following three tables runners are top-rated on Amazon. These runners are perfect for your next dinner party, holiday party or for everyday use.

Artoid Mode Waterclor Buffalo Plaid Christmas Trees Merry Xmas Table Runner, Seasonal Winter Holiday Kitchen Dining Table Decoration for Indoor Outdoor Home Party Decor 13 x 72 Inch
Artoid Mode Waterclor Buffalo Plaid Christmas Trees Merry Xmas Table Runner, Seasonal Winter Holiday Kitchen Dining Table Decoration for Indoor Outdoor Home Party Decor 13 x 72 Inch

This table runner is holiday-themed, with the words “Merry Christmas” embroidered on it. The color scheme is white, red, grey, beige and black. It comes in three different sizes, ranging from 13″ x 72″ to 13″ x 108″. It is made out of polyester. Not only does it add a festive touch to your table, it is also ideal for placement underneath hot pans. The material is also easy to spot clean and machine wash. Do not tumble dry this table runner, instead simply lay flat to dry.

Socomi 10ft Blushing Pink Chiffon Table Runner 29x120 Inches Romantic Wedding Runner Sheer Bridal Party Decorations
Socomi 10ft Blushing Pink Chiffon Table Runner 29x120 Inches Romantic Wedding Runner Sheer Bridal Party Decorations

Made with chiffon fabric, this table runner comes in five different colors including bushing pink, dusty blue, ivory, mulberry and light grey. This fabric is delicate and sheer. It is perfect for a special occasion such as a wedding, bridal shower, baby shower, celebration or ceremony. This table runner is perfect for creating a romantic ambiance and aesthetic. It is 10 feet in length, with the exact dimensions of 29″ W x 122″ L. Hand wash in cold water or machine washable in a laundry bag.

DII Buffalo Check Collection, Classic Farmhouse Table Runner, 14x72", Black & White
DII Buffalo Check Collection, Classic Farmhouse Table Runner, 14x72", Black & White

This is a simple, everyday farmhouse table runner with a Buffalo check pattern. It comes in many different color combinations including black and white, orange and green, stone buffalo, antique green, dusty lilac and more. This table runner comes in two different sizes for your convenience. It is available in 14″ x 72″ and 14″ x 108″. The fabric is 100% cotton and machine washable. This classic farmhouse decoration adds character and life to your space.

How to Make a Table Runner Without Sewing

Making a table runner without sewing is possible and not a difficult process to complete. However, you will need certain supplies to complete this task. The entire process takes under 10 minutes to complete. 

  • Fabric of your choice
  • Scissors
  • Fusible Tape
  • Iron

To begin the process, take your favorite fabric and cut it into two equally long strips. They should be long enough to fit the length of your table and have 6 inches on each side hanging over. Take both pieces of cloth and fold over the edges. Use an iron to iron these edges down. You will then take your fusible tape (which is activated by the heat from an iron) and stick it to the fabric. It is adhesive and holds your pieces of fabric together in the same way sewing would. 

Each piece of fabric will be joined together with the fusible tape. This is a great option for those who want to quickly create a table runner but still achieve the clean, sharp finish traditional sewing provides. The iron should be set on the fabric and fusible tape for up to 20 seconds. Since the fabric on both sides of the table runner are the same, it is reversible. This comes in handy if the runner has a stain on it, you can flip it to the other side.

Do You Put Batting in a Table Runner?

If you are wondering whether or not to put batting in a table runner, the answer is “it depends.” Batting is an extra layer of protection. The most common type of batting is cotton batting. It is ideal because it can easily withstand high temperatures compared to other materials such as polyester. When you are making your table runner from two pieces of fabric, you can add a layer of cotton batting in between both pieces before using your fusible table and ironing them together. This will add protection to your table from hot pots, pans or anything else that is placed on the runner. 

How to Use a Table Runner with Placemats

While some believe a table runner and placemats can not be used in tandem, that is incorrect. They can be. The main rule when it comes to table runners and placemats is color schemes. Your runner and placemats should match in color and design to some degree. They should be a well-matched combination since they will be used next to each other. For example, if you are hosting a holiday celebration with the colors red, white and silver, you’ll want to make sure your runner and placemats stay within this general color palette. Otherwise, you run the risk of colors “clashing” and the table looking too busy. You’ll want to avoid excess decorating on the table and keep it festive, yet simplistic.

The Best Ways to Decorate a Table Runner for Every Occasion

Now that you know all the basics regarding table runners, let’s get into the fun part: how to decorate it! Decorating your table runner for an occasion may be one of the most exciting parts of your holiday preparations. For many, a table is seen as the place where you gather with loved ones, whether it be friends, family or colleges. It is the focal point of family laughs, discussions and interactions. It is also the place where nourishing meals are shared with one another and delicious food is enjoyed. 

Therefore, decorating your table is a source of joy and happiness as it promotes a beautiful and inviting theme to your occasion. We will go over the best ways to decorate your table runner, based on the occasion. Let’s get into it.

  • Christmas, Hanukah or any Annual Holiday 

When it comes to Christmas, Hanukah or any annual holiday, the goal is to incorporate the colors and themes of that specific celebration. If you take Christmas for example, the most common colors are red, green and gold. A well-decorated Christmas table runner will include items such as candles, a balsam plant, red bows, centerpieces, pinecones, winter decor such as snowed tree centerpieces, snowflake decor trinkets and so much more. The goal is to get creative with the design process. Don’t be afraid to jazz up your table runner and truly make a beautiful display for the holidays. 

  • Weddings

Decorating a table runner for a wedding is a very special task. The way in which you decorate will depend on the main color themes of the wedding and the atmosphere you are trying to achieve. For a romantic look, wedding table runners can be decorated with small votive candles, statement flower vases, fresh flowers (white, pink, red, etc.), green plants, intricate details such as lace, antique trinkets, wooden centerpieces and more. A wedding reception table is very specific to the bride and groom, therefore personalized details such as monograming and photos may be used to decorate the runner as well. 

  • Baby Showers

A baby shower is a wonderful way to celebrate a new addition to the family. The baby shower is an important event for the mother-to-be. A baby shower table runner can be decorated with DIY mason jars of baby’s breath plants, small trinkets in glasses such as rubber ducks, personalized family photographs and more. Every occasion has the ability to be transformed by a well-decorated table runner. Creating a baby shower with colors such as blue or pink (depending on the gender) are especially popular. 

  • Bridal Showers

A bridal shower is a perfect way to celebrate a bride-to-be. There are so many details to this day. A bridal shower is not as stressful as a wedding by any means, however it is important that the day is memorable. Decorations and decor play a huge part in the theme of the bridal shower. The tables should be decorated with the bride’s style in mind. A table runner across the bridal shower table is perfect addition to add class, style, elegance and personality. To spice it up even more, you can decorate with small vases, floral arrangements, accents of gold, white and green, modern decorations and small bridal-themed decor items. 

  • Birthdays

Whether you are decorating a table for a child’s birthday or an adult’s birthday, the common denominator is color scheme. You want to stay within the right color scheme for your specific occasion. For example, if you are decorating a table runner for a child’s birthday, incorporating neon colors such as green, yellow, orange, pink, blue and purple are great for kids. Children love vibrant colors and it helps mark the atmosphere more inviting and welcoming to children. It also keep their attention and gets them excited about the birthday party. Decorations would include balloons, party favors, candy, kid-friendly decorations, cartoons, memorabilia from movies, action figures and movie character such as Elsa from Frozen. 

When it comes to an adult’s birthday, the rules are bit different. Make sure to stay within your specified color scheme. For example, if you are planning your spouse’s 40th birthday party and the main colors are green and white, you should find decorations with similar shades of green to compliment the table runner. You can use green candles, green flower arrangements, sports memorabilia that he enjoys and much more. Similar to all the suggestions on this list, personalization is key. You want to include decorations that are specific to the person you are celebrating, whether it be a bride, a mother-to-be, a child or a spouse. 

Final Thoughts

A table runner is an elegant and sophisticated addition to your next event. Whether you are hosting a holiday party or child’s birthday, a table runner becomes the focus of the table, allowing you to add decorations and host many people together. Make sure to measure your table runner accurately and select the best material and pattern for your occasion. Whether you are making your own or purchasing from Amazon, there is no doubt a table runner will elevate your entire event