What are Table Runners?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Table runners are a terrific way to “dress up” a kitchen or dining room table. Instead of covering the entire table, a table runner covers only the middle section of the table, “running” the length of the table. They come in a variety of sizes designed for different length tables, and also have many patterns from which to choose.

Some people use table runners on a bare table to provide a little extra color.
Some people use table runners on a bare table to provide a little extra color.

Some people use table runners on the bare table, just to provide some extra color in the center of their table. They might purchase coordinating place mats that can create protection of the table at each place setting. Alternately, smaller runners may make the perfect tablecloth for coffee tables of a certain length.

The other way table runners can be employed is by placing them over a coordinating tablecloth. This can add an extra layer and it may be a terrific choice when a person wants to add a specific theme to a decorated table. For instance, people can have solid color tablecloths for use around the year, and then buy table runners that have holiday or holiday color themes. Wedding reception linens may feature runners over cloths to reflect the bride’s color scheme and color choices.

Runners may be preferred to elaborately patterned tablecloths because they add extra design but aren’t overwhelming. When presentation or table decoration is important, printed tablecloths may conflict with food or simply be too busy when combined with china patterns, silverware, serving plates, and the like. A runner can add just a touch of pattern or design that accents instead taking over the design scheme of the table.

Shoppers can buy table runners in numerous colors, patterns and fabric choices at linen stores and many department stores. As mentioned, some have holiday themes, while others may be suited to any season. People do need to check the desired length of the runner as compared to length of tables on which they plan to use them. Sometimes, oddly sized tables can pose a challenge when shopping for commercially manufactured runners.

One alternative that many people choose is to make table runners at home. They really don’t require significant sewing talent. People may merely need to place a quick seam around the runner to finish the fabric edges. Very narrow fabric may not even need finishing on the sides and might only require hemming on the top and bottom of the runner.

An advantage to creating a table runner by hand is the vast choice of fabrics, patterns, and designs available. People who want to make luxurious runners can even choose fabric from design and/or upholstery stores that is heavier weight. Another plus to hand sewing table runners is that they can always be perfectly sized for the tables on which they will be used.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

And my wife can go nuts with these things. Absolutely nuts. I wasn't entirely aware that they make table runners themed for just about any major holiday you can think of and in just about any length you'd need.

I always figured just slap on a tablecloth and you're done. It seems I was mistaken about that for years.

Post your comments
Forgot password?