Table Runners – Tips for Choosing and Using Them in Style

People who frequently entertain guests at home will not be strangers to the concept of runners on dining tables. Structurally simple, they are among the most versatile table linens you can have. Because you can get runners in a large assortment of materials, textures, colors, patterns, sizes, and styles, choosing and using the right ones can often be an overwhelming affair. Some handy tips on buying and using runners at home:

Get the Size Right

Perhaps the most important aspect of choosing a runner for your dining table is the size. The first step is to measure the dimension of the table you are buying the runner for. More than the width of the table, it is the length that matters for buying runners. When measuring the table’s length, be sure to include the width of the lips at both ends. Ideally, the runner should hang at least six inches over each edge. If you are placing the runner on top of a tablecloth, the runner should not be longer than the tablecloth. The conventional way of calculating the runner width is to measure the width of the table and divide it by three. However, if you are planning to use the runner as placemats, make sure that the width is between 16 to 20 inches.

Choosing the Fabric

With table runners being available in a large variety of fabrics, it can be tough to choose one for the different tables in your home. While there are no hard and fast rules about the choice of the fabric, you must make certain that your choice reflects the occasion, your sense of aesthetics, and your existing home décor style. For formal occasions, especially if the tabletop is lacquered or finely finished wood, marble, or glass, runners made from silk, satin, polyester, or even lace help to create a timeless look, as per My Wedding. When entertaining more informally, you can use runners made from cotton, twill, or even burlap.

Décor Style and Color

If you want an informal centerpiece for the table in the kitchen, you can think about using a short table runner that leaves enough space for a place setting on both ends. Choose a color that goes well with the rest of the furnishings and place a floral arrangement or any other decoration in the center. You can decide on the combination as per your sense of aesthetics but be sure to make the runner and the decorations complementary. The choice of the color of the runner can make a difference to how your other decorations look. The idea is to use color to create a contrast between the runner and the centerpiece.


Even though most people use runners to do up their dining tables, there is absolutely no reason why you cannot use runners on other tables in the house. You can make a coffee table or even a dresser look unique and beautiful with a well-chosen table runner that also serves to protect the surface underneath from scratches and food spills. The ways you can use runners to decorate your tables are limited only by your imagination.