Oval tables bring a touch of elegance and style to any dining room or special event. Their curved oval shape stands out from the everyday rectangle table. But this beautiful shape also poses a challenge when it comes to selecting tablecloths. Can you use a standard rectangular tablecloth on an oval table? And if so, how do you ensure it fits properly?
With some advance planning and precision, rectangular tablecloths can work beautifully on oval tables. The key is taking accurate measurements, allowing for adequate overhang, and experimenting with placement. Follow the guidelines below and you’ll have an oval table that looks like it was custom-made for your rectangle tablecloth.
Measure Accurately for the Best Fit
When working with oval tables, taking careful measurements is crucial for picking the right tablecloth size. Ovals vary more in dimensions than basic rectangle tables. Here’s how to measure an oval table properly:
- Width – Determine the widest point across the center of the table. Measure from edge to edge at the widest part of the oval.
- Length – Measure the longest dimension from end to end through the center of the table.
Use a soft fabric measuring tape and measure to the nearest 1/8th inch for the most accuracy. For large banquet tables, you may need a second person to help hold the other end of the tape measure.
Once you have the exact oval table measurements, it’s time to calculate the appropriate rectangle tablecloth size. The tablecloth must be both longer and wider than the underlying oval table to create the desired overhang or “drop” effect. But how much overhang is needed?
Choose the Right Tablecloth Size
To find the ideal rectangle tablecloth dimensions for an oval table:
- Width – Take the width of the oval table and add your desired amount of overhang to that measurement.
- Length – Do the same with the length of the oval table.
For example, if your oval table measures 60 inches wide by 84 inches long, and you want a full drop effect, you would add 18-24 inches to both dimensions. That means your rectangular tablecloth should be approximately 78-84 inches wide by 102-108 inches long. This will allow the tablecloth to fully drape over the edges of the oval table on all sides.
Here are some guidelines for tablecloth overhang or “drop” on oval tables:
- Half drop – Extend 12-18 inches past the oval table measurements
- Full drop – Allow 18-24 inches overhang
- Puddle drop – For a luxe look, go 24-30 inches beyond the oval table dimensions
The shape and fabric of the tablecloth can also impact the drape and fit:
- Rectangle tablecloths, preferably with rounded corners, work best.
- Avoid stiff fabrics like vinyl; instead choose softer, flowing fabrics like polyester or cotton.
With the right sizing and fabric, your rectangle tablecloth should elegantly adorn the oval table.
Figure Out the Best Placement
Once you have the perfect rectangle tablecloth for your oval table, the final step is determining the ideal placement for the best fit. Here are some tips:
- Center the rectangle tablecloth evenly on the oval table at first.
- Stand back and check for any overhang gaps or bunching in the corners.
- Try slightly adjusting the tablecloth placement or angle if needed to smooth out the fit. Go for symmetry.
- For stubborn gaps, use decorative table runners strategically to fill in space along the edges.
Be willing to gently reposition the rectangle tablecloth until you find an arrangement that works. The shape of the particular tablecloth and oval table may require some finesse. But taking the time to experiment with subtle placement tweaks can make all the difference in achieving a beautifully draped rectangle tablecloth that hugs your oval table perfectly.
Mistakes to Avoid
When using rectangular tablecloths on oval tables, keep these common errors in mind:
- Buying a tablecloth that is too small. Double check your oval table measurements and allow plenty of overhang.
- Not allowing adequate drop length. Oval tables often need more lengthwise overhang to drape evenly.
- Selecting a stiff, heavy fabric that won’t drape fluidly over the oval shape.
- Forcing a fit by pulling or stretching the tablecloth onto the oval table. This can cause bunching.
By measuring precisely, choosing the right size tablecloth with ample drop, and taking time to adjust placement, you can avoid a poor tablecloth fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What size rectangular tablecloth do I need for a 60 x 80 inch oval table?
For a 60 inch wide x 80 inch long oval table with a full tablecloth drop, a good rectangular tablecloth size would be 102 x 108 inches. This allows for 18 inches of drop on the 60 inch width and 24 inches of drop on the 80 inch length.
Can I use a square tablecloth on an oval table?
You can use a square tablecloth on a smaller oval table, but it won’t drape as evenly. Rectangular tablecloths are better suited for fully covering oval tables. Drape a square tablecloth diagonally or supplement with runners.
How much overhang should I have on an oval table?
The recommended overhang or drop for oval tables is:
- Half drop – 12-18 inches
- Full drop – 18-24 inches
- Puddle drop – 24+ inches
Allow extra drop lengthwise to account for the oval shape.
What fabrics work best with oval tables?
Lightweight polyester or cotton tablecloths with some drape work best on oval tables. Avoid heavy vinyl, plastic, or very stiff fabrics that won’t conform well to the oval shape.
Oval tables make a stunning focal point for any dining space. With smart rectangular tablecloth selections and strategic placement, you can create a flawless tablescape. Measure precisely, choose adequate overhang, and drape the rectangle tablecloth on your oval table arranged just so. With these tips, you’ll have guests thinking you custom-made that tablecloth just for your oval table!