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A Guide to Choosing the Best Table Linen - Pegasus Group UK

A Guide to Choosing the Best Table Linen

Table linen is an essential part of any respectable dining atmosphere, and studies have shown it can even influence people’s perception of their dining experience. Whether you’re setting up the décor in your new restaurant or planning a wedding, dinner party or other social event, choosing the right table linen is vital. Read on to learn more about the different factors you need to consider when making your choice.

 Selecting your Size

First of all, you’ll need to figure out what size tablecloth you need. To do this, you’ll need to know the dimensions of your table, but also the drop – the amount by which the tablecloth will overhang on each side. The length of the drop will depend on what kind of ambiance you’re going for: 6-8 inches is suitable for casual dining, while for a formal atmosphere 10-15 inches is more appropriate. For a buffet table, the overhang can reach down to the floor as nobody will be sitting at the table.

 Here’s how to calculate your tablecloth size:

Rectangular tables

  1. Measure the width and length of your table.
  2. Determine your ideal drop length.
  3. Multiply this number by 2 and add it to both the length and width.
Circular tables
  1. Measure the diameter of your table.
  2. Determine your ideal drop length.
  3. Multiply this number by 2 and add it to the diameter.

 For example, if your table is W70” x L88” and you want a 10-inch drop, you will need to add 20” to each measurement – that’s how you’ll know you need a 90”x108” tablecloth. Similarly, if your table is circular and 70” in diameter, you’ll need a 90” round tablecloth.


Choosing a Colour

Colour is a powerful tool that can drastically change the ambiance of any setting. When deciding on a colour, it’s important to consider what kind of tone, theme and atmosphere you’re going for. To create a harmonious feeling, it's a good idea to choose a shade that complements the colour of the dining venue. White is the classic option and remains the most popular for formal dining – crisp white linen gives a bright, clean feeling that’s hard to replicate. Other neutral solid colours such as buttermilk or biscuit may work equally well in a wide variety of settings. Warm, deep colours such as red or burgundy will give you a rich, opulent atmosphere, while blues and greens will create a cooler, more reserved feeling.


Choosing a Material

Tablecloths can be made from many materials such as cotton, polyester, vinyl and even paper. Disposable paper tablecloths are cheap and ideal for events such as children’s birthday parties where sophistication isn’t required. Vinyl is easy to clean and highly weather-resistant, making it a good choice for fast-food restaurants and informal outdoor occasions. However, for anything more sophisticated than this, fabric is a must-have. A 2019 study found that using fabric table linen gave diners a better perception of a restaurant’s ambiance, service and even food quality.

  • Cotton

Soft, absorbent and breathable, cotton table linen is a classy option for restaurants, weddings, banquets and other environments where a certain degree of formality is required. In addition to its qualities, cotton is machine-washable and relatively inexpensive, making it one of the most popular choices.

The 100% Cotton Orchid range by Pegasus Textiles offers classic white tablecloths and napkins woven from high-quality cotton and featuring an elegant satin band, available in both 200 and 215gsm. The 215gsm range also features two-fold yarns in the warp and weft, as well as a mercerised satin finish.

  • Polyester

A synthetic fabric, polyester has a look and feel similar to cotton but shinier and silkier. Polyester is more crease-resistant than cotton and doesn’t shrink in the dryer. The overall feel and impression is not quite as high-end as cotton, but what you lose in prestige you’ll make up for in convenience.

Our 100% Polyester Orchid range is woven from Murata jet-spun polyester, which has the feel of cotton but offers numerous advantages including better colour retention, higher durability and a shorter drying time. This range comes in 15 stylish solid colours, and we also offer bespoke sizes and colours available within 12 weeks.


To enquire about any of our ranges, call 0845 009 1988 (+44 845 009 1988 if outside the UK) or send an email to


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