Chalet Floral Weddings and Events

Muskegon, MI               (231)755-1805           

Linen Types and Guide

How to Dress Up Your Table with Linens

While you are free to let loose with your creativity, here is a basic guide to dressing a table using linens.

Since formal events often use more table linens, many people get confused about how to coordinate the different parts. In general, a standard table setting is all about layering. Begin with the base linen, which is usually a poly tablecloth suited in size and shape to your table. Once you have chosen your base, begin adding other linens to coordinate and enhance your color scheme or theme, such as a solid color overlay across the top with a lace runner down the middle, or alternate coordinating overlays and runners on tables across the room. Finishing touches would include napkins and chair covers.

How you stage your tables can really impact the feel and style of your event, so here is a basic rundown of the different types of table linens and sizing that you’ll need to consider.

Types of linens

Poly table cloths

Polyester table linens are made from a seamless polyester material with a hemmed edge giving a delicate and elegant appearance to the overall look of the table. Round tables can be decorated with either round or square tablecloths, and are traditionally used at weddings because circles are symbolic of eternal unity. Our polyester tablecloths are available in many different colors.

Most venues and caterers provide a square poly linen for your guest tables. When you only use a square tablecloth, there will be a portion where the table cloth will hang longer and the other portion shorter. This could be a fine option when used with chair covers which will hide the open area under the shorter portion. However, if you are using Chivari chairs, white wood chairs or no chair covers at your event, keep in mind you will be able to see through the legs and under the table in the shorter drop areas.

Floor-length Tablecloth

A floor-length tablecloth covers the top of the table and falls to the floor all the way around the table. Pintuck, damask and certain other heavier weight tablecloths sometimes are used instead of a poly base linen, however sequin, crinkle taffeta and burlap are much more comfortable to have a cushion layer of poly underneath.

Table Overlays

Like decorative icing or flowers on the top of a wedding cake, table overlays are usually layered on top of the base poly tablecloth for added depth, style and color. Our overlays are 60” x 60” square and are placed over round guest tables or placed “diamond” on long head tables. Especially if you choose white or plain colored table cloths, overlays are an easy way to add the perfect touch of color, texture, visual interest and luxury.

Overlays are almost never used by themselves. If you just drape the overlay over the table without having a base floor length tablecloth on the table, the legs of the tables will show.

Table Runners

Similar to an overlay, table runners are a great accessory to spice up a formal table setting and are usually long strips of fabric that run directly through the middle of the table setting, laid across length wise. Table runners are an economic and easy way to incorporate accent colors, patterns or a certain theme.


Napkins are a necessity at any event and are also one of the most important aspects of a formal table setting. Available in nearly every type of fabric that tablecloths come in, napkins can either compliment or provide an accent color to your table setting. Napkins can be intended for guests to wipe their hands and mouths on or for purely decorative purposes, so choose napkins based on the needs of your event. To keep napkins looking neat, they should be folded decoratively or used with napkin rings.

Chair covers

Are you a victim of ugly chairs? Then cover them up with beautiful chair covers. You can turn your event from plain and ordinary to beautiful and extraordinary. Adding chair covers to your event can transform any room into shear elegance.
Choosing an appropriate chair sash or crystal band can enhance you color scheme, accent color or set the tone for the entire room.