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Tablecloth question
Old 08-06-2022, 06:24 AM
  #1

Until the survey (if Iím understanding right), Iíd never heard of leaving a tablecloth on a table. I donít understand this. Do you wash it or trade it out every day?

In our old house, when I had a formal dining table, I only used a tablecloth when we were dining. After the meal I washed the tablecloth and put it away.

I wonder if this is a regional thing because I look at tons of pictures of houses and I donít recall ever seeing a tablecloth on an unset table.


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Old 08-06-2022, 06:38 AM
  #2

I have a dining room table marred by 50 years of use by children, clumsy adults, and a father who needed to push himself up by leaning on the table for balance. A person much different from me would replace the table or at least see about repairing and refinishing it. I'm downsizing and I'm spending nothing major on anything I couldn't use in the one bedroom, small apartment in the senior living place that is my old age plan! I won't need a formal dining room table with extra leaves. So, I cover it with a tablecloth.

*I only use the dining room when the children and grandchildren come for family dinners and holidays. The rest of the time I eat at the kitchen counter or in front of the TV in the den.

Last edited by Cassyree; 08-06-2022 at 06:56 AM..
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Old 08-06-2022, 06:46 AM
  #3

I always have a tablecloth on an unset table. I change it seasonally.
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Old 08-06-2022, 06:49 AM
  #4

I'm not a tablecloth person, but my grandparents were. They had a formal dining room/table and there was always a tablecloth on it. They didn't use that table for daily dining when it was just the two of them. When we would eat at it (larger groups or special occasions) my grandma would take it off and put a new one on that would stay there until the next time we ate.
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Old 08-06-2022, 07:10 AM
  #5

When I think of tablecloths on dining tables (I donít use them) I think of them as decor, like pillows on couches.

Most people I know that keep a tablecloth on have it on the rarely used dining room table not the daily use kitchen table.

When I was a child (a very long time ago!) I remember many kitchen tables having oilcloth tablecloths because they could be wiped down and not have to be laundered regularly.


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Old 08-06-2022, 07:13 AM
  #6

I live in the Pacific Northwest. My kitchen table came across the country in a covered wagon from North Carolina. It was my husband's great grandmothers table so we have a cloth on it always. I get a vinyl one so I can wipe it down. If I didn't have that table, I'd probably not use one.
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Old 08-06-2022, 07:28 AM
  #7

Our kitchen table is clutter central, so we eat at the dining room table. We use placemats and hot pads for the dishes and serving bowls. When we have company/family dinners (which hasn't happened since Covid), we put on a table pad and a tablecloth then set the table. The cloth was washed after dinner.

Growing up, it was the same. Tablecloth for company. It's suppose to protect the table from spills.
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Old 08-06-2022, 07:30 AM
  #8

I have a huge dining table. It's made of lovely wood with the exception of some of the leaves. I keep it uncovered unless we're having a eight for dinner. Then I add the leaves and use a table cloth to hide the less than perfect wood but I would prefer to have the table uncovered.


I don't think it's regional but rather a personal preference.
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Old 08-06-2022, 07:32 AM
  #9

I keep an oilcloth type tablecloth on my table. It isn't really formal, although it's a nice wood table. I just want to keep it nice, so I cover it. That way it doesn't get water marks or scratches on it.

My "dining room" is really a section of my kitchen area, and near the entrance we usually use, so the table tends to collect mail, reading glasses, the newspaper, and other such items. With such heavy use/traffic, it really needs the protection. The oilcloth means I can just wipe it off to keep it clean. I do change the cloth with the seasons.
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Old 08-06-2022, 07:42 AM
  #10

My dining room table is beautiful so I never leave a table cloth on it. We put table pads and a table cloth over it when we have guests. Like Amiga, I remove everything after guests leave. Works for me!


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Old 08-06-2022, 07:42 AM
  #11

I have my momís Amish made dining table with removeable leaves. That thing is HEAVY. We always had a table cloth of some sort on it and the table looks brand new.

In my family, we cover everything to prolong the lifetime of the item. Our couch and chairs are covered because kid and dog (and husband).
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Old 08-06-2022, 07:43 AM
  #12

I use a tablecloth for larger family meals or company. I use a seasonal table runner for everyday use.
My parents always kept a tablecloth on our cherry dining table to protect it. It is now in my momís assisted living apartment, still covered in a lace tablecloth that gets laundered when needed.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:00 AM
  #13

I do not use a tablecloth anymore for any occasion. I made some really unique placemats to match my Fiestaware and personality so I use them when we have company to eat which is only a couple of times a year.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:00 AM
  #14

I have a vinyl tablecloth on our outdoor table to protect it from the elements. I wipe it down every night. On our inside dinner table, there are placemats that I wash weekly.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:02 AM
  #15

I think it is a generational thing as wellÖ

Iíve never even used a tablecloth and donít own any. I do have a runner on my table.

Growing up, tablecloths were put on the table for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner then washed and put away until next year.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:10 AM
  #16

I occasionally use a table runner over the bare wood at holiday times and always use a tablecloth when guests are over for meals. I prefer the wood look and don't want to cover the table.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:26 AM
  #17

The dining room table is made of wood and still in great condition after at least 40 years. Since we live in a log cabin, the walls, floors, and ceiling are all wood. So we break up the wood with the use of nice tablecloth and have two rugs on the floor. Curtains also break up "the living in a wooden crate feel".

I had placemats when I lived in Georgia. Growing up, we had a special tablecloth for holidays and guests when we ate in the dining room. I had a very nice hand-embroidered cloth that was used for special occasions that got lost in the move up here. I found it up here in Maine one summer at a yard sale for ten cents. I often thought about all the effort that went into that cloth and the owners didn't really appreciate it. I did, and I wish I still had it.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:28 AM
  #18

I do whatever suits my mood and the season. I need tablecloths and placemats to remind me of the season because in Florida it is too easy to lose track.

In Spring, my table cloth stays on for weeks. I shake it out after we eat and use placemats to keep it clean. Placemats are put away after eating.

In Fall and Winter I use seasonal cork placemats that stay out all the time with decorative salt and pepper shakers.

In the summer my table is bare and we use placements for meals.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:36 AM
  #19

My kitchen table just has placemats.

My large dining room table needs a bit of refinishing, so I keep pads and a tablecloths on it, and I change it after being used or with the seasons. Old prefer no tablecloth, but the damaged areas of the wood bug me.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:38 AM
  #20

I always have one on the table.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:48 AM
  #21

The dining table in my primary home has a large piece of cut glass covering the tabletop. It protects the wood and is so easy to wipe clean. I love it! I only use a tablecloth for special dinners like at Christmas.

In my mountain cabin, the antique dining table is always covered by a vinyl white lace tablecloth that protects the wood and gives that table the old fashioned look I want in my cabin. It’s easy to clean, too. The tablecloth is from Vermont Country Store.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:33 AM
  #22

I leave my dining room table uncovered except when we have company and plan to dine at the table!

My mom leaves a plastic white padded tablecloth on ALL THE TIME! I hate it, but itís nit my house! She really has a beautiful table and itís only her most of the time.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:39 AM
  #23

In the kitchen we use placemats. The table is in terrible shape, but it is not going with us when we move so I really donít care anymore. If we have company and are eating in the kitchen I use a pad and tablecloth. I use a seasonal runner in the dining room and pad and tablecloth for company. The dining room table and chairs belonged to my grandparents and the chairs are very janky, they have been repaired and recovered but this is another item that will not be going with us when we move.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:51 AM
  #24

I have a nice Ethan Allen dining room table. I have a table pad protector on top of the wood and a tablecloth on top of it. I definitely do not change it every day. I have placemats on it, and when it is dirty, I wash it. I change my decor seasonally, and I have several tablecloths I rotate throughout each season. I like how it looks.

I do not have a kitchen table, and eat on my dining room table. I do not think this is a regional thing, but more of a personal choice.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:53 AM
  #25

My mom always had a pad and tablecloth on her table. I think to protect the table. I've never used a tablecloth, except maybe on a picnic table.
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:13 AM
  #26

After 3 kids and 4 grandkids I still use a table cloth 25/7. There are constant meals, crafts, projects on this Amish made table. I have recovered the chairs 3 times and have the fabric for another go round. I would love to remove the table cloth someday for good. This table had been the heart of our family for over 40 years.
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:40 AM
  #27

The only reason I own a tablecloth is that I have my momís dining table now, and she had two tablecloths for it.

I had one friend who kept the tablecloth on the table, and then she took it off when they used the table.
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:46 AM
  #28

We have a combination kitchen/dining area. Our house is quite informal with an open concept.

I have always used a tablecloth for daily dining in order to keep the table protected and, actually, it prevents people from making into a catch-all. My grandfather was a custom furniture maker for a place in Minneapolis, and he made this round oak table with claw feet from "scraps" at the business back in the 1920s. We have had it rebuilt once, and I want to keep it looking nice. I have a stack of cotton washable tablecloths that have worn like iron! (As well as nicer holiday ones.)

Here at our cabin, I have a smaller oak table we got after MIL passed away. I also use tablecloths here to protect it. I found some fun "buffalo plaid" cotton tablecloths in blue, red, and green.

I stopped using placemats decades ago when I realized DH would never master shaking salt and pepper on his food without getting it all over the table!

I shake them out daily, change when needed, usually a couple times a week. My mother always covered her kitchen table with a vinyl/flannel backed tablecloth, and I swore I would never use vinyl in my own house!
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Old 08-06-2022, 01:32 PM
  #29

I would agree that they are more of a generational thing. My mom always used table clothes even on the old gray and white metal type table. I used to think I needed in for holidays or guests but I no longer own any. I think they have fallen out of fashion except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I do have placemats. They are bamboo and can be easily wiped clean.
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Old 08-06-2022, 01:48 PM
  #30

I'm old fashioned. I have a beautiful table, that I keep covered by a table cloth because we eat in the dining room for our meals. We always ate in the dining room when we lived in quarters - no eat in kitchen in any of the quarters we lived in. We don't have an eat in kitchen in this house either except for a counter, and it's not big enough for dinner. I eat lunch there sometimes, but hubs never does. I have always used a tablecloth because my oldest son (the one on the spectrum) was always messy and spilled things. Hubs is careless and would have scratched it six ways to Sunday without a tablecloth. I have some placemats that go on top that I can wipe down. I change the tablecloth out every month or so.
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Old 08-06-2022, 01:57 PM
  #31

I love to display a table runner. I went through a travel phase at one time where my souvenir shopping was a table runner that was representative of the culture or textile specific to the region.

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Old 08-06-2022, 02:35 PM
  #32

We have a kitchen/dining area. Itís an open floor plan. We only have 1 table but itís a very large heavy wood table. I like to use a tablecloth or runner for seasonal decoration. Sometimes we eat on top of the tablecloth, but most often I fold back the table cloth to give us half to use for eating (my table is ginormous). It depends on my mood. Regarding cleaning, if we eat on top of it then Iíll launder it frequently but usually I just fold it back and use the wood (which is easy to wipe down). The problem is that itís a soft wood so that it easily picks up kicks and scratches.
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Old 08-06-2022, 04:23 PM
  #33

We have to eat at our dining room table for all meals. No room in kitchen for seating.

I love tableclothes and table settings. Always a tablecloth which covers the protective pads. I change it out every few days or if we have something extremely messy. Sometimes I put placemats out on top of the tablecloth.

I also use cloth napkins that coordinate with the cloth. Those get changed out every few days.
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Old 08-06-2022, 04:57 PM
  #34

I have personally never owned a tablecloth. Growing up, my parents put a tablecloth on the table ONLY for non-eating activities, to protect the table. So for example, if they're getting out the Christmas decorations, they'll put the tablecloth down and then put all of the boxes on the table.

However, my grandparents had tablecloths at their house; we spent a lot of time there when I was little. They had the plastic kind that could be wiped off in the kitchen and sun room. These stayed on all of the time and were just cleaned off with the dish rag after meals. We only ate at the formal dining room table during times like Christmas or Thanksgiving. I know they had cloth tablecloths on that table. I'm trying really hard to remember if that tablecloth stayed on all of the time, and I honestly can't remember.
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Old 08-06-2022, 05:43 PM
  #35

I usually have a table cloth on my table. I just think it looks nicer. Right now I have a vinyl lace looking cover on it that can be wiped off after we eat. I have a beautiful
Battenburg lace tablecloth that was given to me by my students one year. I like to use it when company comes.
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Old 08-06-2022, 06:16 PM
  #36

My mom always had one on her table. I thought it was strange and made things really difficult to clean. Plus if we wanted to play games we had to take it off.

My current table is so durable that there's no need for a tablecloth. Plus I love the look of the table so I don't cover it unless we are doing some kind of holiday meal or something (which, let's face it, happens once a year at the most ).
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Old 08-07-2022, 05:11 AM
  #37

I own one table cloth and I have not used it in years!

I do, however, have too many placemats to count! I keep placemats out on the table all the time and change them often.
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Old 08-07-2022, 08:50 AM
  #38

Interesting question!

I have only one table, and yes, it does have a tablecloth on it. Before I married DH#2, it was a beautiful solid oak table that my late DH#1 and I bought when we finally had some money to get rid of the wobbly secondhand store one. I only put placemats on it when we had meals. For the rest of the time it had a gorgeous table runner.

When DH#2 and my dear stepson (6 at the time) came into my life, it wasn't long before my table was ruined. Scratches and gashes, stains from art and science projects, burns from hot bowls, you get the picture. I realized quickly that having loving relationships was more important than my table. Some day I may have the table refinished, but for now I use a variety of beautiful tablecloths that I've bought on my travels.

I want to add a factoid: Europeans have for centuries (since the 14th century) put Middle Eastern (Oriental) carpets on the table to signify status. You can see it in Renaissance paintings.
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Old 08-07-2022, 07:39 PM
  #39

My dining room table does have a cloth tablecloth on it as well as a table pad. The white table pad has been stuck to my dining room table for years. I keep a tablecloth on it to cover the pad. We usually use our dining room for Thanksgiving or Christmas. We have a dining set in our kitchen that seats 4. If we have more people eating than that, we use the dining room. I do have a variety of tablecloths and cloth napkins, mostly solids and some Fall themed. I even have some napkin rings too. I inherited the dining room set and hutch from my MIL when she moved out of state. It was already pretty used. That's why I started using tablecloths in the first place.
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Old 08-08-2022, 11:09 AM
  #40

Your post inspired me to work on my dining room table so I cleaned and polished and waxed it so I could keep the pads off. Why have a nice table if you hide it?

I bought a nice runner and now can enjoy the table every day. Iíll put out placemats for company and the pads and a tablecloth for parties since I use the table for all the food- buffet style- when we have a crowd.
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amiga13
 
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Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 26,969
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Old 08-08-2022, 11:48 AM
  #41

Munchkins, your table looks fabulous! Yay for you!
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