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Tablecloth Size Chart: Table Linen Hire Tips

You’re arranging the catering, planning the music, and sending out the invitations. It’s a busy time and you need to get everything in place and ready for the big event. If you’re organising a formal dinner for an event like a wedding, or a smaller celebratory meal for 10, you’ll need to hire a varying amount of catering equipment.

One of the obvious items to tick off your list are the tables and chairs. 

Chair numbers are fairly simple to work out. Everyone needs a seat, so you simply take the number of guests and apply that to the chair order. Depending on the event, you may also need as few spare (maybe for the string quartet or other musicians/entertainers/service staff to eat later?), but for the most part, one chair per person and you’re sorted. If any of your guests are bringing smaller children you’ll need to check with them whether they need a high chair. Pretty simple. But tables and tablecloths are a little trickier…       

We’re often asked about table hire and then we’re asked, “What tables and tablecloths do I need for my event?”. That’s not always a straightforward one to answer without first understanding a few key elements of the event itself. 

What tablecloth size do I need? 

Before you can determine what size tablecloth you need, you need to first work out how many tables and what shaped tables you need. But how do you do that? We’ve got the answers below! 

Start with the head count 

Just like the chairs, firstly the number of guests you have will determine how many tables you need, but it gets a little more complicated when you consider the room/space you have. 

Clearly, you’ll need one chair per person and that means one place setting per person. That’s the simple part. Then you’ll need to work out which tables you need and how many, and this is determined by choice and sometimes (often, actually) by the space. 

Work out the space you have to work with 

Some event spaces need more thought to work with than others. Not all events have a simple rectangular space to fill, and even standard marquees need a little planning. The most common table for an event like a large dinner or wedding breakfast is a round table and it really does pay to understand the difference in each size and what that means to your space and layout. 

Firstly, measure up the room and then plot how the tables will fit in. If you can visit the site or mark up the area where the marquee will be, then it’s often a good idea to lay out basic newspaper templates on the floor to give you a visual representation of how it will all fit in. 

You may find that you’re better off with several more 6 ft round tables, than fewer 7 ft round tables, for example. Spaces obviously look a lot larger before the furniture goes in!

Hire your tables 

The number of tables you need will then depend on the number of people you need to seat, and the size of table you can fit. 

For example, you can fit 12 people around a 7 ft round table, but a 7 ft round table is larger than a 5 ft round. Got a long and narrow space? You might need to opt for more 5 ft rounds than the larger 7 ft rounds, and merely use more of the room. 

Sure, you’ll have more tables overall, but you’ll be able to fit them into the narrow space more easily. 

The simple way to look at this is either: 

  • Visually in the room with a paper template or even a table if you have one. 

  • On a paper/digital plan where you can see the room top down and then place the tables into your plan. 

Both need some expertise, though. Just because they fit, doesn’t mean they’re going to be great for servicing with food and drink. And don’t forget that chairs are pulled out so people can get in. Planning for this will give the event a far better feel than one that’s cramped and awkward.

How many people can you fit around a table? 

If you’re choosing between 5 ft, 6 ft, or 7 ft rounds, what numbers do you have to work with? 

Well, that’s fairly simple, so here are the stats: 

And then you have square, rectangle, and banquet tables too: 

And then work out the maths of the space you have to work with… 

As an example: 

  • 120 people can be seated on 10 x 7 ft rounds or 15 x 5 ft rounds if you’re working on a smaller, narrower, or more awkward space. You can mix it up too, so if you have an alcove that will only take a 3 ft round but is ideal for your kids’ table, then perfect. 

On the subject of children – don’t forget to ask guests with young children whether they need a high chair, and factor this in to the space next door to the guests. This is better off away from a main entrance so people don’t trip over the legs. Older children might be OK on their own table, but the younger ones will need to be near their carers.  

How to measure tablecloth size 

Measuring a tablecloth is fairly straightforward once you know what you’re doing. Begin by determining the table's shape—rectangular, square, or round. For a rectangular or square table, measure the length and width, adding the desired drop length on all sides. For a round table, measure its diameter, again adding the desired drop length.  

Now you need to choose and hire your tablecloths. Each table listed above is a different size and therefore needs a different size tablecloth. To help you, we’ve created a simple tablecloth guide which we’ve shared below.  

Here’s a tablecloth size guide: 

  • 3ft round table            - 90” tablecloth (27 inch drop to floor). 

  • 4ft round table            - 90” tablecloth (21 inch drop to floor). 

  • 5ft round table            - 90” tablecloth (15 inch drop to floor). 

  • 5ft 6 inch round table - 110” tablecloth (22 inch drop to floor). 

  • 5ft 6 inch round table - 120” tablecloth (27 inch drop to floor). 

  • 6ft round table            - 120” tablecloth (24 inch drop to floor). 

  • 6ft round table            - 130” tablecloth (29 inch drop to floor). 

  • 7ft round table            - 130” tablecloth (23 inch drop to floor). 

So, for example, if you’re wondering what size tablecloth you need for a 5ft round table, a 90inch tablecloth would provide you with a 21 inch drop. If you wanted a bigger drop, you’d need to size up accordingly. 

What is the drop on a tablecloth?

What’s this drop length we keep talking about? The drop length is how much fabric you want hanging over the edges. The amount of drop you want will depend on the occasion as well as your own preferences, for example, a corporate event will typically have less drop whereas for a wedding you may want more drop to give a romantic and dreamy effect. 

Therefore, the bigger the tablecloth, and the smaller the table, the bigger the drop. But not all tablecloths are created equal! There’s more of a science behind it, so below you’ll see the size guide and the drop per table, per cloth. For example: you can have an 18 inch drop on a 7 ft round table if you hire a 120 inch round tablecloth. 

If this is sounding a bit complicated, we’re here to help. Just let us know what you need, and we can do the math for you!  

Tablecloth measurement charts 

If you’re more of a visual person, you’re in luck as we also have some niffy charts to help you out when measuring your tablecloth! 

Plato Linen Hire Tablecloth SheetPlato Linen Hire 1

Plato Linen Hire 2

Plato Linen Hire 3

Plato Linen Hire 4

Plato Linen Hire 5

Plato Linen Hire 6

Plato Linen Hire 7

Plato Linen Hire 8

When hiring equipment from Plato, you can be safe in the knowledge that any electrical equipment is PAT tested before it’s hired out. Plato is also a member of the SafeHire Certification Scheme, which means we have a proven competence in safety, health, environment, and quality. This ensures you’ll receive the highest possible quality of service and catering equipment hire.  

We hope you found this information useful but if you need some extra advice or you’re interested in hiring furniture or linen from us please get in touch. 

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We deliver throughout Birmingham, Coventry, Leamington Spa, Redditch, Solihull, Stratford upon Avon, Warwick, Worcester.

if your event is in any of the following counties we would absolutely love to quote:-
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