Home & Living

Table Runners

About Table Runners

There isn’t a lot you can do to decorate a dinner table. But a vase of flowers, a nice tablecloth, and table runners that stand out among all others can really spruce up your dining room. It can also be the most attractive piece of decoration in the room.

However, the history of table runners is pretty bizarre. As it turns out, in medieval times, people were not as keen about keeping the table cloth clean as we are today. For them, table cloth also doubled as a cloth to wipe their hands and faces. It is easy to imagine the condition of the tablecloths after every dinner. Then somebody thought that a napkin is better for that purpose. But the problem of people spilling the food over to the tablecloth still existed. They came about as a solution to this messy problem. Before you start shopping for them, read this article to know more.

A beginner’s guide to table runners

They are one of the most affordable decorative items out there. Moreover, they are also incredibly easy to use and also double as a cloth that protects your tablecloth. What is even more interesting is that there are several ways to decorate a table with them. Not surprisingly, the attractiveness also depends on how you arrange it on the table, whether it be a classical table runner with elaborate thread work or a modern and minimalist table runner. With that in mind, you need to learn some of the most basic ways to arrange them at a dinner table.

Laying the table runner lengthwise

The traditional way to lay it is to spread it along the length of the table, keeping it centred. You should leave the extra length of the runner to hang over the edges instead of folding them in. It is customary to have at least six or twelve inches of extra length on either side of the table. So, if you want to get the length of the runner right, you should measure the length of the table before buying it. The width is also a consideration when you are laying them. It should cover about one-third of the tabletop. Aligning the runner in this manner also gives your guest a reference line to align the silverware and dinnerware.

Short rustic table runners

It is not necessary to take the time to spread a long runner if the setting is not a formal one. In casual settings, a short and sweet runner will do just fine. They are also easy to lay on top of the table and also to align. Spreading them in this manner is a carryover from the rustic traditions. In this case, because the table runners are short, you have to lay them along the width of the table rather than the length. If the table is rectangular, that means you will need more than one runner. When you do that, two people sitting across the table will share the same runner.

Runners for round tables

When it comes to round tables, there are two ways to spread the runners. Though it is not drastically different from the regular rectangular tables, some subtle differences exist. One way to do it is to lay it along the centre of the table. Because it is a round table, there is no specific direction you have to follow. This is if there are only two people sitting at the table. If there are more than two, then you can spread two runners so that they will form an X. If the table is large enough for six people, then you can add a third run as well. And when it comes to the tablecloths, you can use either around one or a square one.

Runners for square tables

Laying the runners on a square table is similar to a round table. If the table is small or only two people are sitting at it, then you can lay a single runner along the centre of the table. One persona can then sit at either end. If the table is for four people, you can try the ‘X’ pattern similar to what you do for a round table. But if the square table is larger than that, then the only way to do it is to use one large runner that sits along the middle of the table. One guest can sit at either, and the rest of the people can fill up the spaces between them.

Tips on how to buy the right type of table runner

Choosing such items is often an overwhelming task. To create the right look, the runner and the tablecloth should match each other and also the type of the table. But this can be easier if you know what criteria to look for. That way, you can narrow down your options and make it easier to select one. Here are some tips that you can follow when you are shopping for these tablecloths.

  • Size – First thing to look for when you are shopping is the measurements. The width of the runner and the length are equally important. The width is a little bit more flexible because you can adjust the width by folding it in half. Length, on the other hand, should be spot on.
  • Colour – One of the purposes of this cloth is to add a layer of contrast to the tablecloth or the table. So, it is always a good idea to look for colours that are different from that of the tablecloth. Darker colours work almost always. On very formal occasions, you can also use white table cloth with white tablecloths.
  • Style – The design of the runners can also set the mood of the dinner. You don’t always have to keep the runner to a single colour. Runners with patterns and artwork are great for casual occasions and parties. Golden embroideries and tassels can give the runner a regal look.
  • Material – Choice of materials for table cloth is similar to tablecloths. Cotton runners are affordable and easy to take care of. The soft texture of linen can add a natural elegance to the table. If you want rich colours and patterns without spending a lot, runners that use combinations of fabric can bring a lot to the table.

Another factor to consider when you choose a runner is its cleanability. Food will spill over to the runner despite how careful you are. The only way to make sure that they stay pristine is to wash them after every meal. Of course, this is going to be difficult if you have to wash it all by hand. Therefore, look for the type that you can wash in the laundry machine. Apart from these, don’t forget to check out other products from Home & Living .

Question & Answer

Does a table runner have to hang over the table?

Keep in mind that the way you spread the runner comes down to your personal preferences at the end of the day. Lay it down lengthwise or widthwise, use as many as you want, or use none at all if you wish so. The same thing applies to the length of the product as well. In a casual setting, it can end right at the edge of the table or hang a few inches over the edge. There is no hard and fast rule that dictates how you should lay them. But there are some customary ways to do it in a formal setting. So, the right way to do it is to hang at least six or twelve inches over the table. It is better to stick to the traditions for formal events.

What are table runners for?

Originally, people used them over the tablecloth to protect the table cloth from getting stained by food and drinks. They would catch much of the spills, and this would protect the tablecloths underneath them. Because the runners are smaller, they were easy to wash. But these days, their primary purpose is to add more colours to the table and set the mood to the table. Because they are generally bright and quite noticeable, the runner is the foundation of the table decor. They can also protect the table cloth from hot pans and serveware.

Are table runners in style?

They were an inevitable part of dinner tables in the olden days. Although they never really went out of style, people thought runners would be just an extra chore in their already busy life. So, most people do not use them if it is just them and their family on the dinner table. But they still have their place on special occasions and during formal dinners. They are an essential piece of dressing on the table in those cases. You will always find them in high-end restaurants and on cafe tables.

Where to buy table runners online?

They are an easy and very effective item that you can use for table decoration. So, if you are looking to buy runners online in the UAE, look no further as you are in the right place. You will find anything from the best rustic to cheap quilted table runners to buy in All you have to do is to look for them using our product search engine . This will also let you compare different styles and models and find out the best among them.

There are more than 500 shops and brands offering them here on These include some of the popular brands like Grelucgo, Heritage Lace, DII, Simhomsen, Sticky Toffee, Adore, Elite d’Art, and Fennco Styles.