Unveiling the Secrets of Table Linens – Reed Family Linen

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Unveiling the Secrets of Table Linens

Advice Guides

Are you looking to transform your dining experience into something truly extraordinary? Look no further than our essential table linen guide. Elevate your dining experience with a touch of style and sophistication that is sure to impress your guests.

Table of Contents

From Elegant Tablecloths to Luxurious Napkins and Placemats

Our wide range of table linens offers something for every style, from classic and timeless to modern and chic. Choose from an array of colours, patterns, and textures to curate a look that is uniquely yours.

Whether you’re hosting a formal dinner party or simply enjoying a casual meal with friends and family, the right table linens can make all the difference. Investing in quality table linens not only adds a touch of elegance to your dining table but also protects it from spills and stains. Our selection of high-quality materials ensures durability and easy maintenance, so you can enjoy them for years to come.

Reed Family Linens Tablecloth Sets

Create a statement piece for the table with one of our distinctive designs embroidered on a sumptuous cotton cloth.

The Importance of Table Linens in Creating a Stylish Dining Experience

Table linens, often underestimated, play a pivotal role in enhancing your dining experience. They set the tone for your meal and offer a canvas for creativity and style.

Setting the Mood

The way you set your table with linens can instantly elevate the ambience. Whether you’re aiming for an intimate and romantic dinner or a lively family gathering, your choice of linens can help you set the mood.

Making Memories

Memorable dining experiences are often marked by attention to detail. We’ve seen our linens turn ordinary meals into extraordinary events, creating lasting memories for our customers.

Different Types of Table Linens

Luxurious table linens encapsulate the spirit of elegant dining, and choosing the appropriate linen for your table is crucial to creating a dinner scene that complements your home. To choose the right table linens, it’s essential to understand the different types and their suitability for various occasions.


The cornerstone of any luxurious table setting is a tablecloth. To truly create the scene, choose a tablecloth that goes with your decor. You can go traditional or modern, country chic or cosmopolitan, or casual or formal. Tablecloths can be dressed or casually suited for the situation. We advise keeping accessories sleek and understated if your tablecloth of choice has elaborate designs and details. If you have chosen a subdued, minimalistic tablecloth design, choose a contrasting hue for your tableware or ornamental table dressing to make your accessories “pop.”

Table Runners

Table runners provide both aesthetic and practical advantages for your dining table. They provide colour, contrast, and an additional layer of protection. Table runners can enhance the style and substance of your table. A lightweight silk table runner placed over a glass-topped table, for instance, “lifts” the design and gives the table setting a new, breezy sense. Similarly, a linen table runner with a dense weave and elaborate pattern balances the texture and style of a solid wood table. To make your tablecloth the main attraction at your dining table, you can choose to use a runner or just leave it unadorned.


The main use of napkins is to prevent spills and stains and to keep lips and fingers clean while eating. Napkins, however, can also add the ideal finishing touch to your opulent table arrangement and are frequently purchased in addition to tablecloths. Typically positioned on the left side of the placemat, serviette rings can be used to hold them in place or fold them.

Cocktail Napkin

When serving aperitifs, a cocktail napkin is a little napkin with multiple applications. First of all, they serve as a coaster substitute since customers can set their drinks down with something to catch any condensation while they move around or stand. They are also useful for mopping up any little spills and for keeping your hand dry if condensation forms on the glass. Lastly, when canapes are delivered, they come in handy for wiping mouths and hands. As you serve drinks, arrange cocktail napkins in a pile nearby and give them to your guests along with their beverages.

Dinner Napkin

As the name implies a dinner serviette is one that is used for eating at the table. They keep tongues and fingers clean and guard against spills and stains. Dinner napkins are typically arranged to the left of a place setting, although they can also be arranged in the middle, on a plate, or straight on the table.


The most visible is a linen coaster, which serves as a protected and sometimes decorative surface for your drink to rest on while it’s on the dining table or any other surface.


Placemats, which are made of linen and protect the table underneath while also adding style to the place setting, have a significant influence on table setting design. Options for normal linen and waxed linen are available in the market.

Different Table Linen Uses

Classic Elegance

Classic table linens offer timeless elegance. They are perfect for formal dinners and special occasions, often characterized by intricate patterns, fine details, and a refined colour palette.

Contemporary Charm

Contemporary linens add a touch of modern sophistication to your table. With bold patterns, vibrant colours, and a more casual vibe, they are versatile and suitable for everyday use as well as trendy gatherings.

Seasonal Delights

Seasonal table linens bring a seasonal twist to your dining experiences, making holidays and special occasions even more festive. They allow you to celebrate the seasons in style.

Our collection encompasses all these styles, ensuring you’ll find the perfect table linens for every occasion.

Choosing the Right Fabric for Your Table Linens

Selecting the right fabric for your table linens is as crucial as choosing the style. Each fabric brings its unique qualities to the table.

Without question, the most opulent and appropriate fabric for table linens is linen. Benefits of linen include the following:

  • Possesses inherent antibacterial and moth resistance 
  • It is the longest-lasting natural fibre that has ever been discovered by humans and is the strongest. 
  • It’s natural brilliance and lovely draping
  • Compared to cotton or polyester, it releases stains far more easily.
  • It dries quickly. 
  • It is among the market’s most environmentally friendly textiles.

You can dye linen to get a range of colours. Linens made of ecru, white, and ivory can be laundered at an amazing 95 degrees. Depending on the fabric, coloured linens can be washed at 30 to 60 degrees. 

Cotton: The Versatile Choice

Cotton is a more affordable material; polyester or poly-cotton are even less expensive. Linen is by far the best material for an opulent table arrangement. Cotton is a beautiful fabric as well, but the two biggest arguments in favour of buying linen for your table linens are that cotton stains far more easily and lacks the drape of linen, two crucial qualities of excellent table linens.

Cotton table linens are a versatile and popular choice. They are soft, durable, and easy to maintain, making them perfect for daily use. Our cotton linens are woven to perfection, offering both comfort and longevity.

Seersucker Cotton

Slack-tension weaving gives cotton fabric known as “seersucker” its distinctive puckered appearance. Yarns are gathered together in the weave to give the appearance of wrinkles, which disappear after washing. This fabric is excellent for daily use because it is low maintenance and easy to maintain.


Polycotton combines the qualities of cotton with polyester to create a blend called polycotton that is both durable and high-quality. 

Linen: Unparalleled Elegance

Linen table linens exude unparalleled elegance. They provide a crisp, natural texture that is both luxurious and breathable. Linen linens are often chosen for their ability to create a stylish and effortless table setting.

Jacquard Linen

Rather than being printed on, intricate and detailed pattern work is frequently woven into jacquard fabric. The cloth is smooth to the touch but is sturdy and holds its shape.

Damask Linen

Damask linen, which has long been associated with elegance, is prized for its rich weave, complex pattern work, and glossy finish. Because of the reversible nature of the weave, the fabric is made to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing without sacrificing either quality or look. For extra elegance, the motif is frequently woven in satin onto a sateen or weft-faced background.

What distinguishes Double Damask from Singe Damask?

It’s a frequent misconception that double damask is the only reversible fabric and that its quality is “double” that of its single counterpart. This is untrue.

“Single” and “double” only relate to the method of weaving. While double damask linen is woven using a combination of long and short fibres, single damask linen is made from a yarn that combines significantly longer and finer fibres. Additionally, the warp thread count in double damask linen is lower than the weft thread count, meaning that threads are passed under one warp thread at a time rather than across seven warp threads. This indicates that a more costly manufacturing procedure is used to create a fabric with a higher thread count and significantly greater density.

Regardless of your fabric preference, you can trust our linens to be of the highest quality, thanks to our enduring legacy of excellence.

Understanding Table Linen Sizes and Measurements

Selecting the right size of table linens is critical to achieving an impeccable table setting.

Sizing Essentials

The first step in selecting the right size is to measure your table accurately. We provide an in-depth guide on how to measure your table’s dimensions, ensuring that your linens fit flawlessly, regardless of the table’s shape or size.

Versatile Fit

Our table linens are designed to adapt to various table sizes. We offer a range of sizes, from small intimate tables to grand banquet tables, ensuring that you can find the perfect fit for your setting.


Tablecloths should drop between 25 and 50 centimetres to cover the whole surface of your table. They may also be floor length, though this is best reserved for more formal occasions. 

Remember that the majority of linen textiles are produced at a width of about 150 cm. If your table is quite large, you might need to find a merchant who carries wide-width linen or has the tablecloth sewn together. To create tablecloths with a wide diameter or breadth, we have various W300cm linens. Any length can be achieved. 

Cocktail Napkins

Either rectangle or square. They are usually folded in half when they are rectangular. The most popular sizes are 15 by 15 cm or 15 by 22 cm. Another common size is 25×25 cm, which is usually folded into four pieces.

Luncheon napkins are typically 36–42 cm square, smaller than dinner napkins, and are used on a lap fully unfurled (unlike a standard dinner napkin).

The most opulent size of dinner napkin is 60 by 60 cm, but we do offer ip to 65 by 65 cm too.

Dinner Napkins

Typically, dinner napkins measure 45 by 45 cm to 55 by 55 cm. However, the size is a matter of taste and ought to be appropriate for contemporary furniture. Take a look at the section below on design aspects.

Linen placemats

Traditionally, linen placemats measure about W50 x L35 cm and are rectangular. These days, scalloped-shaped and other decorative linen placemats are very popular.


12 to 16 cm in diameter or as a square. 

Table Linen Size Guides

To ensure you get the right tablecloth and runner for every table you want to decorate, please refer to our size guide. It is crucial to order the correct size to finish the look, regardless of whether you are going for a luxurious design or a traditional, plain table setting.

A normal table’s height is 30″. Table edge down is used to calculate drop measures. We suggest that you choose the drop length you need after determining the size of your table.

6 seater36” x 72”90 x 180180 x 27570” x 108”7 piece set – cloth & 6 napkins with a 17” (45cm) drop on all sides 
8 seater36” x 84”90 x 213180 x 30570” x 120”9 piece set – cloth & 8 napkins with a 17” (45cm) drop on all sides
10 seater36” x 108”90 x 275180 x 36570” x 144”11 piece set – cloth & 10 napkins with a 17” (45cm) drop on all sides

Round Table Size Guide

Calculate the drop of your runner for round tables by subtracting the runner’s length from the table’s diameter. After this subtraction, divide the result by two. For example, if you have a 120 cm runner across a 183 cm (72″) table, the drop will be 183 – 120 = 63 cm, and then 63/2 = 31.5 cm.

Square, Rectangle, and Banquet Table Size Guide

Calculate the drop of your runner for square tables by deducting the length of your runner from the length (or width, if preferred) of your table. After this deduction, divide the result by two. For example, if you have a 122 cm runner placed lengthwise on a 183 cm x 76 cm table, the drop will be 122 – 183 = 61 cm, and then 61/2 = 30.5 cm.

Consider the Drop of the Tablecloth

The ‘drop’ of the tablecloth is the next aspect to consider. Tablecloths are available in various drops, ranging from 23 cm to 74 cm. The amount of fabric that drapes down from the table and covers the undercarriage and table legs is referred to as the drop on a tablecloth. Many individuals prefer a longer drop because it can give a more elegant and luxurious appearance. As a result, the larger the tablecloth, the larger the drop, and the smaller the table. However, it’s important to note that not all tablecloths are created equal.

Table Linen Proportions & Design Elements


When choosing tablecloths, take the occasion’s intended vibe into account. A traditional tablecloth made of pristine white linen is ideal for a formal supper. However, this would look out of place in some settings, like an outdoor family BBQ.

A tablecloth with colour or pattern, like gingham, is ideal for casual settings. If you’re drawn to the refined look of a white linen tablecloth but would rather have a more casual vibe, think about adding scallops or ruffles. When you style your table with modern glassware, textural accents like rattan, and loosely arranged flowers, traditional white linens with a classic border can feel less formal. This will give a white tablecloth an entirely different, more modern feel.

Proportion plays a key role in selecting the appropriate tablecloth size. A tablecloth with a 50cm drop and a very large dinner napkin that is 55cm folded will probably feel out of proportion on an 80cm broad table. On the other hand, linen with a broader drop and serviette size would work well on a 140 cm wide table in a large house. The most popular drop size is between 30 and 40 centimetres. Make sure to find out if the tablecloth you are purchasing has already been washed or if there will be shrinkage with only one wash (which is normal for linen). A shrinkage of 3–10% is possible. If you’re unsure, ask your supplier; this is especially important if you’re purchasing a large tablecloth.  


Round or rectangular, cotton or natural linen? 

In terms of shape, we would usually choose round or “rounded” placemats, like a Scallop pattern, if your table is oval or circular. Round placemats contrast nicely with the straight lines of rectangular tables, while rectangular placemats will provide plenty of room for cutlery to rest. Make the right choice for you.

Placemats made of regular linen are potential heirlooms and are not as difficult to keep as some people think; they iron easily and can be washed at high temperatures to get rid of stains.


The larger the napkin, the more formal the setting feels, though this is all dependent on the design. When choosing the size, take your typical guest count and the occasion into consideration. 55 to 65 centimetres square is our ideal size for any situation.

Table Runners

These may stop short of your table or extend past it. Choose a shorter table runner if you prefer to seat guests at the head of the table. A table that is falling over can make a shorter table appear longer and have a striking visual effect.

Table Linen Colour and Pattern Options for Different Occasions

The choice of colour and pattern can significantly impact the ambience of your dining experience.

Setting the Tone with Colour

Different colours evoke different moods. We provide suggestions on selecting the right colour for your occasion, from calming neutrals to bold, festive hues.

A simple white linen is always a good choice, in our opinion. Perfect for both professional and informal situations, they are incredibly easy to design and a must-have for any linen cupboard.  They are more likely to stain but keep in mind that linen is less likely to stain than cotton—as was already noted. Turmeric-containing dishes and meals with a lot of oil should not be served on white linens because these stains are very difficult to remove. If you soak the linens in cold water as quickly as possible, wash them at a high temperature, and use a stain remover (diluted white vinegar works well for stains), the red wine, tomato, and gravy will all turn out perfectly. Be aware of any guests’ lipsticks that might be unusually stained.

If you are concerned about bright white, natural linens are an excellent substitute for classic, seasonless linens.

The look of coloured napkins is more contemporary. Naturally, if you are worried about stains, dark napkins are a great way to cover them up. 

Having a variety of seasonal, basic (white or natural), and “fun” hues in your table linen collection can encourage creativity and work for any type of gathering. In the end, though, be truthful about the times you will and won’t use them, and take that into account when making decisions. Rather than buying what you believe to be popular, invest in coloured linens that you truly adore. 

Patterns for Personality

Patterns add character to your table setting. We showcase an array of patterns, from corded, hem stitch to appliqué hand embroidered.

Our diverse range of table linens ensures that you can effortlessly match colours and patterns to the ambience you desire.


The acronym for grammes per square metre is GSM. Knowing how much linen weighs is useful. Lightweight linen weighs between 30 and 150 grammes; medium-weight linen weighs 250 grammes or more; and heavyweight linen weighs more than that. While heavyweight linen works well for upholstery, it is not advised for use as home linen. The ideal weight may depend on personal preference.

Similar to thread counts for bed linen, a greater gsm does not always equate to a higher quality fabric because it says nothing about the calibre of the weavers, the finishing methods, or the quality of the linen fibres. 

Table Linen Care and Maintenance Tips

Maintaining the condition of your table linens requires regular washing and upkeep. Whether you use your linen for special events or daily, keeping it in good condition requires proper washing, ironing, and storage.

Table linens are frequently labelled individually with care instructions. If you can’t find a label, you can still prevent degradation by hand washing your linens in warm water or using a mild, cool cycle in the washing machine. Ensure that all detergent is removed, and refrain from using fabric softener as it may result in discolouration.

Proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure that your table linens remain pristine and long-lasting.

When ironing your table linens, use caution. Make use of an ironing board with a smooth, heat-reflective cover and substantial padding. Make sure your linen is just a little bit damp, then press until it’s smooth and wrinkle-free. Hang the linen and let it air dry; do not iron it until it is entirely dry. After ironing, avoid folding away and storing right away since this can cause creasing. They must be spread out evenly over a sizable surface to dry entirely.

If you plan to keep your linens for extended periods, keep them in a drawer or cabinet that is cool, dry, and well-ventilated. 

Extending Linen Lifespan

Our high-quality linens are designed to withstand the test of time, but they still require proper care. We provide step-by-step instructions on washing and maintaining your linens to keep them in perfect condition.

Stain-Resistant and Durable

We take pride in crafting linens that are not only luxurious but also practical. We offer a comprehensive washing guide when buying our linens.

Styling Tips for Setting the Table with Table Linens

Arranging your table linens skillfully can make a world of difference in your dining experience.

Expert Table-Setting Tips

We offer expert tips for setting your table with our linens to achieve an elegant and inviting atmosphere. From folding napkins to arranging place settings, we cover every detail.

Aesthetic Enhancements

Our linens are more than just practical; they’re also designed to enhance the aesthetics of your table. We inspire combining linens, flatware, and decor to create a visually stunning tables.

DIY Table Linen Projects to Personalise Your Dining Experience

Unleash your creativity with DIY projects that allow you to personalise your table linens.

Make It Your Own

Our linens can serve as the perfect canvas for your creativity. Tablescaping is the new artform, from hand-painted designs to monogramming, allowing you to add a unique touch to your dining experience.

Elevate with Personal Touches

Personalised linens are not only visually appealing but also meaningful. They add a special, unique element to your table, making your dining experience even more memorable.

Conclusion: Elevate Your Dining Experience with the Perfect Table Linens

As we conclude this essential Table Linen Guide, we want to emphasise that table linens are more than just practical accessories; they are key players in creating memorable dining experiences.

The choice of style, fabric, colour, and pattern can set the tone for any meal, from casual family dinners to grand celebrations. Proper care ensures your linens remain pristine, and an expert table setting adds a touch of elegance that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.

At our esteemed establishment, crafting fine linens since 1852, we take pride in offering a selection of table linens that have stood the test of time. We invite you to explore our collection, either online, or talk to us to discover the linens that will elevate your dining experiences to new heights.

Let us be a part of your journey in creating unforgettable moments around the dining table. Your trust in us is an honour, and we look forward to serving you with the finest linens that define our legacy.

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