Tables and table linen

22nd October 2015

We often get asked how many people can sit at a table and what size of table linen is best.

In broad terms, round tables take a maximum of twice their width – so a 3ft round takes up to 6 people, a 4ft up to 8, a 5ft up to 10 and a 6ft up to 12.  Often, event organisers prefer to go 1 or 2 less than that for a bit for elbow room, but these maximum numbers are not a squeeze and you shouldn’t be afraid to go with them if space or tables area a bit tight.

Rectangle tables will take 4 people on a 6ft length, giving an 18″ place setting per person but here it is worth considering having 3 per side and a 2ft per person, especially if you’ve got side plates and the like.  If you can put someone at each short end, you will be able to seat a maximum of 10 people.  If you have a tricky, interesting size space, then consider T formations, a U shape or a combination of 6ft and 4ft lengths.

As to cloths, the size depends on the drop around the table that you require.  For right to the floor, a 6ft round table needs 132″ round cloth and a 6ft rectangle need 144 x 70″.  The most commonly ordered size though is 120″ round for 6ft round, meaning the cloth will stop 6″ off the floor which both looks nice and is a bit less cumbersome in some settings.  For a 6ft rectangle that old stalwart the 108″ x 70″ is the top hire giving a 12″ gap to the floor.

And why the industry nearly always discusses tables and cloths in feet and inches and most other things in metric measurements is just a bit of legacy.