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Decorative tablecloth
Table with tablecloth, 1657
Blackboard with damask tablecloth
Lord's Supper scene with tablecloth
Oilcloth tablecloths sold by the meter

A tablecloth (also tablecloth ) is table linen that is adapted to the shape of the table and made from textiles or plastic . The middle ceiling , also known as the deck napkin or decker , only covers the middle part of a table, known in French as a napperon . Middle covers are square and are placed alone or over the actual tablecloth - diagonally or parallel to the edge of the table.


The use of a tablecloth can serve one or more purposes, e.g. B .:

  • Protection of a sensitive table surface from dirt or damage.
  • Covering an optically unsightly table surface.
  • as part of the table decoration, because a beautiful table set for the occasion is an important part of hospitality .
  • to facilitate cleaning and ensure hygiene (for example in restaurants ).

Placing middle ceilings offers various advantages:

  • a nicer look of the table through color contrasts or tone-on-tone combinations with the tablecloth
  • Smaller stains on the tablecloth can be covered, which means lower cleaning costs than tablecloths
  • Seams and overlaps of the tablecloths can be covered
  • lower acquisition costs compared to tablecloths
  • faster replacement compared to replacing the tablecloth, saves time and money.

Variants and accessories

Usually a tablecloth should completely cover the table and hang over 25 to 30 cm. Suitable tablecloths are available in stores for different sizes and shapes of tables (round, oval, rectangular). It is possible to protect a valuable tablecloth with a transparent PVC tablecloth.

There are numerous variants and accessories, for example:

  • The table runner , which can replace the tablecloth, and only cover an elongated middle part of the table
  • The Skirting complement the tablecloth to the complete occlusion of the side portions of a table
  • The table clamp or weights for attaching the tablecloth z. B. against gusts of wind


Tablecloths are made from different materials. Examples:

  • Textiles like
  • Paper , often for one-time use, sometimes with admixtures or plastic coatings
  • PVC and other plastics

Web links

Commons : Tablecloths  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: tablecloth  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: tablecloth  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • Set the table for articles at

Individual evidence

  1. The envelope The perfectly laid table EXAM PREPARATION FOR HOSPITALITY PROFESSIONS. Europe teaching materials , accessed March 31, 2019 .