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August 4, 2021

Using Tablecloths as Overlays

Overlays are pieces of fabric that sit on top of tablecloths for additional bursts of color and texture to dress up your table setting.  Traditionally, overlays are solely square in shape allowing for them to be used on standard round or rectangular banquet tables without hiding the base tablecloth. If you’re looking for something a bit more out of the ordinary for your tables, switch things up with smaller rectangular or round tablecloths as your overlays.  

Round Tablecloth Overlays

Due to the nature of the tablecloth shape, we highly recommend only using round overlays on round tables. If you’re working with cornered tables, skip down to the “Rectangular Tablecloth Overlays” section below. 

Using the same shape overlay as your base tablecloth can be a great way to reuse linen. Change the top or use the top and bottom portions by themselves. Same linen, new table. Make the base something simple like a standard round polyester tablecloth. Then, spice it up with a different color and material “overlay”.  The most popular combination is our polyester tablecloths as a base with classic satin over-top. Find a break down for standard sizing recommendations below. These work no matter the material you choose! 

Table SizeTablecloth BaseSuggested Overlay SizeDrop
48 in. Round108 in. Round90 in. Round21 in. Drop
60 in. Round120 in. Round90 in. Round15 in. Drop
72 in. Round132 in. Round108 in. Round18 in. Drop

Remember, you don’t have to use the suggestions above.  Smaller tablecloths will allow you to see more of the base table while with larger ones you’ll see less. Use the drop formula below to figure out sizing for any table linen! 

Tablecloth Size – Table Size / 2

For example, on our 60 in. round table, we used a 90 in. round linen. 90-60=30 in. Divide that by 2 and you’ll get the final drop of 15 in. This is considered a half drop on your table, meaning you’ll see about 15 in. of your base tablecloth under the overlay. 

 Rectangular Table Overlays

Rectangular tables are a bit easier to work with since sizing options decrease.  Most event tables will be either 6 or 8 ft. long. That said, with less sizes, the overlay materials are just as fabulous.  Regal Jacquard, elegant damask, classic satin, or something more fun like our checkered tablecloths are all great choices. Again, polyester as a base is the most common and we recommend using that with more premium styles on top.

Rectangular tablecloths generally only offer two options on standard event tables: half or full drop.  If using the same shape tablecloth as an overlay, you’ll need a full length tablecloth as your base. Glance down for the exact sizing on standard 6 ft. and 8 ft. tables.  

6 ft. Rectangular Banquet Tables:

90 x 132 in. Rectangular Tablecloth – Full Drop Base

60 x 102 in. Rectangular Tablecloth – Half Drop as Overlay

8 ft. Rectangular Banquet Tables:

90 x 156 in. Rectangular Tablecloth – Full Drop Base

60 x 126 in. Rectangular Tablecloth – Half Drop as Overlay


Don’t be afraid to multi-purpose your table linens and think outside the box. They can be used in a variety of different applications as we’ve shown here. Add that touch of elegance and splash of color to make your event beautifully unique.

Round and Rectangular Tablecloth Overlays not what you were expecting? Browse our full selection of marvelous standard Square Overlays in three sizes. Click here to be redirected. Make sure to also check out our awesome mix of 14 x 108 in. Table Runners; perfect for when using tablecloths that provide a half drop on your table. 

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