Restaurants Guide to Tablecloths

For restaurants, attention to detail is crucial in creating a memorable dining experience for your customers. From the food and service to the ambience and decor, every element contributes to the overall impression and satisfaction of your customers. One often overlooked but essential aspect is the choice of tablecloths. Tablecloths not only serve the practical purpose of protecting your tables but also play a significant role in setting the mood, style, and comfort of your restaurant. In this guide, we will delve into the world of tablecloths and provide you with valuable insights on how to choose the perfect tablecloths for your restaurant.

Should you require further assistance in finding the perfect tablecloth for your restaurant, we’d be happy to help. Please contact us.



The material of the tablecloth is essential in determining its look, feel, and durability. Here is a more in-depth look at common materials used for restaurant tablecloths and their benefits, advantages, disadvantages, and considerations for restaurants:


Cotton is a natural, breathable fabric known for its softness and natural appearance. It offers a warm and inviting ambience, making it ideal for fine dining or casual restaurants. However, cotton tablecloths (such as our cornice tablecloths) require more care and maintenance than synthetic materials, as they are prone to wrinkling and may need more frequent laundering.


Polyester is a synthetic material known for its durability, stain resistance, and easy maintenance. It is suitable for high-traffic areas or outdoor dining, where spillage and frequent cleaning may occur. Historically many polyester tablecloths would not offer the same natural appearance and softness as cotton but products such as our Revolutionary Cotton Feel Amalfi tablecloths offer the best of both worlds. Made from man-made polyester, but with the look and feel of cotton, it has become the most popular table linen in the British restaurant industry. 



Linen, like cotton, is a natural fabric known for its luxurious texture and elegant appearance. It is highly absorbent and has a natural resistance to stains. However, linen tablecloths may wrinkle easily and require ironing, which can be time-consuming and labour-intensive.



Vinyl is another synthetic material that is waterproof, stain-resistant, and easy to clean. It is suitable for outdoor or casual dining settings. However, vinyl tablecloths may not provide the same level of comfort and luxury as natural fabrics, and they may not be available in the Richard Haworth collection. When considering vinyl, weigh the benefits of easy maintenance against the potential drawbacks of a less luxurious feel.


Colour and Design

The colour and design of tablecloths can significantly influence the overall ambience and aesthetics of your restaurant, affecting the dining experience for your guests.

Neutral Colours

White, beige, and grey are timeless and versatile, suitable for various restaurant styles. Employing these colours creates a clean, elegant, and sophisticated look that easily complements a wide range of interior designs. However, neutral colours may require more frequent cleaning, as stains and spills are more visible on lighter hues.

Bold Colours

Incorporating bold colours like red, blue, and green into your tablecloths can add vibrancy, personality, and character to your restaurant. They can help make a statement or match a specific theme, providing a memorable and unique dining experience for guests. On the other hand, bold colours may not suit every interior design, and choosing the right shade to complement your restaurant's decor can be a challenging task. Our Richard Haworth Revolutionary Cotton Feel Amalfi tablecloths are available in a choice of 31 stunning colours to help you set the right tone for your restaurant.

Patterns and Designs

Opting for tablecloths with floral, geometric, or abstract patterns can add visual interest and complement your restaurant's decor, creating a more engaging and dynamic atmosphere. However, it is essential to select patterns that align with your restaurant's theme and style, as overly intricate or clashing designs may detract from the overall dining experience. Patterned designs can also date quicker than plain colours meaning you will need to replace them much quicker to keep the restaurant looking modern for customers. 


Standard Table Heights

Consider the standard table heights and the corresponding tablecloth drop for an aesthetically pleasing appearance and practical functionality:

30-inch (75 cm) high table: 12-inch (30 cm) drop on each side
A 12-inch (30 cm) drop for a 30-inch (30 cm) high table provides a balanced look without obstructing guests' seating. This drop length ensures that the tablecloth does not touch the floor or become easily soiled.

36-inch (90 cm)high table: 15-inch (38 cm) drop on each side
For 36-inch (90 cm) high tables, a 15-inch (38 cm) drop offers an elegant appearance while still providing ample coverage. This drop length is suitable for more formal settings or restaurants aiming to create a sophisticated ambience.


42-inch (107 cm) high table: 18-inch (45 cm) drop on each side
An 18-inch (45 cm) drop on a 42-inch (107 cm)  high table creates a luxurious and upscale look. This drop length is ideal for fine dining establishments or exclusive events where a refined atmosphere is desired.


If using table skirts, add 6 inches to the tablecloth length to ensure it hangs down far enough. This extra length allows the tablecloth to drape over the table skirt, providing a polished and professional appearance.


Durability & Maintenance

Durability is a crucial factor for restaurant tablecloths, as they are subject to frequent use, spills, stains, and laundering. High-quality materials with good stitching and hemming can withstand the rigours of daily use, ultimately saving you money in the long run. For example, the Richard Haworth Amalfi tablecloth is made from a polyester-cotton blend, offering both the softness of cotton and the resilience of polyester. This combination ensures a longer-lasting tablecloth that maintains its appearance and integrity even after multiple washes.

Choosing tablecloths that are easy to clean and maintain can help reduce the workload and cost of upkeep. Vinyl and polyester tablecloths can be wiped clean with a damp cloth, making them a practical choice for busy or outdoor dining settings. However, cotton and linen tablecloths usually require laundering, which can add to your operational costs and effort.



When laundering cotton, linen, and polyester-blend tablecloths, it's essential to follow the wash care instructions. Most can be machine washed, but some may require hand-washing or dry cleaning. The Richard Haworth Amalfi tablecloth is machine washable up to 90 degrees, making it a convenient option for busy restaurants that need to maintain a clean and polished appearance.


Cotton and linen tablecloths are prone to wrinkling, necessitating ironing to maintain their crisp and elegant appearance. While ironing can be time-consuming, it is a necessary step to ensure your table setting looks pristine and professional. The man-made polyester of our Amalfi tablecloths requires minimal ironing, but is still recommended to keep your tablecloths looking crisp. Top tip: always iron tablecloths slightly damp to make it to easier remove any creases from the wash process. 


Stain Removal

To preserve the pristine appearance of your tablecloths, it's essential to address stains promptly. Using spot treatments or pre-treating stains before washing can help to remove stubborn marks and prolong the lifespan of your tablecloths. The polyester-cotton blend in the Richard Haworth Amalfi tablecloth aids in stain resistance, simplifying the process of keeping your table setting immaculate.



The cost of tablecloths can be a significant consideration for restaurateurs, as it directly impacts the overall budget and profitability of the establishment. Factors affecting the cost of tablecloths include the material, size, design, and customisation. Each material comes with its own set of benefits, advantages, disadvantages, and considerations, which must be weighed against their respective costs to make an informed decision.

Cotton and linen tablecloths, for instance, offer a luxurious and natural look, but they can be more expensive than synthetic options. Additionally, they require more care and maintenance, which can increase ongoing costs. Polyester tablecloths, on the other hand, are more affordable and easier to maintain. They may not have the same level of softness and natural appearance as cotton or linen but can be a more cost-effective choice, particularly for high-traffic areas or outdoor dining.

The Richard Haworth Amalfi tablecloth offers a balance between quality and cost. It is made from a polyester-cotton blend, providing the benefits of both natural and synthetic materials. The softness and natural appearance of cotton are complemented by the durability and stain resistance of polyester, resulting in a high-quality tablecloth at a reasonable price. This combination allows restaurateurs to create an inviting atmosphere without incurring excessive costs or maintenance efforts.


In conclusion, choosing the right tablecloths for your restaurant involves careful consideration of various factors such as materials, size and shape, colour and design, durability, maintenance, and cost. Each material offers unique benefits, advantages, disadvantages, and considerations, and it is essential to weigh these against your restaurant's specific needs and budget constraints.

The Richard Haworth Amalfi tablecloth is a great option for those seeking a balance between quality and affordability, as it combines the natural appeal of cotton with the durability and stain resistance of polyester. This versatile tablecloth can enhance the dining experience for your customers while offering easy maintenance and long-lasting performance.

As you make your decision, remember that the tablecloth you choose will significantly impact your restaurant's overall ambience, aesthetics, and customer experience. For additional assistance in selecting the perfect tablecloths for your establishment, don't hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts. We are more than happy to provide personalised guidance and support to ensure that your restaurant's table settings are both visually appealing and functionally suited to your needs.


Frequently Asked Questions by Restaurant Owners on Buying Tablecloths


Q: How do I choose the right material for my restaurant's tablecloths?

A: When selecting the material for your tablecloths, consider factors such as durability, maintenance, aesthetics, and cost. Natural fabrics like cotton and linen provide a luxurious feel and elegant appearance, while synthetic materials like polyester and vinyl offer increased durability, stain resistance, and easier maintenance. 

Q: How do I select the best colour and design for my tablecloths?

A: The colour and design of your tablecloths should align with your restaurant's overall ambience and decor. Neutral colours such as white, beige, and grey create an elegant and timeless look, while bold colours like red, blue, and green can add vibrancy and personality. Patterns and designs can also enhance the visual interest and complement your restaurant's theme. If you’re unsure, Richard Haworth offers a swatch service so you can review colours before purchasing.

Q: How can I ensure the durability of my tablecloths?

A: To ensure the durability of your tablecloths, always follow the wash care instructions when laundering and opt for high-quality materials with good stitching and hemming. Materials, like polyester, are more durable and resistant to stains than natural fabrics, making them suitable for high-traffic or outdoor dining areas.


Q: What maintenance is required for different tablecloth materials?


A: Maintenance varies depending on the material. Vinyl and polyester tablecloths can be wiped clean with a damp cloth, while cotton and linen tablecloths usually require laundering. Cotton and linen tablecloths are prone to wrinkling and may require ironing, and stain removal may involve spot treatment or pre-treating stains before washing.

Q: How can I determine the right budget for my restaurant's tablecloths?

A: To determine the right budget for your tablecloths, consider factors such as the number of tables, frequency of tablecloth changes, material, and desired aesthetic. Keep in mind that investing in high-quality tablecloths can enhance your restaurant's appearance and customer experience. Weigh the benefits of more expensive materials and customisations against your overall budget to find a balance between cost and quality.

Q: Are there any cost-effective materials that still provide a good appearance and durability?

A: Yes, materials like polyester and blended fabrics, such as cotton-polyester blends, can provide a balance between cost and performance. These materials offer increased durability, stain resistance, and easier maintenance compared to natural fabrics, while still providing an attractive appearance for your restaurant.

Q: How can I save on tablecloth costs without compromising quality?

A: To save on tablecloth costs without compromising quality, consider the following strategies:

Buy in bulk: Purchasing tablecloths in larger quantities may result in discounts or reduced per-unit costs. Choose versatile designs and colours: Selecting tablecloths that can be used for multiple occasions or events can help you save on purchasing additional sets.
Opt for blended materials: Blended materials like cotton-polyester blends can offer the benefits of both natural and synthetic fabrics, while generally being more cost-effective than 100% natural materials.

Proper maintenance: Taking good care of your tablecloths, including following laundering and stain removal guidelines, can extend their lifespan and reduce the need for frequent replacements.