A table runner is an elegant and stylish way to dress up any dining table for special occasions or everyday use. Choosing the properly sized table runner is key not just for appearances but also for optimal functionality. The right size runner should fit your table shape, allow for a nice overhang, and balance beautifully with your place settings and decor.
This comprehensive guide provides tips on measuring your dining table, determining the ideal runner size, style and placement for your space, shopping recommendations, and advantages of using well-fitting runners. With these table runner sizing tips, you'll be able to adorn your dining table with a gorgeous runner scaled to enhance your tablescape.
What Exactly is a Table Runner?
A table runner is an elongated piece of fabric that runs horizontally along the length of a dining room table, buffet table, or other surfaces. Table runners serve the dual purpose of protecting the table while also providing decorative flair. Typically made of materials like cotton, linen, burlap, felt, lace, velvet, wool or polyester blends, table runners come in a variety of colors, patterns, textures and sizes.
Table runners are designed to accentuate the linear shape of a table. Their slim, narrow shape allows them to fit in the center of a table without taking up too much surface area. They are used to infuse visual interest, color, and texture to tie together a table setting. Table runners can establish an elegant ambiance for formal dining with sheen fabrics like satin or velvet. For everyday dining, cotton and linen runners add a casual homespun style.
Why Size Matters with Table Runners
With table runners, size is definitely important for both aesthetics and practical functionality. Here's why:
- Proportion - A table runner should complement the whole table's shape and scale. An oversized runner can overwhelm a delicate table, while an undersized runner gets dwarfed on a large surface.
- Functionality - The right size provides enough overhang on the ends to protect the table edges fully while not affecting seating capacity or use of the surface.
- Fit - The runner dimensions should follow the outline of the table, whether oval, round, square or rectangular.
- Balance - Runner size should align with other elements like place settings and centerpieces without competing or clashing visually.
- Drape & Overhang - An appropriate amount of overhang allows the runner fabric to gracefully drape on round and oval tables.
Getting your table runner size right results in a polished, put-together tablescape!
Standard Dimensions for Table Runners
The most common dining table shapes used with runners are:
Here are some standard size recommendations for table runners based on the table shape and dimensions:
Rectangle Table Runners
For rectangular dining tables, choose a runner about two-thirds the length of the table or up to 18 inches less than the full length. This provides a suitable overhang of 8-12 inches on each end.
- 6 ft rectangular table - 40-54 inch runner
- 7 ft rectangular table - 52-70 inch runner
- 8 ft rectangular table - 60-90 inch runner
Square Table Runners
For square dining tables, pick a runner about 4-12 inches less than the length of each side. This allows for balanced overhang on all sides, ranging from 6-12 inches.
- 42 inch square table - 30-38 inch runner
- 48 inch square table - 36-42 inch runner
- 60 inch square table - 48-54 inch runner
Round Table Runners
For a round table, first measure the diameter across the widest point. Then add about 20-30 inches total to calculate the runner length. This provides ample fabric to drape nicely around the curved edges.
- 36 inch diameter - 56-66 inch runner
- 42 inch diameter - 62-72 inch runner
- 48 inch diameter - 68-78 inch runner
Oval Table Runners
Oval tables can handle varying runner dimensions. A good guideline is to add 12-18 inches more than the maximum length for suitable overhang on oval tables.
- 42 x 60 inch oval - 72-78 inch runner
- 48 x 72 inch oval - 84-90 inch runner
- 54 x 78 inch oval - 96-102 inch runner
Key Factors Influencing Runner Size
While the table dimensions are the starting point, several other factors affect the ideal runner size:
- Formality - More formal table settings warrant larger runners with more overhang - up to 18 inches. Casual tables can get by with less overhang.
- Shape - The runner silhouette should mirror the table shape - round for round tables, oval for ovals.
- Placement - Centered runners need less overhang than asymmetric placements set at an angle.
- Scale - Larger tables and bolder styles accommodate more overhang, while small delicate tables need less.
- Capacity - Plan for more overhang if seating larger groups to allow functionality.
- Extensions - Account for added leaves or inserts that increase table length.
- Tableware - Measure place settings, centerpieces and decor already on the table.
Measuring Your Table Accurately
To find the perfect runner fit, start by carefully measuring your dining table. Follow these tips:
- Use a flexible cloth tape measure that can bend easily around curves and corners.
- For rectangles, measure length and width across center of table horizontally and vertically.
- For rounds, wrap measuring tape around perimeter to get diameter or circumference.
- For ovals, measure both the longest and widest spans.
- Double check measurements from different angles to ensure accuracy.
- Record dimensions precisely - every inch impacts proper fit. Don't estimate.
- Account for leaves or added inserts that extend table length when added.
- Note place settings or table decor taking up existing surface area.
Precise measurements are crucial for determining ideal runner size and shopping for one that will fit your dining table perfectly!
Choosing the Correct Table Runner Size
Once you have your exact table measurements, follow these tips for picking the right sized runner:
- Refer to the standard size charts earlier for your table shape as a starting point.
- For rectangles, choose a runner about two-thirds as long as the table itself.
- Allow for 8-12 inches of overhang on rectangle table ends, up to 18 inches for formal settings.
- Square runners should be 4-12 inches less than the table sides depending on overhang desired.
- For rounds, calculate diameter then add 20-30 inches to determine runner length based on overhang wanted.
- Add 12-18 inches to the maximum oval length when sizing oval runners.
- Centered runners need less overhang than angled or offset placements.
- Scale overhang to table size - more for larger tables, less for smaller intimate settings.
- View runner samples on table mockups to visualize proportions.
Tips for Measuring & Buying
Use these handy tips when shopping for and selecting your table runner:
- Measure twice for accuracy - tables may not be perfectly symmetrical.
- Note both length and width spans for oval tables.
- Account for added table leaves which increase length.
- Buy both tablecloth and runner together for coordinated sizes.
- Purchase slightly longer size to allow for shrinkage after washing.
- Natural fabrics like linen and cotton shrink more than polyester.
- Order a couple different sizes if uncertain to compare at home.
- Save your table measurements for quick reference later.
Benefits of Properly Size Table Runners
Using a properly sized and well-fitting table runner offers numerous advantages:
- Provides balanced proportions that complement the table size and shape
- Allows the ideal amount of overhang for protection and style
- Fits the table shape whether oval, round, square or rectangular
- Enhances aesthetics with cohesive fabric color, texture, and drape
- Makes a polished statement as part of an overall table setting
- Defines the shape of the table with a narrow runner
Take the time to measure your dining table, evaluate your decor and seating needs, and shop for that picture-perfect table runner size to elegantly accent your space!
Common Table Runner Lengths
While runners come in endless sizes, here are some of the most common lengths available:
- 13 inches - mini runners for buffet tables, narrow consoles
- 17 inches - candle runner strips, skinny tables
- 20-30 inches - small café or bistro tables
- 36 inches - petite accent tables, vanities
- 40-54 inches - average rectangular dining tables
- 60-72 inches - standard rectangular tables, medium round
- 90-120 inches - very long farmhouse style tables
- 120-144 inches - oversized banquet tables, special events
Table Runner Placement Styles
Beyond centering a runner, consider these placement options:
- Diagonal - placed corner to corner across rectangle tables
- Offset - positioned to one side of a rectangle table
- Spanned - runner crossed across wide and narrow spans of oval table
- Double or triple - using more than one runner on a long banquet table
- Layered - combining different lengths of runners for dimension
- Curving - rounding a rectangular runner on a round tablex
Whether dressing up your dining table for holiday meals or adding a touch of everyday elegance, a beautiful table runner can set the perfect stage. Paying attention to proper sizing based on your specific table size, shape and decor ensures your runner fits flawlessly. Ample overhang protects surfaces while balanced proportions complement your place settings.
With this comprehensive table runner sizing guide's tips for measuring, calculating dimensions, and shopping for runners, you'll find the perfect runner to elegantly accent your dining space. Sized just right, your table runner will be both beautiful and functional.