Table runners can make a decorative statement on your dining table. They can celebrate special occasions, changing seasons, or brighten up the dining area. But, how big should they be? What is the standard table runner size?
Standard lengths for table runners vary from 36 to 108 inches. Widths can also differ and are usually between 10 to 15 inches. The standard width is a third of your table’s width. An overhang of no more than 6 inches on each end can add a decorative effect.
Adding a table runner to your décor adds a pop of color and individuality. Read on to find out what size will work best for your space.
What Is the Standard Size of a Table Runner?
The standard size of a table runner can vary. Purchased table runners can range from 36 to 108 inches in length and 10 to 15 inches in width. The reason for the difference is because tables are designed to fit a diverse selection of rooms. As such, they need to come in a variety of lengths and widths.
Tables also come in a variety of styles, including drop-leaf tables or extendable ones. Having a table that can change size affects how many inches wide or long your table runner needs to be. Even a round table can come in many diameters, leading to a broad selection when it comes to the size of a table runner.
The design of the table runner itself can also have an impact on the size of the runner. An overhang is normally expected to hang over the edge of the table by 6″ On both sides. An intricate design on the runner may even extend the width.
What Is a Table Runner?
A table runner is a narrow tablecloth that runs along the center length of a dining table. Only wide enough to cover the middle third, the runner protects the table from hot serving dishes. Runners can be used on their own or with coordinating tablecloths or placemats for a decorative effect.
Table runners come in a selection of styles, helping to celebrate various holidays throughout the year, like Christmas, Fall, Easter, and even Valentine’s Day. A simple change of runner can uplift your dining table to welcome a new season or special event. They can also be used to define place settings. When shared across the table, they can create a romantic dinner for two.
Also used to protect cabinets and coffee tables, table runners can prevent damage from candlewax and food spills. When used alone, they help make the natural beauty of wooden furniture pop.
What Size Should Table Runners Be?
Table runners can come in several shapes and sizes. While the width should always be close to or a little less than a 1/3 of the width of your table, the length can vary greatly. From a runner stretching the length of the table with an overhang to one that only covers the center, the size of a table runner depends on the impact or decorative effect you are looking to achieve.
A centerpiece runner should be at least 1/3rd of the length of the table and centered. Having the runner in the center gives enough space for place settings at either end. If you want the runner to span the length of the table and have an overhang, it will need to be at least 6 inches longer on both sides of the table. A runner with tassels should always overhang the table’s edge.
If you are using your runner to go across the width of the table, to create a division for place settings, it will need to be at least one-quarter of the length of your table.
Should a Table Runner Be Longer Than Your Table?
For a formal layout, your table runner should be longer than your table by about 6″ on either side. This extra fabric is known as the drop. The reason you need a drop 6″ long is to allow for a tablecloth underneath. As tablecloths always overhang a table, you want your table runner to match for symmetry.
If you don’t intend to use your table runner with a tablecloth or want an informal setup, you don’t need to allow extra length for an overhang. An informal option can have a table runner that is shorter than the table.
Does a Table Runner Have to Hang Over?
A table runner does not have to overhang. It depends on the occasion and the decorative effect you want to achieve. If it’s for a formal event like a wedding reception, the added overhang gives a professional touch. You can use an overhang for a less formal event, but it’s a preference rather than a must-have.
Most of the time, table runners overhang because it suits the style and décor of the situation. Having the runner match the length of the tablecloth creates a neat balance to a table, particularly if this is mirrored with the symmetrical alignment of cutlery, plates, and other table dressings.
For a more relaxed approach, the runner can fall within the dimensions of the tabletop. A centerpiece design can be used to great effect, especially when used with coordinating placemats. Creating a stylish setting suitable for seating more people around the table.
When it comes to overhangs, the choice relies on the event, decorative effect, and personal preference. Whether it’s for a structured event or a simple family gathering, an overhang can add a touch of elegance to your dinner table.
Can a Table Runner Be the Same Length as the Table?
For relaxed or informal get-togethers, a table runner can be the same length or shorter than the table. In more structured settings, when used with a tablecloth, or if the runner has tassels, there should be an overhang of at least 6″.
Shorter runners can add a decorative accent to a table’s centerpiece, drawing attention to the middle and away from the sides. The effect of shortening a runner’s length can prevent a cluttered look by having natural breaks between the runner and the wood top of the table.
It can also create a more cozy setting. By having a central focus, the table appears smaller, bringing the guests closer together.
Table Runner Dimensions
For a table measuring 6ft in length, a full table runner should be a minimum of 84 inches long. This allows for an overhang of 6″ on each side. The width should be one-third of the width of the tabletop. Centerpiece runners should be one-third of the length and width of the table.
Let’s assume your table is a rectangle shape. The length is 6ft and the width is 3ft. When calculating the width of the runner, divide 3ft by 3, to give one-third of the width. In this example, the runner should be 1ft or 12 inches wide.
The length should have an extra 12″ added to it to allow an overhang of 6″ on each of the shorter edges. If we convert 6ft to inches, it’s 72. Add the 12-inch overhang to 72 and you need a runner that is 84 inches long. The overall dimensions for this example would be 12” W x 84” L.
A centerpiece table runner should measure one-third of the length of the table. Don’t include any extra for an overhang. Dividing 72″ by 3 gives a length of 24″. Overall dimensions, in this case, would be 12” W x 24” L.
The length of the table runner needed for an 8-foot table should be a minimum of 108″. This allows for coverage of the table and an overhang of 6″ on each side. A centerpiece runner should be one-third of the table length, which equals 32″.
If we convert 8ft into inches, we get 96. This would give a runner long enough to cover from edge to edge. To ensure there is a 6-inch overhang on each side, add 12″ to the length. The overall length would be 96 plus 12, which comes to 108″.
To use a runner as a centerpiece display, divide the length of the tabletop by 3. The actual length of the table, not including any extra for overhang, is 96″. When you split this into 3, you get 32″.
Don’t forget the width of the table when measuring. Your runner should be one-third of the table’s width. For a 3ft wide table, this means your runner needs to be 1ft or 12 inches wide.
What Size Table Runner for a Round Table?
The same rules for measuring rectangle or square tables apply to round ones. Even though the table may be circular, the runner will still be a rectangle or a long narrow strip of fabric. Measure the diameter of the table. That’s the distance from one side to the other going across the center of the table. Add the extra 6″ on both sides for an overhang.
If we start with the width, the runner should be at least one-third of the width of your table. Check the space on your table to make sure there is room for your placemats without any overlapping. You may find the roundness of the table cuts down on the available table surface, so reduce this measurement to one-quarter of the width. That should allow room for dining plates.
Let’s use a diameter of 48″. Dividing by 3 for a third of the table’s width gives us 16″. If we divide by 4, we get 12″. Your runner should be between 12 and 16 inches, depending on the space available.
The diameter for the length will be the same 48″. This time, we add 12 inches for the overhang, giving a total length of 60″.
Table Runner Sizing Chart
|42” W x 42” L
|106cm x 106cm
|14” W x 54” L
|35cm x 137cm
|48” W x 48” L
|121cm x 121cm
|16” W x 60” L
|40cm x 152cm
|36” W x 48” L
|91cm x 121cm
|12” W x 60” L
|30cm x 152cm
|36” W x 50” L
|91cm x 127cm
|12” W x 62” L
|30cm x 157cm
|36” W x 60” L
|91cm x 152cm
|12” W x 72” L
|30cm x 182cm
|48” W x 72” L
|121cm x 182cm
|16” W x 84” L
|40cm x 213cm
|48” W x 84” L
|121cm x 213cm
|16” W x 96” L
|40cm x 243cm
|48” W x 90” L
|121cm x 228cm
|16” W x 102”L
|40cm x 259cm
|12” W x 60” L
|30cm x 152cm
|12” W x 72” L
|30cm x 182cm
|12” W x 84” L
|30cm x 213cm
|12” W x 96” L
|30cm x 243cm
|12” W x 102” L
|30cm x 259cm
How to Measure a Table for a Table Runner?
The first thing you need to do before measuring your table is to decide how you want it to look. Consider where your table is located and how it is used. Do you have a formal dining area or a more relaxed kitchen seating area? Knowing how you need your table to work for you will help you decide on things like full size, centerpiece, or overhang.
Another important factor is whether you have children and small pets. Cats, particularly kittens, enjoy tugging on overhanging fabric, as do small children. Having an overhang in those circumstances could be dangerous. The contents of your table could end up in a heap on the floor.
There are two styles of the table runner. One extends the full length while the other makes a central focus or centerpiece. The smaller covering of a centerpiece table runner gives space for place settings all around the table. An important consideration if you need to seat a large number of people.
If you have a drop leaf table or an extending table, you need to remember to allow for the extra space when measuring your table. The runner will fit differently if your table sides are down or you’ve removed the extension piece.
When you know what you need from a table runner, the next step is to measure the tabletop from one edge to the other. Remember to add an extra 12 inches if you want an overhang. On a rectangle table, the overhang will be on the two shortest sides.
If you are using a runner with a tablecloth, make sure the overhang is the same length. They need to match for symmetry. This may mean your overhang is shorter than the suggested 6 inches.
For the width of the table runner, you need to think about the items on your table. Placemats, in particular, need space and shouldn’t encroach or go over your runner. Start by dividing the width of the tabletop by 3 to calculate one-third of the table’s width.
Going with a measurement of one-third of the table width should allow enough space for placemats. If you find your place settings will overlap the runner, amend the width measurements to divide by 4 instead. One-quarter the width of the table works especially well with round tables.
Do You Use Placemats With a Table Runner?
Placemats can be used with a table runner as long as the overall look does not look cluttered. Where possible, the placemat should lie flat on the table without the need for an overlap with the table runner. A small gap between the two will enhance the table’s aesthetics.
Sometimes the table runner is too wide for the placemats leading to a battle for space. While a small overlap can be OK in some circumstances, a larger one will make the table look small and disorganized, especially in formal settings.
The best way to use placemats with a table runner is to ensure they are small enough to fit on the tabletop without any overlap. They should also take a back seat to the runner. Rather than fighting for attention, they should blend in and complement the table runner, allowing it to set the tone of the table’s décor.
Best Table Runners
DII Buffalo Table RunnerMade from 100% cotton, the DII Buffalo Table Runner is an ideal table covering for 4-6 place settings. The classic check design is easy to care for and comes in a range of colors to suit any dining room décor. A width of 14 inches allows the beauty of your wooden dining table to show on each side of the runner.
With matching dish towels, napkins, aprons, oven mitts, and tablecloths, your cooking and eating areas can be coordinated in style. Creating an especially pleasing feeling of unity in open plan kitchen diners.
Suitable for use on cupboards and coffee tables, these table runners will brighten up foyers and living areas while offering your wooden furniture protection from plant pots, scrapes, and candlewax.
Elrene Home Fashions RunnerFor a traditional farmhouse feel to your dining area, look no further than the rustic homestead stripes of the Elrene Home Fashions Runner. It is part of the larger range of items available in Elrene’s Farmhouse Living Collection.
Made from 100% cotton, this table runner is durable and easy to care for, making it ideal for everyday use or special occasions. A width of 13 inches allows space on your table for coordinating placemats to create a stylish, trendy, country setting for your modern home.
Available in a choice of 5 colors, this table runner offers both protection for your table and a touch of style to your room.
OZXCHIXU Runner with Diamante StripEye-catching and glamorous, add a touch of class with the Diamante Strip and Tassels table runner from Ozxchixu.
This runner is made from 100% polyester and available in different colors and styles. Ideal for any occasion, the choice of finish and design will add an opulent and luxuriant touch to your dining table. Simplistic and functional, the runner is perfect for a romantic candlelit dinner.
Offering protection from knocks and scratches, it will also work well on dressers or coffee tables. The elegant style of the table runner will work well in any room of your home.
Table runners come in standard widths and lengths. The actual size you need depends on your table and the effect you are looking for.
Has this article helped you decide which runner will work best in your space? Do you have table runners already? Let me know in the comments.