Of different materials and patterns, the tablecloth reflects a lot the personality and tastes of each of us: but which one to choose? What colors and patterns? In linen, in plastic or in what fabrics? Here, then, are all the rules to know if you want to follow the advice of etiquette.
Choose the tablecloth
Depending on the situation we may find ourselves choosing different tablecloths even if, in principle, for an elegant dinner it is preferable to use a plain color, at most with slightly different but always sober patterns and shades, choosing colors such as white, cream, ivory or, however, soft colors. In this way, in fact, it will be easier to combine the dishes and avoid too strong if not even tacky combinations. Obviously on some occasions or holidays you can also use more decisive colors, always respecting, however, fantasies and motifs of all the additional components of the table.
As for the materials, instead, you can choose linen, silk or cotton, going to avoid paper and plastic, allowed, at most, for a party for children only.
How it should be put
Before spreading the tablecloth, it is advisable to place a flannel on the table without forming folds. It is a sheet often enough to protect the table from small scratches or indelible stains that could irreparably damage the surface. At this point you can switch to the actual tablecloth , which must be clean , without stains, and must not even have a fold: for this reason try to stretch it as best as possible after washing it, and maybe make sure you pass the iron at least on the lines that can form when you place it in a drawer. As for its size, the etiquette foresees that this must be placed centrally, in such a way as to fall equally from all its parts and with a flap of, at most, 30 centimeters (so as not to disturb the guests): banished long tablecloths, those that also cover the legs of the table which, on the other hand, are mandatory at banquets.
Alternative: place mats and runners
If the dinner is not too formal you can resort to the use of place mats : these can be of various materials, such as fabric, bamboo or plastic, they are usually rectangular in shape and must be placed, one for each diner, on a table without Mellette or table cloth.
A second, more elegant alternative is the runner:
It is a strip of fabric that must be placed over the table and which, about 50 centimeters wide, covers the printed table covers of two diners (one in front of the other). It can be placed both on top and without the tablecloth, but it must be used, according to the etiquette, only if the number of guests is even (to avoid an unsightly empty).