WebstaurantStore / Food Service Resources / Buying Guides / Table Linen Buying Guide

Table Linen Buying Guide

An essential addition to most dining rooms or outdoor eateries, table linens help to convey the theme and level of service in your establishment, while also offering a pop of color and protection for your tables. But with so many types of table linen out there, how do you know which one you need? That's a great question, and that's why we've created this guide - to guide you through the process. Read on to learn more!


When purchasing linens, always consider:

  • Color
  • Design
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Price
  • Texture
  • Theme of the dining facility
  • Usage requirements

Table covers have the power to make or break the image you're trying to portray. From kid-friendly, disposable plastic table covers to upscale cloth linens for your five-star venue, the options out there are as endless as the establishments they will go in. Considering all of the above aspects regarding table linens will certainly help to narrow down your options while ensuring the perfect fit for your establishment. And while you're at it, make sure to check out our linen table skirting to complete your look.

Table Cover Calculator

If you're not sure what size restaurant linens to purchase, you're in the right place! Our easy-to-use calculator will analyze any size table and point you to the specific size restaurant table linens you need. Just measure your table's top and base, enter the info into our calculator, and we'll do the math for you!

  1. First enter the shape and dimensions of your table. (HINT: Standard banquet table size varies from 30" to 96" long and can seat 8 to 10 people.)
  2. Then, determine how much of a drop you would like the table linens to have from the top of the table.
    • The standard "drop" or overhang is 8".
    • A 10" - 12" overhang will reach lap level.
    • For standard banquet tables, a 15" drop is recommended.
    • A 29" - 30" drop will reach to the floor.

Example: If you would like 12" of table linen to drop from each side. The suggested linen size will then automatically update itself immediately below the dimensions that you entered.

Table Linen Calculator
1 Select Your Table Shape
2 Enter Your Table Dimensions
in. in.
3 Your Linen Size
in. in.

Table Cover Comparison

Cotton Poly Cotton Polyspun 100% Polyester Linen-Like Paper Plastic Tissue/Poly Vinyl
Disposable X X X X
Reusable X X X X
Machine Washable X X X
Water-Resistant X X X
Roll Options X X X X
Sized Options X X X X X X X X
Biodegradable X
Hypoallergenic X
Fade Resistant X X
Wrinkle Resistant X X
Stain Resistant X X

Cloth Table Covers


Cloth table covers are perfect for venues and caterers alike, who are looking for an elegant appearance with a classic feel. They are available in a range of materials, from poly cotton to polyspun to 100% polyester, and all are machine washable for easy laundering. Cloth table covers are specially designed for the heavy use that comes along with commercial applications, and can be reused time and time again, unlike one-time-use, disposable table linens. These table covers are often found in hotels, banquet halls, upscale restaurants, and at catered events.

Poly cotton table covers, in particular, feature an even blend of 50% polyester and 50% cotton, for a product that lasts twice as long as 100% cotton. While these table covers give you the softness of cotton that you’d expect, they ensure the wrinkle-resistance of polyester, too.

Along these same lines, polyspun table covers feature a similar blend, but with more polyester (65%) than cotton (35%). These tablecovers also ensure a soft feel to the touch, as well as the wrinkle-resistance of polyester, but come with the added benefits of longer wear than poly cotton blends, and the resistance to fading, shrinking, and pilling, often found in 100% polyester.

Finally, 100% polyester table covers ensure the highest level of wrinkle, stain, shrink, and pill resistance out of all of the cloth table covers we carry, and are virtually lint-free. These table covers won’t absorb liquids if spills occur, yet, like the other cloth materials, are machine washable for your convenience.They will not shrink on a long dryer cycle, and will retain their size throughout repeated washings.

Disposable Table Covers

If the convenience of disposability is more in line with your needs, disposable table covers are the way to go. These table covers come in varying materials, textures, and prices, and some are even available in roll table covers (as opposed to pre-cut, sized table covers), so you can determine how long or short you’d like each piece to be.

Linen-Like Table Cover

For the look and feel of linen, consider adding linen-like table covers to your collection. Available in a variety of prints and colors, these table covers give your guests the impression of real linen, but with the low maintenance associated with disposable pieces.

For something a bit more casual, paper table covers make an ideal addition to many establishments or events, alike. These table covers are available in solid color or print varieties, and traditionally are sold by the paper table cover roll for your convenience. Keep in mind, though, that we do carry sized paper table covers too.

Tissue/Poly Table Cover

Plastic and tissue/poly table covers protect your tables better than linen-like or traditional paper table covers, with the plastic material serving as a water-resistant barrier between liquids and your tabletops; and, tissue/poly table covers come with the added benefit of the 2-ply, soft, tissue top for your guests to appreciate, while the bottom, 1-ply poly plastic layer provides the protection you’d expect from plastic table coverings. Plastic table covers, on the other hand, give you 100% water-resistance on both sides of the cover, ensuring superior protection for your tables, and a consistently-dry surface, even after messes are wiped up.

Vinyl Table Covers

Vinyl Table Cover

Outdoor eateries and other casual dining facilities often enjoy the look and convenience of vinyl table covers. These covers provide a longer life than disposable table covers, yet require less maintenance than cloth table covers and come in a variety of prints, patterns, and colors. They can simply be wiped clean after each use - no laundering necessary - and can be used time and time again. Vinyl table covers are economical too! Unlike costly cloth table linens, vinyl table covers are great for providing a quick, affordable, decorative change for your dining room, perfect for seasonal switches with your other decor.

Vinyl table covers are available in sized table cover form, or in roll table cover form. Vinyl table cover rolls offer the added benefit, over sized covers, of custom sizing for your unique needs. Just cut to the length you need, and you're good-to-go!

Cloth Napkins

Cloth Napkins

Don't forget the matching napkins! Now that you have chosen your table linens, it's time to choose the napkin option that best works for you. If you are using cloth table covers, cloth napkins are the best choice for a cohesive and elegant look. Just like table linens, napkins are available in a range of materials. Poly cotton napkins feature an equal blend of polyester and cotton for a soft feel and a natural look. Polyspun napkins are also made from a blend of polyester and cotton, but feature a higher percentage of polyester for better wrinkle resistance. The most durable napkins are made from 100% polyester, which resists wrinkling, shrinking, and stains. Whichever napkin style you opt for, make sure to choose a color that complements your table linens. A wide variety of colors are available, including stripes!

Subscribe now for great deals and industry tips! Sign up for our mailing list to have weekly discounts and industry knowledge sent right to your inbox.

Food Service Resources

Tips, guides, & advice

Explore Resources
  • Visa
  • Discover
  • American Express
  • MasterCard
  • Paypal