table linen buyers guide

The really important things to consider when buying table linen.

Table Linen Buying Guide

We have speciliased in linen for centuries, this valuable knowledge is on tap to help you choose the right table linen for you. So we've prepared some pointers below and don't forget you can also pick up the phone and speak to one of our friendly linen experts who can help you with the sizing and dressing of your table.

Buying Luxury Table Linen

Luxury table linen captures the essence of fine dining and purchasing the right table linen for your table is important for crafting a dinner scene which is right for your home. This guide explains what you need to consider when creating a luxury table setting.

Different Types of Table Linen

There are many elements which contribute to a luxury table setting for everyday home dining or dinner parties. They include:

Tablecloths: Tablecloths are the essential foundation to any luxury table setting. Opt for a tablecloth which complements your interior and choose between traditional or modern, country chic or cosmopolitan, casual or formal to really set the scene. Tablecloths can be dressed up or down dependent on the occasion. If you have chosen a tablecloth with intricate patterns and detail, we recommend keeping accessories simple and sophisticated. If you have opted for a minimalistic tablecloth design in muted colours, make your accessories “pop” by choosing a contrasting colour for your dinnerware or decorative table dressing.

Table Runners: Table runners add colour, contrast and an extra layer of protection for your dining table and have a combination of decorative and functional benefits. Table runners can complement the look and material of your table. For example, a linen table runner, with a dense weave and intricate pattern balances the texture and style of a solid wood table whilst a lightweight silk table runner placed over a glass-topped table “lifts” the design and gives the table setting a fresh, airy feel. You can choose to dress your tablecloth with a runner or simply use it on its own to create a focal centrepiece for your dining table.

Napkins: Napkins are primarily used to protect against stains and spillages and keep fingers and mouths clean during the meal. However, napkins can also provide the perfect finishing touch to your luxury table setting and can often be bought as an accompaniment to your tablecloth. They are usually placed to the left of the placemat and can be folded or held in place by a napkin ring.

Luxury Table Linen Fabrics

Jacquard Linen/Cotton: Jacquard fabric often features delicate and complex pattern work which is woven into the fabric rather than printed onto it. The fabric is firm and keeps its shape whilst retaining a soft feel.

Damask Linen/Cotton: Long considered as a hallmark of refinement, damask linen is renowned for its intricate pattern work, dense weave and lustrous finish. The weave creates a versatile fabric which is reversible and woven in such a way that the pattern and its inverse can be both be used without compromising on quality or appearance. The design is often woven in satin onto a weft-faced or sateen background for added luxury.

What’s the difference between Singe Damask and Double Damask?

A common misbelief is that double damask is “double” the quality of its single counterpart and is the only fabric which is reversible, however this isn’t true.

“Single” and “double” refer exclusively to the weaving technique used. Single damask linen is woven from a yarn which uses much longer and finer fibres whilst double damask linen is woven from a mixture of long and short fibres. Double damask linen also has a lower warp thread than weft thread count which means threads are passed over seven warp threads and just under one warp thread at a time. This means that a much denser, high thread count fabric is produced through a more expensive manufacturing process.

Seersucker Cotton: Seersucker is a cotton fabric which is manufactured using a slack-tension weave to give it its renowned puckered look. The weave bunches yarns together to create a wrinkled appearance which requires no pressing once washed. This fabric is easy to care for and requires little to no maintenance, so is great for everyday use.

Polycotton: Has the benefits of polyester and cotton to make a polycotton blend which combines quality and durability. 

Caring for your Luxury Table Linens

Washing and caring for your table linen is essential to retain the quality of your linen. Whether you use your linen every day or for special occasions, washing, ironing and storing them correctly keeps them looking their best.

Table linens often have an individual tag with specific washing instructions. However, if you cannot find a tag, hand washing your linens in luck warm water or on a gentle, cool cycle in the washing machine prevents deterioration. Always take care to remove all detergent and avoid using a fabric softener as this can cause discolouration.

Take care when ironing your table linen. Use an ironing board with thick padding and a smooth heat-reflective cover. Ensure your linen is slightly damp and press until smooth and all wrinkles have been removed. Do not iron then linen until it is completely dry, hang and allow it air-dry. Do not fold away and store immediately after ironing as this will creating creasing. They should be laid flat on a large surface area until completely dry.

If you are storing your linens for longer periods of time, store them in a cool, dry and well-ventilated cupboard or drawer. Avoid storing linens in plastic bags or cardboard boxes or in direct contact with any wooden drawer as the fumes and acids from the wood can discolour the fabric and weaken the fibres.

Twice a year, it is recommended that you refold your linens to prevent any enduring stress on a particular area of the linen.

Still not sure what table linens you need to create the perfect luxury dinner setting? Woods Fine Linens has a longstanding passion for luxury linens dating back to 1733, and their experienced staff will be more than willing to help you come to an informed decision. Call 01423 530111 to discuss your requirements in detail, or visit their shop in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.