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Festive table decoration shyrokova/Getty Images

Laying the table: let’s get festive

How can I create an especially warm atmosphere with a tablecloth? We have compiled some tips from the professionals in the catering trade.

The classically elegant look with a tablecloth – tips from the catering trade

If you have a wooden table with a particularly nice grain, you may want to show this off and only lay place mats or a table runner. The classically elegant look is achieved with a tablecloth. White is still unbeatable and works like a canvas on which decorative elements are especially shown to their advantage. These tips from the catering trade will help to ensure that everything looks really festive:

  • Check beforehand: Is the table in the right place? Is it wobbling? Can the guests get to their seats without a problem?
  • Use a table protector: Silence cloth is a good choice here. It prevents the tablecloth from slipping and protects the wood from being damaged – either by the glass of red wine that topples over or the crockery that is pushed back and forth, leaving marks. Conversely, the soft cushioning protects fine porcelain and glasses from damage. It attenuates the noise created when putting down the crockery and also feels pleasantly soft for the guests.
  • Align the tablecloth corners: Whether the table is round or rectangular, the corners of the tablecloth should always hang down from the table legs.
  • Ensure the tablecloth hangs down evenly on all sides: Both the long and the short sides of the tablecloth should hang down evenly. Depending on personal taste, the overhang can be wider or narrower, although a very long overhang can get in the guests’ way. A length of 20–30 cm is recommended.

Naturally beautiful table decorations – and so wintry 

You don’t always have to buy expensive decorations for a festive look on special occasions. ‘Less is more’ is the general rule anyway. You can create a festive and individual atmosphere with pine cones, pine twigs, star anise, cinnamon sticks and, not least, (home-made) biscuits. These can be laid out along the centre of the table, for example. If you want an especially wintry look, you can spray a little snow spray on the pine cones and twigs and assemble them with baubles and decorative plates.

Festive table decorationMonika Grabowska/Unsplash

What do you do with stains?

If it simply has to be the favourite tablecloth that already has stains, the table decorations can skilfully hide the odd blemish. When it comes to stains, the general rule is that they should be removed while they are still fresh. However, it is not always possible to clear the entire table when all the guests are sitting around it. First aid comes in the form of sponges, kitchen towel or blotting paper to soak up as much moisture as possible. Do not rub the stain, but carefully dab it from the inside out. After the meal, the table linen should be washed as quickly as possible. To prevent the laundry from creasing too much, try not to overfill the washing machine and spin it at no more than 800 rpm. Remove the tablecloth from the washing machine immediately after the wash has ended and gently stretch it back into shape, which will also prevent unnecessary creases. It is even easier if you give your table linen to Persil Service to take care of – and you will even save yourself the job of ironing it. 

By the way, if you are also looking for individual gift wrapping ideas, read on here.

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