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As the weather warms up, it’s time to take your dining outdoors. And while you can certainly serve an outdoor meal sans tablecloth, weather-resistant linens are an excellent way to add some character to your outdoor space (and make it easier to clean).
Since most outdoor tablecloths are water-repellent and stain-resistant, they just need a quick wipe down after a meal and they’re ready to go for next time. Luckily, there are tons of options out there in various fabrics, sizes, and styles.
Whether you’re looking for a casual tablecloth for family barbecues, or you want something fancier to dress up a table for a formal event, these are the best outdoor tablecloths.
Best Overall: Pottery Barn Sunbrella Indoor/Outdoor Tablecloth
Size: 50 x 108 inches | Shape: Rectangle | Material: Acrylic Sunbrella® | Color: Black, navy, gray, red
The Sunbrella Indoor/Outdoor Tablecloth is an ideal choice for all occasions. It’s made of a soft, yarn-dyed acrylic Sunbrella fabric that’s specifically designed to stand up to the elements. It resists water, mildew, fades, and stains, so it will last for years to come. Plus, it's STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® certified, which means it’s been tested and verified safe from over 350 harmful chemicals.
The awning-stripe design is perfect for setting the outdoor vibe, and it comes in four classic colors—black, navy, taupe, and red—so you can find the one that works best for your patio or outdoor event.
Best Budget: Maxmill Jacquard Tablecloth
Size: Comes in 11 sizes | Shape: Rectangle, round, square | Material: Polyester | Color: Comes in 15 colors
If you want to dress up your table on a budget, the Maxmill Jacquard Tablecloth is an elegant way to do that. It’s made of a heavyweight polyester that’s both spill-proof and resistant to water, oil, and wrinkles. If you look closely, you can see an understated swirl pattern in the fabric that’s designed to mimic a warm breeze or the ocean waves—all the best feelings that come with dining outdoors.
The tablecloth comes in 10 sizes of square or rectangle shapes, and you can choose from over a dozen color options, from classic white to bright red to an earth-toned rust.
Best Round: August Grove Ellerkamp Gingham Round Tablecloth
Size: Comes in two sizes | Shape: Round | Material: Polyester | Color: Red and white
With its checkered design and red and white color scheme, the Red Ellerkamp Gingham Round Tablecloth gives off all the outdoor picnic vibes. It’s made of stain-resistant polyester that repels water and is easy to clean. It’s also resistant to wrinkles, so you can fold it up and keep it in your picnic basket when you want to take it on the go.
The Ellerkamp tablecloth has a convenient zippered design, so you don’t have to worry about the wind taking it away. Just wrap it around a patio table umbrella and secure it into place and you’re ready for your outdoor feast.
Best Fitted: Obstal Stretch Spandex Table Cover
Size: Comes in three sizes | Shape: Rectangle | Material: Polyester, Spandex | Color: Comes in 24 colors
The Obstal Stretch Spandex Table Cover is another budget-friendly option that makes covering banquet tables a cinch. It’s made of a stretchy polyester and spandex combo that’s durable and resistant to stains and wrinkles. The tablecloth is finished with four sewn-in, elastic leg pockets that wrap around the banquet table’s legs, so every inch of the table is covered. As a result, you get a high-end, uniform look that’s perfect for outdoor events and parties.
The rectangular tablecloth comes in three size options and two dozen colors, so you are bound to find one that matches your decor or theme.
Best Farmhouse: Joy Fabric Cotton Linen Tablecloth
Size: Comes in 6 sizes | Shape: Round, rectangle | Material: Cotton linen | Color: Brown, grey, grey checkered, white
If you want to take your farmhouse decor outdoors, the Joy Fabric Cotton Linen Tablecloth is a versatile way to do that. This tablecloth is made of a premium quality linen that’s resistant to water and all types of weather and won’t rip, fade, or wrinkle. The design is finished off with hanging tassels and extra thick hemmed edges that dress it up a bit, making it perfect for daily outdoor dining or special events.
The Joy Fabric Cotton Linen Tablecloth comes in four different colors—with four different patterns—and round or rectangular designs.
Best Modern: Bed Bath & Beyond Textured Diamond Indoor/Outdoor Table Linen Collection
Size: Comes in 9 sizes | Shape: Rectangle, oval, round | Material: Spun polyester | Color: Gray and white
With its geometric black and white design, the Textured Diamond Indoor/Outdoor Table Linen Collection brings a modern style to your outdoor dining space—and it goes with anything. This water-repellent tablecloth is made of 100 percent spun polyester, so it stands up to weather, resists stains, and holds up well to wear and tear.
It comes in three shapes—oval, round, and rectangular—and, for some options, you can choose whether or not you want an umbrella hole.
Overall, we recommend the Pottery Barn Sunbrella Awning Stripe Indoor/Outdoor Tablecloth (view at Pottery Barn) because the fabric is designed to withstand outdoor elements and is offered in multiple colors. For a budget-friendly option, consider the Maxmill Jacquard Table Cloth (view at Amazon) because the design is spill-proof and is offered in a variety of sizes and colors.
What to Look For
When you’re taking a tablecloth outdoors, the fabric is one of the most important factors. The best fabrics for outdoor use are polyester, acrylic, and vinyl—each is machine washable and tends to be stain-resistant, making it easy to use the tablecloth all season.
Choosing a tablecloth size isn’t an exact science—some of it comes down to personal preference—but generally, it’s recommended that for casual events you have an 8-inch drop and for formal events you have a 15-inch drop.
When it comes to round tables, measure the table diameter and then multiply the desired drop length by two and add the numbers together. For example, if your table is 30 inches and you want an 8-inch drop, you would add 30 plus 16 to come up with a round tablecloth size of 46 inches.
For a rectangular table, measure the length and width of your table. Multiply the drop length by two, then add that number to both the length and the width. For example, if your table is 36 x 48 inches, you would add 16 to each number to come up with a tablecloth size of 52 x 64 inches.
Style is another important part of the process. In addition to making sure you’re choosing the right tablecloth shape—round, oval, rectangular—you want to consider the event or reason you need a tablecloth. For casual get togethers, you can get away with laminated or vinyl fabrics, but for more formal events, you want something that’s a little more high-end, like polyester or linen.
What size tablecloth should you get for a picnic table?
Picnic tables range from 6 to 8 feet in length and 27 to 30 inches in width. Tablecloths for picnic tables are at least 84 inches long for 6-foot-long tables and at least 104 inches long for 8-foot-long tables, and 54 inches wide. This won’t give you exactly the standard overhang of 8 inches on all sides, but a shorter overhang on a picnic table can be a good thing—there is less fabric to blow around.
How do you hold down an outdoor tablecloth?
There are specialized tablecloth clips or clamps to keep a tablecloth from blowing away and securing it to the table. The clips are made of stainless steel or plastic and designed so they won’t scratch the table or damage the tablecloth. In a pinch, you can also secure the tablecloth with duct table or bungee cords, or place heavy objects such as dishes in the corners.
How do you keep a tablecloth from sliding?
Tablecloth clips or clamps accomplish two things at once: they keep the tablecloth from sliding and from blowing away. Instead of tablecloth clips you can also place a piece of a non-slip rubber roll shelf liner underneath the tablecloth. The material comes in a roll so you can cut it to the required size. Some products are available in different colors and you can pick one that matches your tablecloth, especially if it’s made of a thin fabric and you don’t want the rubber liner to show through.
How do you get wrinkles out of a plastic tablecloth?
Gentle dry or moist heat helps soften the plastic and remove the wrinkles. For minor wrinkles, you can use a hairdryer on a low setting. Run the hairdryer back and forth over the wrinkles and smooth them out with your hand. Another option is to hang the tablecloth on a clothesline for a full day when the weather is warm or hot. The third option that works well for vinyl tablecloths is to use an iron on low heat in combination with a thick damp bath towel, making sure no part of the iron is ever placed directly on the plastic. Check if the crease is gone and repeat once if necessary. Iron out the creases one by one and spray more water on the towel to keep it damp.
Why Trust The Spruce
Lindsay Boyers writes about lifestyle, home, and decor for The Spruce. She has a keen eye for detail and knows how important it is to create a space you love. Much to her younger self’s dismay, you can likely find her watching home improvement shows on HGTV. Additional reporting was done by Nadia Hassani, a writer and master gardener with over 20 years of experience.