Table skirting, the tablecloth’s stately and professional cousin, brings elegance and a consistent color backdrop to any event. While tablecloths vary in length, table skirting is usually 29 inches, which reaches from a standard table top to the floor. It hides plain, old, scratched or mismatched table legs and can blend or contrast with surroundings, depending on the effect you’d like to create. It gives dining guests a modesty covering. It hides merchandise and supplies at trade shows and displays. Skirting won’t bunch, slide or wrinkle, which is why it is chosen instead of tablecloths for banquets and trade shows.

Special skirts and treatments add fun and flair to themed parties and events and can run the gamut from simple to very lavish and intricate. You can build brand and logo recognition by skirting tables with logo colors, or order personalized skirting with your logo printed or sewn in front.

Keep a few things in mind when you start shopping:

1. How often will you use table skirting?

Is this a one-time happening? Renting table coverings from a party supply store or tent rental business is an affordable option. Often the laundering and pressing costs are built in. Or purchase paper or plastic skirting that won’t be hard to recycle if it’s stained or damaged.

For more frequent or business use, table skirting ownership is the best way to go. You’ll be responsible for laundry and storage, but in the long run you’ll save some cash. Check out an office furniture outlet or other company who cater to the trade show industry, as well as school and hotel suppliers.

What’s the desired effect?

Skirting is available in a lot of materials and gathering/pleating options. Paper and plastic are inexpensive, though subject to more damage than vinyl, polyester and linen. Fabrics are more suited to gathering or pleating at the top, which can add “pouf” to the bottom of a table. Polyester and polyester blends don’t wrinkle as much as linen.

There are also valances and scalloped drapes which can go over the skirt, and there are artful ways of folding and pleating the skirt for custom designs. You might also want to use overlays, which are square pieces of fabric layered on top of the table and over the skirt, to add interest or draw focus to an area on the table. Table toppers are similar, but cover the entire table top and hang over the table edge a few inches on all sides.

Gathers and pleats.

There are several different styles of gathering and pleats that you can use for your table skirt such as the gathered top, knife or accordion pleat, and box pleat. Choose the design which you feel will best suit your event.

How will you use the skirting?

Skirting can be ordered to fit around three sides of a rectangular table. This style is used most often in trade shows and displays. The open back makes storing supplies under the table easy. Skirting that fits around the entire table is useful for formal seating and food service, or in any area where the table can be seen from all angles.

Individual companies will give you specifications for how to measure your tables for the best skirting fit.

Don’t forget the clips!

Table skirting stays in one place so well because it’s fastened to the edge of the table. Take a look at your skirting to determine what kind of fastener you need:

- Clips — Usually plastic, either with hooks that fit into grommets on the skirting, or with Velcro strips to grab Velcro on the skirting. Make sure the clips match the thickness of your table top. Clips can be fastened after a table cover is placed over the top.

- Velcro strips — Permanently affixed to the table edge and skirting. If you need a table cover, it will be placed over the skirting.

For the budget-conscious — table throws

Table throws are not as extravagant or elegant as skirting, but add consistency and color to a room. A table throw is a single piece of fabric that is fitted to a specific table size and shape. Throws cover the table top and extend to the floor, hanging flat, flush with the table edge. They are designed to cover three or four sides of a table.

With these things in mind you can create a beautiful look to your next event.

Author's Bio: 

Mary P. Sargeant is an author and the Marketing Communications Coordinator for Dallas Midwest. Dallas Midwest in an office furniture outlet offering a wide range of furniture solutions for offices, schools, churches, libraries and more carying everything from wood podiums, to conference tables, to fabric office chairs and everything in between.