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10 Top Tablecloth Alternatives for Your Dining Experience

A collage of tablecloth alternatives.

Tablecloths are a fancy way of dressing up a table. It can elevate a dining experience especially on special occasions but it can also get expensive. Looking for a cheap tablecloth can be tough and so homeowners are looking for alternatives to cover up the table without foregoing style.

The search for other ways to dress up a table can be fun. All you need is your imagination and a dash of creativity and before you know it, you’ve found materials just lying around the house which can be used as a cool substitute.

Related: Types of Placemats | Types of Napkins | Floral Arrangements | Table Setting Ideas

1. Fitted Sheet

Off-white fitted sheet used as a table cloth.A cheap alternative to using a tablecloth is to use a fitted sheet! I say “cheap” because most people already have a fitted sheet in their home, but if not, one can be purchased for a low price online or at a store. Fitted sheets come in a variety of different designs, colors, and sizes.

This makes them the perfect alternative because they can be used for almost any occasion. I, personally, have used fitted sheets on tables for an outside party. Unlike a tablecloth, the fitted sheet did not move around or raise up when the wind started blowing.

If something is spilled on the sheet, it can be easily washed in a washing machine. Out of all the tablecloth alternatives, this one has to be my favorite.


  • It is inexpensive
  • Perfect for almost any occasion
  • Machine Washable
  • Does not move around on the table


  • Can look unprofessional

Price: $5.00 – $10.00

2. Brown Kraft Paper

N. F. String & Son, Inc. 100 Foot Plain Brown Kraft Paper Table Covers

Kraft paper is normally used for, well, crafts. That is what makes this alternative so unique. Not only does it give the table a rustic style, which is great for weddings and holiday parties, but it can also be drawn on.

Each party guest could grab a sharpie or a piece of chalk and write their names on the paper for a nice piece of memorabilia. This also makes it perfect for a kid’s party because it can be doodled on with crayons or other art utensils. When everybody is done with the paper, it can be easily rolled up and put away for easy clean-up.

If I were to use this paper, I would place it on a drink table and write directions for how to make certain drinks. If I used it in my home, I would write recipes on it. The possibilities are endless!


  • Fun for friends and family
  • Easy clean-up


  • Can be torn

Price: $16.00 – $20.00

3. Table Runner

Outdoor table setting with table runner on wooden patio table.

If you don’t want to completely hide your table with a tablecloth, a table runner is just as beautiful and makes the perfect alternative. It can be used for any occasion, especially weddings and holidays. It can also be used for everyday use to give your dining table extra style.

It also protects the table from damage that may occur from hot dishes. A table runner can be found in pretty much any merchant store and they are very affordable.


  • Does not completely hide table


  • May not protect table from scratches and marks

Price: $10.00 – $30.00

4. Tulle

White tulle used as tablecloth on a wedding setting.Source: Etsy

In case you do not know what tulle is, it is the fabric that is commonly used on a bride’s veil or wedding gown. Tulle would be the perfect substitute for a tablecloth at a wedding or other formal events. Since the fabric is quite thin, it is very easy to cut it to the desired length.

It looks lovely on both round and rectangular tables. People often know of tulle as being white, but it comes in many different shades of colors. A bright pink tulle could be used for a young girl’s party, or it can be used on a small table in a young girl’s room.

It would also make for the perfect tablecloth substitute at a quinceañera. Tulle is quite inexpensive; many yards of it can be bought without breaking the bank.


  • A lovely formal look
  • Can be easily cut
  • Comes in many colors
  • Inexpensive


  • Can be torn easily
  • Quite thin; layers of it may be needed to reach desired density

Price: .50 – $1.00 per yd

5. Blanket

84 X 59 Inch Mexican Serape Blanket Bay Window Blanket, Mexican Tablecloth Serape Tatami Blanket Bed Blanket Table Cover Tapestry Blanket Picnic Mat for Mexican Party Wedding Decorations

I am currently using a blanket on my dining room table. It looks amazing and really ties my dining room together. Why did I do this? Because I did not want to spend money on a new tablecloth when I have plenty of blankets laying around the house!

A blanket makes the perfect substitute for a tablecloth because it can be easily cleaned and you can choose between many different colors, styles, designs, and sizes. A plaid blanket can be used during autumn, a sunflower blanket can be used during the summer, a floral blanket can be used during the spring, and a snowflake blanket can be used during the winter. This may be one of the easiest tablecloth substitutes on the list, simply find a blanket and throw it over the table.


  • Can be easily washed
  • Endless possibilities


  • Depending on the type of fabric, the blanket may slide off of the table

Price: $5.00 – $30.00

6. Lace

Lace fabric used as tablecloth on the newlywed's table at a garden wedding setting.Source: Etsy

Lace is a beautiful tablecloth replacement. Lace can be used at inside or outside weddings, at parties, or it can be used inside the home. When used at weddings, lace gives the ceremony site a lovely formal look.

It also adds extra style to formal parties. It would look great on a table at a holiday party, such as a Christmas party or on a table during Thanksgiving. It can be used on coffee tables, side tables, or dining tables.

Lace can make the home look bright and welcoming. It is very thin and easy to cut to the desired shape and length. If it becomes soiled, no problem! It can be easily cleaned in the washing machine.

It is also very inexpensive which means you can spend little money and use it on many tables.


  • Lovely formal look
  • Can be easily cut
  • Machine-washable
  • Inexspensive


  • Can be easily torn
  • Very thin

Price: $1.00 – $2.00 per yd

7. Bare with Placements

Bare table setting with cloth placements under ceramic plates, stainless steel utensils, and glass on wooden dining table.

Adding placements to a table can really tie the room together and add a dash of elegance. You can purchase placements for any event; whether it be a birthday, a holiday, a wedding, a family dinner, or a party.

Placements can be made from a soft material, such as cotton, or be made of a hard material, like wood or plastic. Placements are a great alternative to a tablecloth because they protect the table against damage from dishes, they are stylish, and they are very simple to set up on the table.


  • Protect table from being scratched by dishes


  • Can easily slip off of table

Price: $5.00 – $30.00

8. Curtain

Thin white curtain used as tablecloth with a glass and pink accessories on top, a dream catcher hanging on white bare walls, and a wooden planter with a glass vase of indoor plants standing on white fabric flooring.Source: Etsy

If it can lay flat on a table, it’s going to be on this list! I’m sure you have never looked at a window curtain and wondered if it would look good on your table. Well, now you have. Curtains are a great substitute for a tablecloth because they come in many different colors and styles.

Somebody could purchase many window curtains, use some for the windows, and use one for the table. It would perfectly match and make the house look stunning. Small curtains can also be used on end tables or on a coffee table.

Most curtains are machine washable which makes for easy clean-up. They can be used for parties, weddings, holidays, or for everyday use.


  • Different colors and styles
  • Perfectly match the windows with the table
  • Small curtains can be used on coffee tables
  • Machine-washable
  • Use for any occasion


  • If using outside, curtain may blow away
  • Holes may need to be cut off of the curtain

Price: $5.00 – $30.00

9. Shower Curtain

Green striped shower curtain used as tablecloth on a small Cottage style dining room.Source: Etsy

Cut the holes off the end of a shower curtain, and voila! It turns into the perfect tablecloth. The best thing about shower curtains is they are made in various different materials and fabrics. For an outside party, a plastic shower curtain can be used.

The heavy plastic will keep it from blowing away with the wind and it will not become soaked if there is a rainstorm. A plastic shower curtain can also be used for children; just hand them a sharpie and let their imaginations run wild. Instead of purchasing pricey tablecloths for a wedding, use white cotton or polyester shower curtains to save money.


  • Great for outside use
  • Plastic curtains are kid-friendly
  • Affordable


  • Must cut the holes off of the shower curtain
  • Certain fabrics or materials may be hard to wash

Price: $5.00 – $20.00

10. Gift Wrap

Cloth gift wrap used as a table runner on wooden dining table with yellow Shabby-Chic chairs with brick fireplace nearby and brick flooringSource: Etsy

Gift wrap can be used as a substitute for a tablecloth or a table runner. The best thing about this is the table can be decorated for any occasion! Bithday wrap can be used for someone’s special day, Christmas wrap can be used to make the dinner table look extra festive during the holiday, a spooky gift wrap can be used during Halloween, and more.

It can be easily rolled up and discarded in the trash bin, it can be saved for the next year, or it could even be recycled and used to wrap gifts. There are even coloring and connect-the-dot wraps that can be used for a kid’s party. This is one of the most creative tablecloth alternatives out there.


  • Find designs for any occasion
  • Kid-friendly
  • Easy clean-up
  • Can be recycled


  • Can be torn easily
  • May slide around on the table

Price: $2.00 – $5.00