The Best Alternatives To A Tablecloth

Explore stylish and effective tablecloth alternatives in our latest blog post. Whether you want a minimalist vibe or aim to evoke rustic charm, there are various options to suit every need. While tablecloths are perfect for many occasions, sometimes an elegant table runner or a vibrant placemat will do. Discover creative ways to enhance table settings without relying on traditional table covers with these alternatives that blend practicality with aesthetics.

The Best Alternatives To A Tablecloth

Key Takeaways

  • There are many great alternative tablecloth ideas, including scarves, sheets, giftwrap, or tulle.
  • You can opt for maximum creativity or cost savings when choosing your tablecloth alternatives.
  • Choosing to use creative tabletop alternatives can be a great way to create unique and immersive table settings.
  • You can opt for no table covering if you are unable to find a tablecloth alternative.
  • We supply high-quality customized tablecloths at affordable prices.

These Are The Best Alternatives To A Tablecloth

Sometimes, all you need for alternative tablecloth ideas is a little creativity. Thinking outside the box can lead to many inventive solutions, but we have compiled this list to take the guesswork out of it. While our custom printed tablecloths offer a superb blend of creativity and practical protection, you could also explore options such as scarves, gift wrap, or burlap sacks. Read on to discover our suggestions for tablecloth alternatives.

a setting at a table for tablecloth alternatives


Scarves are frequently designed in attractive materials and colors, often with patterns and other motifs. You can use these to your advantage and conjure a unique look by stitching some scarves together and using them as a cheap tablecloth alternative. You will score points for creativity and cultivate a unique aesthetic for your table setting. You could even combine with other elements in the same color palette to really make an impression.

Craft Or Chalk Paper

If you are wondering what you can use instead of a tablecloth to cover your table, consider craft or chalk paper for a creative touch. Simply roll out the paper, cut it to the desired size, and secure it with tape for a seamless appearance. This provides a blank canvas for custom designs, allowing you to write or draw directly on the surface. While it may not offer the robust table protection of our custom-sized tablecloths, it allows for personalized aesthetics to suit your preferences.

Beach Towels

Add a colorful twist to your table setting by using beach towels as a creative tablecloth alternative. Select towels with vibrant colors that match your theme or preferences, then simply drape them over the table for a casual, playful aesthetic. Beach towels add a unique touch as well as a laid-back atmosphere to any table setting. It’s a creative and cheap tablecloth alternative, infusing personality into your decor for a range of occasions.


Choose chic simplicity for your table setting by opting for placemats as an alternative to traditional tablecloths. Sidestep the hassle of washing tablecloths by arranging these versatile accessories individually or overlaying them for a layered appearance. Placemats not only highlight each place setting but also offer protection against spills, ensuring your tabletop stays pristine. Select materials, designs, and colors that complement your aesthetic for a polished and low-maintenance look. Explore the myriad placemat options, and consider combining them with our custom table covers for added protection.

Gift Wrap

Gift wrap presents a creative alternative to traditional tablecloths. Choose gift wrap that complements your theme or aesthetic, and tape it to your table to cover the entire tabletop. While it provides limited protection for your table, it establishes a distinct aesthetic that sets the tone for the setting. Whether for a festive appearance or another theme, this one-time tablecloth alternative is versatile for various occasions, eliminating the need for a traditional tablecloth in your arrangement.

Fabric Remnants

Fabric remnants can come from many sources, including:

  • Clothing
  • Curtains
  • Bedding
  • Other tablecloths

You can harness these fabric remnants to use if you don’t have a tablecloth. If they are large enough, you can drape them over your table as a makeshift solution. Or, for a slightly more creative approach, you can stitch different pieces of fabric together to set the table without a tablecloth. The result will be a rustic and charming presentation, particularly with fabric pieces that complement one another.

Drop Cloth

Leverage the rustic charm of drop cloths as a cost-effective tablecloth alternative. While our custom polyester tablecloths offer looks, fits, and properties tailored to table protection, sometimes you can’t beat a Spartan look. Simply trim the drop cloth to fit your table, making sure to measure properly. You will create a versatile canvas to experiment with different settings. This is an affordable option that provides good protection and adds a touch of farmhouse chic as an alternative tablecloth idea.


Can you set a table without a tablecloth? Of course! All you need is a sheet, repurposed to drape over your table, creating a unique and cozy atmosphere. Sheets come in various colors, often with patterns and textures, allowing you to match your theme or occasion. With sheets, you effortlessly blend practicality and aesthetics, providing an affordable tablecloth alternative for your table setting needs. Explore the available sheet options for a fresh, distinctive look for your table.

Wrapping Paper

Similar to gift wrap, wrapping paper is a more specific term and you can use it to cover your tabletops effectively. There are many styles and designs available, often tailored to specific occasions. This enables you to create a festive or theme-appropriate table setting with a unique aesthetic by taping the paper to the table’s surface for a flat, smooth finish. No matter the occasion, this is a cost-effective way to protect your dining table without using a tablecloth and to create a distinctive look for your guests.

Burlap Coffee Sacks

Burlap is a popular material for upcycling, and you could use old burlap coffee sacks to create an enticing tablecloth alternative for any occasion. Simply cut the edges of the sack so that it opens out into a larger cloth. You could create table runners or stitch multiple sacks together to form a complete table cover. In any case, you will get basic protection for your tabletop and create a rustic aesthetic that can work brilliantly for various table settings.


Leverage the ethereal beauty of tulle to craft an alternative to traditional tablecloths, ideal for weddings and similar occasions. The delicate netting imparts sophistication and charm to your decor, gracefully draped over the table for an elegant touch. Select colors that complement your theme or dye the tulle to match your preferences. While providing minimal tabletop protection, the result is a visually stunning setting that enhances the overall atmosphere of your special event.


Lace exudes timeless elegance and makes for a stylish alternative to traditional tablecloths. Drape it over your table to achieve a romantic and sophisticated aesthetic for your occasion. With a variety of patterns and colors available, you can customize your decor to match any theme. While it may not offer the same protection and durability as our custom waterproof tablecloths, using lace will still create an elegant setting with basic tabletop protection.

Bare With Placements

Achieve a rustic chic look by forgoing a tablecloth and using placemats and coasters for a stylish table setting. Arrange these versatile accessories as you like, providing protection against spills while highlighting individual places and enhancing the overall aesthetic. This serves as a great alternative to traditional tablecloths, eliminating the need for washing, maintenance, and storage hassles, allowing you to focus on a different approach to table protection.

a rustic table setting for tablecloth alternatives

Some Extra ‘Creative’ Table Cover Alternatives

If you are exploring what you can use for a tablecloth because you want to get creative with your table setting, there are various creative tablecloth alternatives. Besides the ones listed above, let’s look at a few that really emphasize artistry and aesthetics to create unique table settings.

Dining Tablecloth Alternative That Looks Like Wood

Get some wood grain contact paper from your local craft store. You can secure this onto a roll of brown craft paper to create an elegant wood-effect sheet that can then be placed on your tabletop. This is a delightfully creative tablecloth alternative that creates a rustic look that is sure to impress.

Vintage Maps

Unfold old road maps or posters of vintage nautical charts to add a touch of nostalgia to your table setting. This will be an excellent conversation-starter and set a specific tone for the occasion, bringing people together around your playful alternative tablecloth idea.

Magazine Collage

Create a magazine collagen by cutting out pages from old magazines and sticking them onto a large sheet of craft paper. You could focus on fashion magazines, nature ones, or any other magazine type to establish a theme and aesthetic for your table setting.

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Some Extra ‘Cheap’ Table Cover Alternatives

If your primary consideration for finding tablecloth alternatives is cost, then you'll want to concentrate on cheap alternative tablecloth ideas. Explore our custom-fitted table covers; they are more budget-friendly than you might expect. Alternatively, consider ideas such as using old newspapers or rolls of plastic sheeting.

Old Newspaper

Lay out old newspapers on your tabletop to provide protection against spills and create a particular aesthetic for your setting. It may not be the most glamorous approach, but it can be done creatively and will help shield your surface against staining.

Paper Table Runners

You can purchase pre-cut paper table runners in rolls to be applied to tables. They are cheap tablecloth alternatives available in different colors and designs, and they offer a good level of protection for your tables at a low price.

Rolls Of Plastic Sheet

Plastic sheets can also be ordered in rolls at a low cost, providing an effective tablecloth alternative that you can acquire with minimal investment. They are a very effective barrier against spills and you can easily dispose of them after use.

What Can I Use Instead Of Tablecloth?

There are many great tablecloth alternatives you can apply for a different look whilst effectively protecting your tabletops at an affordable price. Popular options include:

  • Placemats
  • Burlap
  • Drop cloths
  • Lace

We have talked about these in detail, so consider your options if you don’t have a tablecloth and need table protection. Alternatively, explore the differences between table runners and tablecloths to find practical items that are commonly used in place of traditional tablecloths.

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Benefits Of Using Tablecloth Alternatives

There are various benefits to seeking tablecloth alternatives when designing a table setting. Besides potentially saving money, it will encourage you to explore your creativity and help you find good solutions that match your needs and aesthetic preferences for any occasion.

Encouragement To Explore Creative Options

Our custom tablecloths allow you to get creative in choosing your fit, colors, and personalized design. This is a convenient way to get a functional tablecloth that meets your practical needs, but some people prefer to take their creativity a little further.

By experimenting with different materials and trying various looks, you can create truly unique table settings that express your creative preferences and immerse your guests in a one-of-a-kind experience.

Importance Of Choosing The Right Alternative

Making the right choices for your alternative tablecloth ideas is crucial. You need to create the appropriate look and get the functional properties from your chosen material. Consider your occasion and the practical needs for covering your table. Make sure the tablecloth alternative you choose meets your needs effectively.

placemats at a table for tablecloth alternatives

Should You Use A Table Without A Tablecloth If You Don’t Find An Alternative?

If you don’t have a tablecloth and can’t find a viable alternative, you could go with no table cover at all. For a basic table, the risk of spills may not be a great concern. Moreover, you can use things like placemats and coasters to provide basic protection for your tabletop.

Just bear in mind that we have suggested many cheap and readily-available ideas, and we can create customized table covers for you at affordable prices. If you want to create an aesthetically-pleasing table setting, or are really concerned about protecting your tabletop, there is no need to leave your table uncovered.

Attract attention and make a statement at your next event with our high-quality, personalized table covers.

Showcase your brand with our custom table covers!

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Alternatives To A Tablecloth

The Best Alternatives To A Tablecloth

The best alternatives include placemats, burlap sacks, drop cloths, sheets, and lace. There are many other ideas at different price points that offer differing aesthetics as well.

Some Extra ‘Cheap’ Table Cover Alternatives

The cheapest ideas for tablecloth alternatives include newspaper, fabric fabric remnants, and upcycled burlap coffee sacks.

Should You Use A Table Without A Tablecloth If You Don’t Find An Alternative?

You can do this, but you will need to bear in mind that your tabletop will be unprotected against spills and you won’t create an aesthetically-pleasing table setting.

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