The History and Benefits of Their Use



The table runner was born in the Middle Ages, mainly because medieval folks were sloppy. The tablecloth was considered an aristocratic innovation, but it needed protection from lively and careless royal revelers who spilled, drooled and made a mess!  No doubt, the wise women responsible for laundering linens came up with the innovative idea for the table runner in an effort to save the tablecloths from unnecessary laundering.  Napkins were also invented because it was no longer considered acceptable to wipe your mouth on the tablecloth.

These ingenious long, narrow pieces of cloth now known as “table runners” were placed over the tablecloths. They were gathered up at the end of the meal for washing and the tablecloths remained intact and clean. The table runner along with tablecloths became fixtures in everyone’s collection of linens by the 15th century.

To view Miranda Table Runners from Premier Table Runners, Click Here

IMG_1821Burlap Jute Table Runners from Premier Table Linens.


Premier Table Linens also makes Custom Printed Burlap Table Runners


To see the Havana Linen Table Runner collection, now available in 13 new vibrant colors (15 colors in all), Click Here

Table Runners

Table Runners performed many different tasks in well decorated homes – they were used on the bare table or on tablecloths to protect or add a bit of style, especially for that special occasion or holiday. They were also used to create visual balance for full place settings.  They served as a backdrop for a piece of art, unified decorative elements and helped to make a design statement.

The most popular way to use table runners is to place them lengthwise in the center of the table or over the tablecloth to cover the full length, with a 6″ to 12″ drop on opposite ends.  Sometimes a shorter length is used to compliment a centerpiece.  Another design option is to place more than one runner across the width of the table so the table runner also serves the purpose of placemats while providing a little extra coverage to catch spills and drips.




Table Runner fabrics and designs we see today range in style from simple to ornate, depending on the event and decorator.  Some runners have a finished hem while others are cut and allowed to fray. There are runners with fancy tassels on the ends, as well as flat, fringed or pointed end table runners. They are made from all sorts of materials including cloth (silk, linen, cotton, and polyester), vinyl, plastic, and paper; and in a variety of ways including handmade, machine-made, embroidered, quilted, and beaded in a variety of designs, patterns, colors, and sizes.

There are numerous types of table runners ranging from Casual to Formal and everything in-between.  Runners can add extra design without being overwhelming. When table decoration is important, sometimes a runner can add just the right touch of pattern, design or accent without taking over the design of the entire table and making it too busy when combined with the china and other decor.




Table runners provide a terrific way to “dress up” a kitchen or dining room table. Instead of covering the entire table, a table runner covers only the middle section of the table, “running” the length or width of the table. They come in a variety of widths and sizes designed for different length tables, and also have many patterns from which to choose.  Because they are smaller and use less fabric, they are less expensive than tablecloths and they take up less room to store in the linen closet.




Some people use table runners on a bare table, buffet bar or table, to provide extra color and protection to the center of their table. They might purchase coordinating place mats to create more protection of the table at each place setting. Smaller runners can make the perfect tablecloth for coffee tables, buffets and consoles.  I like to place table runners and coordinating napkins on a buffet table before arranging all of the food dishes.  Table runners provide an extra layer of protection from heat, moisture and spills while adding a “pulled together” look.


Pointy Runner 2


Table Runners can also be placed over a coordinating tablecloth. This can add an extra layer and it may be a terrific choice when a person wants to add a specific theme to a decorated table. For example, you might have solid color tablecloths for use year round and then buy assorted table runners that have a holiday or special event color theme. Wedding reception linens may feature table runners over cloths to reflect the bride’s color scheme and color choices.  I love using table runners for this reason.  They allow for a variety of tablescape design possiblities using fewer sets of tablecloths.  Table Runners make it possible to transition from one holiday or special event to another with ease and to create a number of different looks for a more economical price.




Table runners are designed to compliment your table settings. They add a great touch of elegance to any occasion. Table runners also provide an elegant finishing touch for your tablecloths. Whatever your occasion, they will enhance and make your table setting even more beautiful and stylish.

Premier Table Linens offers 12 Table Runner fabrics:  Poly Premier, Majestic, Poly Stripe, Poly Check, Pintuck, Somerset, Melrose, Saxony, Kenya, Miranda and Taffeta. In addition, in the tablecloth categories under Burlap, Faux Burlap and Sequins, you will find the popular Burlap runners, Faux Burlap and Sequin runners.

Available with square ends,  pointed ends, the choice of one end square and one end pointed or as shown below with the jute burlap table runner photo, fringed.

To view More Burlap Table Runner Tablescape ideasclick here.


To see the entire line of Table Runners offered by Premier Table Linens, Click Here

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