How to Use Table Runners

Posted on 09/01/2020 at 09:30 AM by Deonna Adams

Everything You've Always Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask about Table Runners

A table runner on a farmhouse table

Oftentimes when thinking about table runners people either love them or hate them. There are no hard fast rules when it comes to how to use a table runner. However, they can play a key role in how your room comes together.

A table runner is like a beautiful scarf draped around the neck. From the dining room tables to coffee tables with a shorter table runner, much like a scarf, a table runner can be a beautiful accessory to any table.

When trying to add accent colors to a room a  runner can give your room a complete look. In this guide, we will answer common questions people have when using table runners. 

Why use a table runner?

photo of a floral table runner layout recommended by American Country Home Store

Centuries ago people used table runners on their dining tables to protect the table linens underneath. These runners were often made of natural fibers of woven fabric. However, modern-day table runners do more than protect the table cloth, they can change the overall look of the room in an instant. They can add color and bring in texture. 

And of course, they are practical! Just in case you have an accident and someone spills a drink a runner will save you time and your table. If your table is in bad condition a runner can hide stains and marks on an old table.

They are also an inexpensive way to add some color and accent the color scheme to spark interest in a room. With unique diagonal lines, diagonal patterns, unique or even plain weaves in runners placed at the center of the table, these strategically placed runners can even be a great conversation starter!

When should you use a table runner?

Black and red buffalo check table runner and napkins

Table runners can be used at any time and are good for daily use. When a mess is made (depending on the material of your runner) simply put it into the washing machine, wipe the table down and you're done. Many people change their runner seasonally and for special occasions. 

If you want to change the mood of the room easily switch it out to change things up. Add other home decor accessories to contribute to the theme of the room. Table runners come in different types of fabrics. Cotton and twill runners are great for everyday use. A lace runner goes well with traditional style, and more luxurious fabrics such as velvet and silk will give your room a more upscale look.

How do you decorate with a table runner?

photo a table runner with floral centerpiece as recommended by American Country Home Store

As mentioned before table runners are great for bringing a room together and giving it that wow factor. If using a centerpiece use a table runner to highlight the centerpiece. If you want to introduce a bold color into a room use a runner to add a pop of color. 

For example, many people decorate with the color red around Christmas. Instead of decorating the whole room with mostly red why not add a splash of red in a table runner, napkins, or placemats. Then add your accent colors such as white, gold, or silver and other accessories. This way the boldest color in the room won’t be overpowering.

Create a layering effect when placing table runners on a round table.

Place two table runners making an X on a round table. Then place the table setting on each empty section of the table. Then finish the look with a centerpiece in the middle. My favorite is a fresh flower bouquet.

Can you use table runners for other types of tables?

photo of linear patterns on table runners placed strategically to accent a place setting

Absolutely! This is one of the great things about them. Get creative! Use them over a fireplace mantel. Protect your coffee table and ditch the use of coasters. In your foyer, if you have a table in the hallway use a table runner and change it up with the changing seasons. The right table runner will give your house a homey feel as soon as you come into the house.

We love decorating and we would love to hear how you used a table runner in your home. Contact us at or submit a response below!



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