The Vinyl Tablecloth to Beat All Others

April 11, 2010

Vinyl tablecloths made out of colorful oilcloth are my favorite way to “redecorate” a boring kitchen or dining room. The fabric’s print and bright colors become the focal point of the room, and a throwing in a few new little accessories can completely change the look of a room without the bother or expense of repainting, laying new flooring, or buying new drapes. For people who live in apartment buildings where painting the interior walls is discouraged, this sort of redecorating option is a godsend. And it is so kind on the wallet!
On the more practical side, having a vinyl tablecloth of any sort is absolutely ideal for day-to-day cleaning up and for protecting the wood surface of your tables. When buying your new oilcloth tablecloth, think about whether you need to provide even more protection for your dining room table. Perhaps it is an antique, or maybe you just live with folks who are really hard on the furniture. No matter. Just be sure to order a tablecloth with a layer of padding on the back, and you needn’t give it a second thought.
Another way to ensure that your table is truly protected (while still looking gorgeous), is to use a fitted tablecloth. Usually these come in plain colors, but occasionally they can be found in more interesting patterns. A fitted style will help keep it from shifting around on the table’s surface, which is especially useful when there are small children in the house, as they sometimes like to pull on the fabric that hangs down at their eye level.
For outdoor use (patio furniture), an oilcloth tablecloth is a time-honored classic, and infinitely practical. There is a good reason that so many people use them! Their waterproof nature protects them from rain and damp, and they are usually fade resistant, so the colors last. If you are concerned about the wind blowing your tablecloth around, consider buying a weighted vinyl tablecloth, or adding small fishing weights around the hem of the cloth. This is a trick that interior designers use with drapes to make them hang nicely, and it is very, very easy. If you would prefer not to deal with this, you can take the tablecloth and the little fishing weights to your local drycleaner/seamstress and ask them to put them on.
When buying for your outdoor furniture, remember to consider all of the things that you can add color to, and that could benefit from a waterproof covering. Yes, you will buy a lovely new vinyl tablecloth for the big round patio table, but what about the chair cushions? Some people like to buy an extra, matching tablecloth to make waterproof drapes out of, or they make their redwood tables much more comfy by adding foam padding to the top of their benches, then stapling oilcloth around it (secured under the bench surface with a staple gun or upholstery tacks). These simple projects make a huge difference in creating the look of your outdoor relaxation area, and they guarantee that none of your neighbors will have the same look!
As you can see, your grandmother had the right idea when she covered her nice tables in oilcloth tablecloths! They made her home and backyard look lovely and vibrant, and she made her clean-up work a whole lot easier.*Red Toile Oilcloth image to the right is from Modern June (oilcoth by the yard, aprons, and more).

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