Table Linens

Complement your classic style with French table linens

No formal dining room table's setting can begin, and no dining room's look can be complete, without table linens. For traditional yet quaint style, choose French table linens. Classic French linens are all about bold colors, and intricate pattern and detail -- although these features express themselves in a wide variety of ways. Some French linens are covered in colorful floral patterns that border on country chic, while others display objects of a certain theme, such as the seaside, while still others have only thick, strong stripes.

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Designer Dining Room: Fine Table Linens

If you want your table linens to bear a name to wear, a name worth repeating over dessert and coffee, there are certainly some well-known designer brands of linens to choose from. While some French table linen designs can perhaps be a little busy and cute, American designers like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren tend to keep to bold yet simple types of French-inspired patterns.

Most Calvin Klein table linens feature one solid bold or neutral color, with a simple geometric pattern, such as circles, flowers or stripes, in a secondary color -- often a lighter or darker shade of the main fabric color.

The line of Ralph Lauren table linens includes many geometric designs as well, but also features some patterns more recognizably derived from French styles, such as multi-colored floral patterns.

Other Options for Your Table Linens

Understandably, if you have a brand-new, hand-carved or beautifully restored antique dining table, you are likely not too anxious to be covering it up with table linen, regardless of how beautiful that linen might be.

One compromise is to use an overlay made from a thin embroidered silk or other translucent material; an overlay is usually an additional linen layer placed over the main one, but if you use it on its own, then you will have a linen on your dining room table that still allows your guests to admire the table itself.

Another possibility is to give your table an "area rug" linen -- choose one that is large enough to place all the serving dishes for the meal on, but smaller than the surface area of the table so that the linen accents the table rather than covers it up.