Luna Wedding & Event Supplies Blog: How to Style and Set Up Table Runners

How to Style and Set Up Table Runners

Ah, tables. For many kinds of events, the tables are one of the most important components of the overall decorative scheme.

That means that careful thought should always go into how they’re dressed, set and decorated. And if you’re looking for a tried and true way to level up your table decorations, table runners are often the best tool for the job.

But what exactly are table runners and how can you use them to decorate? With this blog post, we’re taking a closer look at this often-used, but under-appreciated piece of decorative linen, to help you decide which kinds are best for your event, and how you can make the most of the humble table runner.

What are table runners?

Table runners are a long, narrow form of tablecloth. Usually designed to run the length of the table directly down the middle, these stylish, decorative linens can be used to protect the surface of your table just as easily as for adding a splash of colour, texture and class to your table tops.

Table runners can be made from a variety of materials, used alone or combined with a tablecloth, and are an all-around versatile decorative element to consider adding to your event.

Different types and styles of table runners



Table runners come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, lengths, colours and materials. Being so spoilt for choice can make it hard to decide which kinds of table runners work for your event. So, before we jump into some decorating advice, it makes sense to begin by surveying which options are available to you.

  • Table runner colours - Like all decorative linens, table runners come in all kinds of colours, tones and finishes. For an elegant, sophisticated wedding, you could try matching satin white table runners with white tablecloths, or opt for silver or ivory to create some colour contrast on your tables. If you’re going for a relaxed, but opulent look for your event, you can opt for a textured finish with velvet table runners in any number of tones.

  • Table runner materials - Table runners also come in a variety of materials, each of which can evoke a different vibe for your event. If you’re looking for a rustic addition to your decorative scheme, consider hessian table runners. This loose-weave material brings a down-to-earth, uncomplicated charm to any event, and looks fantastic bunched up or laid flat.

  • Special table runners - For some events, the less common options make the most sense. If you’re throwing a party and need an extra hit of flair, try sequin table runners. These reflective beauties are fabulous and flamboyant, bringing unmatched opulence to every table.

    If you’re looking for a subtle, textural addition to your tables, try organza table runners. This sheer material can be bunched up to add texture and weight to your table look, and even tied off at both ends for a stylish finish.

    How to pick the right table runners for an event or wedding

    Table runners can be an incredibly impactful aspect of your event decorations, so it makes sense to carefully consider how they will fit into your overall style, theme and location. Some important things to think about include

    Your tablescapes

    Since table runners are designed for the tabletop, the first thing to consider is how you’d like to decorate your tables. If you’re going for a rustic, understated look sans tablecloths, then your table runner will most likely be the centrepiece of your tabletops. For these tables, a gauzy, loose-weave and slightly bunched linen look could be the perfect textual counterpoint to the minimalist tablescape. 

    You’ll also want to make sure your table runner complements your settings, including napkins and placemats if you’re using them. Place some evenly-spaced floral arrangements, serving equipment, water jugs, candles or whatever else you need along the table runner to tie your tablescapes together beautifully.

    Your event’s colour scheme

    It’s no secret that your table decorations are going to stand out at any event. Whether you’re planning an elegant, chic wedding reception, or a lively dinner party, you’ll want to make sure your table runners have some continuity with your overall colour scheme.

    For example, if your wedding colours are classic white with a subtle accent like beige, or bold contrast tones like black or gold, you could match your table runner to this accent colour. Pair with white tablecloths for an in-theme and completely gorgeous table scheme.

    What kinds of tables you’re decorating

    While table runners work on most table types, the shape, size and purpose of your tables should indicate what kinds of table runners you opt for, whether you want them to hang over the edge, how wide they should be, along with many other factors.

    One of the more common decorative choices is to decorate long, rectangular tables with narrow table runners along the middle of the table. This centres the tablescape nicely, and will provide an eye-catching divider between table settings on opposite sides. These runners are usually about a third of the width of the tabletop and can hang over the table edges for an elegant look, bunch on the ground, or stop short of the edges to help frame the place settings.

    Table runners can also be sued to dress up round dining tables, creating a sense of movement or direction with your table decorations. They can also be used on non-dining surfaces, including side tables, cocktail tables, gift tables and more. Wherever you envision using table runners, be sure to consider the type of table and its purpose, and work from there to decide which kind of table runner to use.

    Materials, textures and tones

     In addition to colour, you’ll also want to think about the textures, tones and materials you use to decorate your event when deciding on table runners. Like all fabric decorations, table runners come in a wide variety of materials and textures.

     When you need a touch of elegance on your tables, a satin or velvet table runner can be a good choice. These dense, opaque materials provide a strong sense of separation between sides of the table and contrast well with any underlying tablecloth.

    Alternatively, if you’re going for a shabby-chic, relaxed look, loose materials like hessian, linen and organza can be perfect. Combine with plain, light-coloured tablecloths to dress them up, or use directly on bare table surfaces for a beautifully rustic feel.

    How to keep table runners in place and prevent them from slipping

    Like any tabletop decoration, table runners are liable to move or slip over the course of your events. But fear not, there’s plenty you can do to keep your decorations firmly in place, comfortable and looking fantastic throughout your entire event.

    Firstly, if you have large, heavy items to decorate your tables like vases, these can be placed on top of your table runners to prevent slippage. You could also place rubber gripping sheets underneath your opaque table runners, especially in cases where you’re laying table runners over bare tables. 

    Finally, just as with tablecloths, you could also opt for table clips at either end of your table to hold the runners in place. These can be more or less subtle depending on the colour and texture of your table runners, but will always hold your decorations firmly in place.

    So, whether you’re pulling out all the decorative stops, or you’re looking for a subtle addition to your event, table runners can provide exactly what you’re looking for. Be sure to consider whether a table runner is right for your event and let us provide the right linens for the job.

    In the meantime, be sure to follow Luna Wedding & Event Supplies on Instagram for gorgeous decor ideas, and to see our amazing decorations and products in action.

    ‘Til next month xx