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Table linens transform the look and feel of any meal, whether it be a Thanksgiving dinner or a family picnic. They are appropriate for formal and casual occasions alike. Whether pure white or a fashionable color, crisply ironed table linens will be appreciated by all.
Table linens, also known as napery, are a category of household linens that includes tablecloths, table runners, place mats, napkins and even napkin rings. Centuries ago, linen tablecloths were used to create a festive appearance on the crude tables that were set up for feasts and banquets. In those times, table utensils were primitive and guests would use the long draped edges of the tablecloth to wipe their mouths and hands after eating. Linen runners were used to cover the serving boards at the side of the room.
During the nineteenth century, the dining room became a common feature in many homes. Stylish dining tables and sideboards came into vogue and large napkins, used in the manner of bibs, were developed for wiping one's hands and mouth after dining. Dining tablecloths and sideboard runners were usually made of white damask. Linen place mats were sometimes placed on the tablecloth to designate the head of the household or an honored guest at the table.
Today, fashionable table linens are made from easy-care polyester and linen/cotton blends as well as pure linen; they are available in various colors and styles, sometimes with embroidery. Colorful tablecloths with coordinating napkins and napkin rings are used to accent the dining room decor. Table runners are often placed down the middle of a dining room table as a decorative accent, and are still used to protect sideboards. Place mats on bare tables have become commonplace, and are used more frequently than tablecloths because they are easier to clean. In some cases, place mats are placed on top of a tablecloth for decorative purposes.
TableLinens.us features table linen care tips as well as convenient access to selected table linen shops and leading table linen suppliers. For more detailed information about Irish linens, our readers are encouraged to visit the Irish Linen Guild website, which is published by a well-known linen industry trade organization.
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