Standard Size Of A Table Runner

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

A table runner adds a festive touch to your decorative tablescape, provides protection from spills, and helps tie your design together. You can find them in several sizes to fit various tables, so there’s more than one standard size of table runner. But no matter the size, you should always follow a few basic guidelines.

Table runners should overhang the table by 6 inches on each side. However, they should only extend up to the edge of the tablecloth. The width should be only one-third of your table’s width. Common standard sizes of table runners are 10 to 17 inches wide, and they can be anywhere from 36 to 108 inches long.

Table runners are a popular item when decorating a dining table, but they come in many styles and sizes. Therefore, it’s good to be familiar with some basic suggestions to find the best one for your table.

What Size Should A Table Runner Be?

A table runner should be approximately one-third the width of your table and 12 inches longer than the length. However, there isn’t one hard and fast rule about appropriate table runner use. Depending on your situation, occasion, table, and other factors, you might tweak your table runner’s size.

But the basic rule of thumb is your table runner should hang over the sides of your table about 6 inches. Therefore, to extend beyond each side of the table 6 inches, the table runner would be 12 inches longer than your table.

An exception to this will be if your tablecloth is shorter than this. It’s usually ideal not to have your table runner hang longer than the tablecloth. Doing so could make your overall design seem unbalanced and awkward.

The drop of most tablecloths (the part that hangs past the table) is between 6 and 12 inches. Therefore, the 6-inch overhang rule for table runners usually works. But if your tablecloth drop is shorter than this, consider adjusting your table runner length.

When shopping for table runners, you won’t find one standard size but instead several different options.

Popular Table Runner Sizes

Some of the most common table runner sizes range from 13 to 17 inches wide and 36 to 108 inches long. Here are some popular table runner sizes (in inches) you can find at most home goods stores and online shops.

  • 13 x 36
  • 13 x 48
  • 13 x 54
  • 13 x 72
  • 13 x 90
  • 13 x 108
  • 14 x 36
  • 14 x 48
  • 14 x 54
  • 14 x 60
  • 14 x 72
  • 14 x 90
  • 14 x 108
  • 15 x 36
  • 15 x 48
  • 15 x 72
  • 15 x 90
  • 15 x 108
  • 16 x 90
  • 16 x 108
  • 17 x 70
  • 17 x 90
  • 17 x 108

But you can also find sizes that are longer, narrower, or wider than these standard sizes. However, they might not be as easy or as common to find. Although nowadays, with the abundant product variety of the online marketplace, it’s easier than ever to find what you need.

Can A Table Runner Be Shorter Than The Table?

Some people might choose to use a table runner shorter than the table. However, this works best if you use a runner that you can center in the middle of the table. Then, you can use it to create more of a focal point.

Otherwise, it could end up looking like you just couldn’t find the right size for your table. Shorter table runners work better for a more casual dining setting. A longer table runner works best if you’re having a formal event.

Another time a shorter table runner might be preferable is if you have a particularly gorgeous table. Using a shorter table runner allows you to show off your table’s natural beauty and make it part of your overall design.

Does A Table Runner Have To Hang Over The Ends Of A Table?

Traditionally a table runner hangs over the ends of a table about 6 inches on each side. This is the most common usage and is often the best choice for formal events and a more elegant look.

However, it isn’t unheard of for a table runner to end at the edge of a table. Especially if there will be a place setting at each end. This can be a solution if you have a tablecloth with a very short drop. It can also work well if you aren’t using a tablecloth.

Keep in mind that this arrangement will provide a more casual design. Another option is to use multiple matching table runners and place them widthwise across your table.

Doing this helps separate place settings and creates a sense of unity across the tabletop.

Placing table runners across the width of your table also works well if you have a very long table.

If you opt for this look, use a table runner for every other place setting. Also, ensure the table runner is wide enough to accommodate the place setting to maintain a sense of symmetry.

How Long Should A Table Runner Be For A Six-Foot Table?

A table runner should be 84 inches long for a 6-foot table. Since the table is 72 inches, you simply add 12 inches to the length. This length allows the runner to drop 6 inches on each end of the table.

Remember to base the width of the table runner on one-third of the table’s width. Therefore, if you have a table that is 36 inches wide, the runner should be 12 inches wide. If the table is 42 inches wide, the runner should be 14 inches wide.

How Long Should A Table Runner Be For A Five-Foot Round Table?

If you have a five-foot round table, the runner should be 72 inches long and 20 inches wide. Again these standards are meant to serve as rough guidelines. Ultimately, it’s your design, and you can do what you want.

If you’re struggling to find a table runner wide enough in a style you like, you could get a custom runner. Or you could make your own or get creative. Place two matching runners that are each 10-inches wide side by side.

Then, place decorative candles, flowers, etc., down the center to cover the seam. Or, put a contrasting yet complementary 10-inch runner over the middle where the others meet to create a layered effect.

How Long Should A Table Runner Be For An 80-Inch Table?

An 80-inch table would look best with a 92-inch long table runner. Just make sure the runner isn’t longer than the tablecloth. This length also allows the runner to drop 6 inches on each side of the table.

How Long Should A Table Runner Be For A 90-Inch Table?

If you have a 90-inch table, look for a table runner that is 102 inches long. You should be able to find ready-made runners this length. Look for extra-long runners when searching for 102 or 108 inches long or more.

Do You Use Placemats With A Table Runner?

You can use placemats with a table runner to add definition and texture to your tablescape. Placemats help define the separate table settings. Look for ones similar in color or texture to your table runner.

You want your overall design to appear cohesive and balanced. If you have more than four placemats and a larger table, you might place your table runners widthwise.

You may decide to forgo placemats instead of placing them on top of the runner. However, that means every other setting would also be without a placemat. This arrangement could work if you have an attractive table and use chargers under your plates.

Or, layer the placemats on top of the table runner and go for it. Overall, you want to make sure you love the finished look. If you do, then it works, placemats or no placemats.

What If My Table Runner Is Too Long?

If your table runner is too long, you could alter it, fold it, pin it, or use an alternative. The last thing you want to deal with when preparing for a fancy dinner is ill-sized table linens.

If you know ahead of time the table runner is too long, but you love the style, alter it. This option is easiest with solid colors and sewable fabrics. You can cut the table runner in half widthwise and cut off the excess fabric. Then, stitch it back together in the middle and hide the seam with your table’s centerpiece.

If you realize too late your table runner is too long, don’t sweat it. Fold it over on itself in the middle, pin it in place, and place a larger centerpiece on top.

A final choice is to scrap the table runner entirely and choose an alternative option. You could find other creative ways to create the look of a runner on your table.

The alternative you choose will depend on what you have available and your desired style. Some options are scarves, layering doilies or placemats, placing rustic boards, decorative trays, burlap, or wrapping paper.


Table runners come in a variety of standard sizes, ranging from 10 to 17 inches wide and 36 to 108 inches long. Some sizes are more common than others, and you can also find ones longer, narrower, and wider.

The ideal look is hanging over the end of the table 6 inches on each side without going past the tablecloth. The width of the table runner should be one-third the width of the table. Of course, it’s your design, so your table runner size is ultimately up to you.

You could choose to go shorter than the table, stop at the ends, or use an alternate option. Whatever you decide, as long as you love the final look, then it’s perfect just the way it is.

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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