Product Guide: How to Choose Linens for Your Event

By: Marquee Event Rentals

Linens do more than protect tables and soak up spills. Table linens establish guest expectations and support your event mood or theme. A long, damask tablecloth signals an elegant event, whereas a checked tablecloth adds a sense of fun. 

Our event rental specialists share their tips for choosing the right style and combination of linens for your next event. The products listed below are simply a sample of our extensive inventory. Not seeing what you’re looking for? We invite you to contact us today

Choosing Linens for an Event

Here are a few things to consider when choosing the style, color, and types of linens for your event:

What is the existing decor? Choose colors that harmonize with existing elements such as the carpet, drapes, wall color, etc. If your event is outdoors, our experts recommend muted colors during spring and summer and bold colors for colder months -- unless your theme is winter white.

Is the event casual or formal? White or off-white colored linens are a classic choice for formal events. If you prefer a pop of color, choose an elegant fabric such as damask, organza, pintuck or satin. Formal events also require longer tablecloths that fall at least 12 inches or extend to the floor. Casual events can have shorter tablecloths (6-8 inch drops).

What is your event theme? For country chic, simple linen tablecloths with pastel ribbon chair sashes are classy and fun. Planning an elegant evening event? Consider black satin tablecloths with gold table runners. Corporate events and conferences get an added boost from linens in branded company colors.

Will you use centerpieces? If your centerpiece is colorful or elaborate, ensure your linen choices don’t compete for attention. For evening events, it can be fun to include lights as part of your centerpiece and showcase them using shiny fabric such as satin or organza to enhance the glow. 

Popular Linen Rental Options

Napkins - Choose a color and style that complement your tablecloth and runner. Depending on the other table elements, you could fold the napkins into interesting shapes. Generally speaking, the less elaborate your table setting, the more interesting your napkin folds could be. A three-pocket fold is a lovely touch for elegant evenings, whereas a single-pocket fold pairs perfectly with a rustic garden party.

Tablecloths - If you want your tables to take centerstage, choose a bold color or pattern. That said, white or off-white is always a safe choice for formal events. Planning a wedding? Linens are the finishing touch and there’s no need to play it safe. Mix and match colors, patterns, and textures.

Table Runners - Table runners are the best way to add shimmer, shine, and color to your table. Patterned fabric and bold colors draw attention. If you don’t want to upstage your centerpiece, choose a narrow runner or a monochromatic color. 

Ties, Sashes, and Chair Covers

Chair decor goes a long way in elevating the ambiance of your event.

A simple chair sash or tie adds warmth and a touch of class. Choose a chair cover in a colorful knit for a garden party or bridal shower, or amp up the elegance with chair cover in organza with medallion detail, or lace with a jeweled belt. For true luxury, opt for a luxe velvet cover complete with cushion and floor-length skirt.

Further reading: How to choose rental chairs for your event

Renting Linens for an Event?

View our design boards for inspiration and ideas, or browse our linen rental options online. You can use our convenient filter tool to narrow by color, shape, size, or material. 

The event experts at Marquee are at your service. We’re happy to make recommendations and even set up a sample table for you so you can see how all your elements work together. Contact a local expert in Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Austin, Dallas, or San Antonio for a complimentary consultation