Psychology of a Tablecloth

You know the holidays are over when the pace picks up around the house.
Schedules need to be met, homework has to be done and so on and often
you feel lucky just to get everyone sitting around the table at the same time.
Some nights we are lucky to get the place mats on the table. 

Tablecloths have always been for special occasions. It was like that when
I was growing up as well.  I am not sure why, but that is just how it worked.
These past holidays I decided to make use of a tablecloth each day, 
all day and I started to notice a change. Everyone tended to linger...
more food, more thought, more conversation.

With the holidays over I put it all away but then I missed it...that extra something.
Tonight I was curious. Out came the tablecloth and it happened again. 
Family Talk.

 We lingered, recounted our day and took time to appreciate each other. 
As I write, the family is sleeping and the kitchen table 
sits covered with a tablecloth, waiting for morning. 

How about you, do you use a tablecloth?

Did your Mother or Grandmother use one?

If so, when and how often?
Would love to know!
We can call it psychology of a tablecloth :)

 Images William Sonoma
with exception of second from last

PS..the last few posts are what you resort to thinking 
about when you are home and onto week three of the flu. 
Slowly getting better and looking forward 
to getting out and about soon :)

In the meantime...are you a fan of Candice Bergen?

more here


  1. Sorry that you are still feeling poorly Jeanne.
    Your loss however is our gain. Wonderful, entertaining posts. Tablecloths...I adore them. One of the most endearing legacies of my mother-in-law is her linen closet and her beautiful tablecloths. My father-in-law hasn't quite reached the point where he can separate from all of these beautiful cloths, but with four granddaughters waiting in the wings, they will all go to good homes.

  2. Dear Jeanne,
    We have an oak table and don't use a tablecloth. I like to see the white china against the wood and that Georgian feel about dining......but, I have nothing against the tablecloth.
    We always had a tablecloth when I was a child so, I like a table with and without !!
    Have a lovely week Jeanne, getting better eaach day. XXXX

  3. My Nanny still uses a table cloth. I went there for dinner recently and she had a pretty white table cloth ready on the table.
    She even has a tablecloth on her kitchen table. I need to get myself a new pretty tablecloth.
    Oh if it were only that simple to gather everyone at the table and have them linger a little longer...
    Hope you are feeling better and out and about soon.
    I am going to add a link here to the post about visiting my Nanny.

  4. Everyday tablecloths - what wonderful memories. The tablecloths made of oilcloth didn't seem to do the trick of keeping people lingering at the table, but it was another story when the table was covered in something soft and pretty. Mama and one of my grandmothers usually used oilcloth, except on special occasions. However, my other grandmother had a soft white tablecloth on her table at all times, which made you slow down, enjoy the food, and share your day, of course with a large linen napkin in your lap.

  5. I think a tablecloth adds warmth. I think a tablecloth makes dinner feel special. Growing up, my Mom used a tablecloth for special occassions. I think I will use a tablecloth more often. Thanks for this post!

  6. I love, love, love tablecloths but I admit that I go through phases of using place mats and tablecloths. I'll go for months with placemats, and just get the urge to change it up and will use tablecloths for months. But I almost always :-) use cloth napkins. Well, except for really big gatherings and super casual events where we need certain fun colors. Then I'll opt for the paper nap :-) Blessings, Janet (Hope you feel better real soon!)

  7. I love a tablecloth. I go to flea markets and buy king size matelasse coverlets and have them cut and sewn to fit as round table cloths. They clean beautifully and are usually less expensive than store bought.

  8. I too love tablecloths, and have a collection of linen tablecloths I bought from second hand stores. They are all hand embroidered. Very old-fashioned.

    I must admit they do come out on special occasions.

    Hope that you feel better real soon.

  9. I do enjoy tablecloths. Tablecloths were used on both sides of my family when I was a child on special occassions by the family hosting the dinner.

    When we lived in Ukraine I had a linen table cloth embroidered in a Christmas motif. I gave the tablecloth to a dear friend. She said she burst into tears at the site of the tablecloth when she opened the package. I believe, because of what a tablecloth meant to her (used for special occasions with her extended family) and understanding the work entailed in a large hand embroidered piece.

    We use cloth napkins everday. We use tableclothes on special occasions.

  10. What an interesting thought! I am a placemate-daughter, too! Means I grew up with placemats. Until 16, 17 we actually had lunch in at the kitchen bar, never at the dining room table! Only dinner ... And there the TV Set ruled. :-(
    Returning from the countryside I noticed in the old farmer's house all tables (kitchen and dining room) had table cloths, handmade, with linen that had been spun in the house. We felt very 1910. :-)
    Whenever I feel like Mr Paual and I need more talking, I will pull out the table cloth, thank you Jeanne for this food for thougt!

  11. Sorry that you're still under the weather.

    My grandmother and mother didn't use tablecloth - except for special occasions - I, however, always use tablecloths because I think every day should be a special occasion, and as you write - it just makes people want to sit there.

  12. Hola Jeanne! Yo adoro los manteles y me gustan los de buen algodón o de linos... Y clásicos a cuadros tipo italianos! Y en mi casa, la mesa familiar es un disfrute siempre!! Besos, Gloria.

  13. Hi lovely lady.
    I use a Tabecloths all the time on my Tablescapes for the Romantic look or the look for family or just the wood look~~ I love all the Tablecloths you have just BEAUTIFUL ~~ I have been a follower on your blog for a long time. I hope you can come over and see some of my Tablescapes and be a follower. I hope you have a nice day! I also hope you get better sweet lady.

  14. Hi Jeanne, I too am sorry you are on week 3 no less of being ill. I am seeing the Dr. tomorrow as I can't seem to shake it either. I don't use table cloths on our everyday table BUT...if it weren't so modern I think it would. My mom (& grandmothers) used them a lot and all had gorgeous ones. I love what you observed and I'm taking it to heart. Now, take good care of yourself.
    xx Deb

  15. I gew up with lace tablecloths that my mother and grandmother both used on their dining room tables. I am a diverse day pretty bold tablecloth, the next a textured quilt on it...very French,...the next a layered look (my fav) with several cloths and maybe a table runner. I also use placemats (there now) for a more minimalist look because the table's wood is beautiful too.
    Jeanne, I wish there were some magic pill to making you feel better!! You need a trip to someplace warm and sunny to recouperate in...I will gladly carry your luggage!!
    Really, hoping you feel well soon!!!

  16. Hi Jeanne
    Well for me it depends on the table.. I have a small round one which I like to cover with a cloth as I just like the way it looks draped... but my larger dark wood table.. i really like the look of the wood so don't often cover that one up..

    It was the same for us as children... the tablecloth was only put into use for special occasions.. perhaps no-one wanted to do that extra washing.. or perhaps four children were more behaved during special occasions and less likely to stain the cloth.. hahaha.. either way I find your psychology of a tablecloth fascinating... and lovely to think of you all spending these moments together...

    Have a lovely week and thank for the comments re our poor neighbours up north.. some blogger friends are really in the thick of it.. xxx Julie

  17. I just LOVE tablecloths, especially the ones in those lovely photos you posted. I wish I had more. I love the image of your family sleeping and the table covered with the tablecloth waiting for the morning.

  18. We have a massively long table (well, two tables put together) because when we all eat together there are nine of us (!) so although I love tablecloths I usually resort to pretty placemats. If I found time I could make a table cloth big enough. Or we do put two white ones together for special dinners. And I found a beautifully garish stripey one in the South of France (with 12 matching napkins!) that I sometimes use but it's a devil to iron...

    PS Get better soon!

  19. HI Jeanne
    So sorry you are still unwell - the flu/cold bug this year does seem specially hard to shift.
    How interesting that you notice a change in behaviour when the tablecloth is out! I'm going to start paying attention.
    I never use a tablecloth on the wooden table in our kitchen, (maybe that should change), but in the dining room often for family, always for dinners.
    My children love it when we have Sunday breakfast at the dining table that still has dinner party tablecloth, candles and flowers laid!
    Tablecloths yes, but don't ask me to do proper napkins for every day!

  20. Dear Jeanne so sorry to hear that you are still poorly - I hope you are on the road to recovery! I have a lovely Cath Kidston cloth on my kitchen table and we always sit down to our meals there and I do think that it is such a lovely homely thing to sit down together every evening and eat and talk!

  21. What a lovely collection of tablecloths in this post. That was a neat experiment you did, too. Who knew, tablecloths would lead to lingering and good family time! I used to use tablecloths quite often. When ever I wanted things to be a little nicer or when we had people over, and yes for holidays. My grandma didn't use tablecloths, but my mom did and it was her and I that definitely had a thing for antique linens. I still do, but have less use for them now - since the huge wood table went to another family and we have a glasstop table now... but I miss them. Of course we still use cloth napkins, and that gives me a fun linen thing to look for!
    I really hope you get all better - and soon!

  22. very sweet post. I love table cloths Jeanne. The moment you change them the atmosphere is so new and fresh!! I missed coming to ur space. Been busy with work. But am back, with a bang!! :) And you are missed in my space to. Do visit sometime :)

    Take Care!!



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