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What is a Table Skirt?

By J. Beam
Updated May 16, 2024
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A table skirt is a decorative covering for a side table, end table, or other accent table. Unlike a tablecloth, it may or may not cover the top of the table and it typically drapes to the floor. There are several possible uses for a table skirt, and they mostly serve a decorative purpose, although it has some practical purposes as well.

Decoratively speaking, a table skirt is like a tablecloth in that it usually covers the top of the table in addition to all sides. Though a skirt can be attached just to the perimeter of a table, leaving the top exposed, most decorative fabric ones cover the entire table. Whether it covers the entire table or just the perimeter, it can be both a decorative and practical accent to furniture.

A side table with shelving underneath it that doubles as storage is a practical piece of furniture. If a person prefers to hide the items being stored under the table, using a skirt is a decorative way to do that. It may only be practical if the stored items are only periodically used, but the fabric does help create discreet storage space. The same is true with pedestal sinks and sink skirts.

A table skirt is also a good way to utilize furniture that may no longer match other pieces or that has worn finishes but remains sturdy. By simply covering a table with a skirt that coordinates with drapery or other upholstery in the room, it can be given new life and use. A skirt can be made from any fabric or even by attaching strings of beads or garland to an elastic band. Table skirts can also be purchased from home fashion retailers and party supply stores.

In addition to decorative uses, a table skirt may be used to dress up folding tables at events such as craft shows and trade conventions. Those made for folding tables reach around the entire perimeter of the table, allowing items to be safely and invisibly stored away underneath. At the same time, accessories such as signs and visual enhancements can be attached to and hung from the skirt.

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Discussion Comments

By galen84basc — On Sep 22, 2010

I've been looking all over for instructions on how to make a round table skirt because I have a vanity that I want to cover and use for storage.

I'm not that experienced of a seamstress, so does anybody have some good, easy tips on how to make a round table skirt for a small vanity table?

I'd appreciate it...

By Planch — On Sep 22, 2010

As with so many things, I think that table skirts are fine in moderation. For instance, using a linen banquet table skirt can really class up a table for a wedding reception without too much effort.

However, I do think that if it's not a natural cloth table skirt, like if it's a polyester table skirt or something, it's kind of like plastic on a couch -- something most people can definitely do without.

By EarlyForest — On Sep 22, 2010

This may raise some eyebrows, but I think that table skirts in general are kind of pretentious. I mean, I can understand it you're at a trade show using a table skirt, but it's another if you've got those little fitted table skirts tacked onto everything in your house.

The worst I ever saw was this lady who kept disposable plastic table skirts on every table in her house. And not just for parties, as an everyday thing! I don't know if she was trying to make the place look classier or what, but it was just terrible.

Whenever I went over to her house I was constantly afraid of ripping one of them, since it was obvious that she loved that look -- I can't imagine what would have happened if I actually did.

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