A Fresh Tablecloth Makes Everything Better

Really? Does a fresh, clean tablecloth really make everything better?

It doesn’t heal you when you’re sick. It doesn’t take away life’s frustrations and grief. It doesn’t make the “to-do” list go away or suddenly give you an empty laundry hamper. It certainly won’t make sure your bills are paid.

But every single time I get our table cleaned off, our kitchen counters wiped down, the leftovers put away, the dishwasher humming – and I lay down a clean, fresh tablecloth – I suddenly feel as though I can breathe again. I find it extremely refreshing.


It probably sounds silly, simplistic, and maybe even a tiny bit ridiculous to those who could really care less about a tablecloth. But I find that a clean tablecloth gives me a fresh start – even if it’s just a fresh start to the morning or the afternoon. The next time I walk into the kitchen to serve my family, I can look at the table and say, “Aaaaahhhhhhhh”, instead of looking at it with discouragement because it is covered with school books, crumbs, maple syrup drippings, dirty dishes, and a variety of Lego people or paper airplanes. I’m all about letting our house have a “lived in” look, because indeed, we do very much live here. But it is no fun to cook a meal around a huge mess. 

When I begin with a less cluttered kitchen, I can then cheerfully make a new mess of the kitchen, cook up a storm, dirty up pots and pans, serve a meal, watch the kids dribble gravy or ketchup or cheesy pasta off of their plates and onto the table. 

And it’s all okay. Because a fresh tablecloth will make everything better. :)

Are you a tablecloth user? Do you find that you can breathe easier when your table is all cleaned off?


  1. Amber Rogers says

    I know exactly what you mean!! When life gets chaotic, a messy kitchen becomes even more depressing. I just found out two days ago on my fortieth birthday that I am expecting #9. First I laughed. Then I smiled. Then…..panic!! Looking at my house I thought “I can’t even do this now!!” But tonight, my 8 little lovies are all tucked in, and I stayed up late to clean the kitchen. I changed the tablecloth, set out all the pretty little Valentines, and felt like a million bucks!!! It all looks so lovely. Praise God for His marvellous blessings, His unsurpassable peace, and, of course, fresh table linens.


  2. says

    Its funny I’m sitting in my family room, reading through my favorite blogs and thinking how I should have cleaned off the table to set it for valentines in the morning for my kids. You described my table to a “t” with the “lived” in look. I use table cloths for many of my dinner parties and usually have a table runner on. Right now, there is nothing. You have inspired me to go up and clean it up before I go to bed.


  3. Trish says

    Funny, I am NOT a tablecloth kind of person. My husband was all about cheap vinyl tablecloths before we got married and they always looked so trashy, and it completely ruined all tablecloths for me forever. Now the only time I can tolerate them is on a picnic table. We bought a nice dining room table, and I personally refinished his grandma’s antique kitchen table, so I want to show off the beautiful wood! I have placemats on the dining room table to protect it from everyday use damage, and I did the kitchen table up with layers of heavy duty polyurethane so it’ll withstand just about anything.


    Trish Reply:

    But your table looks lovely! I wasn’t being judgmental at all. Other people can use tablecloths, I just don’t want them in my house :)


  4. says

    I am the same way. I have my limits and preparing a meal in a mess is one of them. I love the look of a nicely made up table. Those table clothes don’t last long in my house. One day and they are thrashed!


  5. Susan says

    I know exactly what you mean. I hardly ever have a tablecloth, because somehow my kids seem to push or pull it one way or the other and it is pretty much hanging off, and I am constantly fixing it. But I do know about the feeling of a “picked up” mess. Not necessarily spotless (where you can serve breakfast on the floor – not a bad thought, since most of the crumbs end up off table, onto the floor)…but knowing at night, before bed, I did all my NIGHTLY ROUTINES, and turn around, and counters are clean, tables – clean, dishwasher running, kids sleeping (not in the kitchen – in their beds), and coffee set for hubby for 5am, cuz he is out the door early.

    So, I do know what you mean – and it does help cheer you up.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you Laura and your family (and to all the readers of this blog).

    Now go eat a piece of chocolate – we have an excuse today – VALENTINE’S DAY!



  6. Virginia says

    Amen! You said it much more poetically than I ever could ;), but I feel the same way about having one mess cleaned up before I make another! It’s the same thing we tell our kids, “Clean up what you’re playing with before you get something else out!”. :)


  7. says

    Amen! I laughed when I read this because I’m just sitting down from wiping down the counters and, yes, clearing off the dining room table, which was littered with remnants of Valentine’s Day preparations. And I feel like I just took on the world and won. I only use tablecloths at mealtime, but when I do I feel victorious AND fancy lol! Is it silly? Maybe. But I don’t care. I’m right there with you. A clean table makes a huge difference. Great post.


  8. Mary Ann says

    Yes! Yes! I love tablecloths! I have one on the table all the time only taking it off to play a game that is hard to play on a tablecloth =). I switch it out every few days, or maybe week. I use cloth napkins too. I have two teenage sons but have always used tablecloths and napkins. I use pretty wipe off placemats to keep the tablecloth from getting as many spills. But, oh yes, I do love a pretty tablecloth.


  9. says

    YES! I feel so much better when I get a fresh tablecloth on the table! It makes the room look more finished, fresh … and it ensures that the table *does* get clean … because the tablecloth *has* to be washed =)


  10. Angela says

    My one splurge as we enter each new season is a new tablecloth for our large family friendly eight person table. Whether it is a beautiful Thanksgiving themed brown cloth, or my current wonderful winter white with cardinals and holly, no matter how much chaos the rest of the house may be in I can look at my table and smile, thinking of how many wonderful memories have and will be made on that cloth.


  11. rachel coombs says

    i don’t use tablecloths (don’t even own one, now that i think about it) but having a clean table absolutely affects my whole day (& sometimes outlook on life i think)! if i clean it off & wipe it down in the morning, i’m much more productive all day. here in se asia most families don’t use (or even have) tables, so i suppose they can’t relate to this feeling – i guess it’s one more way for me to be a “foreigner”!


  12. says

    Yes, yes, and yes!! I love tablecloths. In fact, I have that exact same one in your picture, only mine fits a rectangular table. My house doesn’t truly feel clean until there is a tablecloth on the tables. I don’t really know why I love them so much, but they make me happy.

    And when we have company for dinner with little ones, I especially appreciate the cloth tablecloths. Nothing traps a glass of spilled milk like all that fabric. It keeps the spills from running all over the place, and it’s much easier to just remove a tablecloth instead of grabbing dozens of towels to try and contain a mess.


    Laura Reply:

    I never thought about that! My sister claims that cloth napkins are great, not only for the napkin qualities, but as an emergency hankie and paper towel. I love things that are beautiful AND practical!


    Mindy Reply:

    Cloth napkins are amazing! We invested in a plain white set years ago and are still using them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


  13. sherri says

    oh yes a clean fresh tablecloth makes mommy smile if only for 5 minutes it stays that way before clutter and spills again take over.


  14. says

    I’ve never given much thought to tablecloths (I don’t actually own any…I might use them if I had some, but our budget is tight so purchasing one or procuring fabric to sew one has not been a priority). Now that I think about it, though, I really love the look of wood so I’m not sure I’d want to cover the top of my dining table with a cloth. Being able to see the beauty of the wood is sometimes motivation to keep the table cleaned off.


    Sophie Reply:

    I know what you mean, Shannon! Thankfully, the 2 we own have been given to us. One reason I love our tablecloths right now is because we have a folding table with the white top…the tablecloth makes it look like a real table! If we ever work our way up to wood that looks good I may be torn about the cloth =)


    Debbie Reply:

    Go to thrift stores or shop after holiday sales. Another thing I do is buy inexpensive wide fabric and hem the edges. Now I have nice, cheap easy tablecloths.


  15. Rhetta says

    I love pretty tablecloths and sometimes pick up vintage linens at thrift shops/rummage sales. This past Tuesday was brunch day for my Bible study core group, and I took along an old lace tablecloth (with a tear in it) to cover the standard issue church table. I can’t tell you how many of my ladies commented on it.


  16. Shelley C says

    My table is my biggest clutter magnet! Papers, papers everywhere! When I do get the thing cleaned off, I put a runner or cloth on it and it tends to stay nice for a longer interval :P When the kids were young and always spilling on it, I learned to take it off before meals and replace it once the kitchen was tidy again after meal clean up. Kept the kitchen tidy looking.


  17. Lee Ann says

    I love this because my husband knows I love my “AAaaaahhhh”. Sometimes he will even tell the kids, “let’s completely clean off the island. It will give mom some ‘aaaaahhhh'”


  18. Ashley says

    I feel that way when I finish cleaning the whole kitchen and it’s not cluttered with dishes, food, clothes, ect! It’s a nice feeling :)


  19. Birdie says

    What a pleasure to read your post today, Laura. You focus on the simple things in life and remind us what is important. Thank you.


  20. Amy says

    I love when I have a clean kitchen and a nice tablecloth is kind of like the icing on the cake. I feel the same way about making my bed. It only takes a minute to do but it makes my room seem so much cleaner (even when there’s stuff all over the place!)


  21. Angela says

    I only use a tablecloth when we have guests over for a holiday meal. My kids would forever be pulling it off the table (not on purpose). I do love when my table is clean though. It seems to constantly be covered in school books/papers, legos or some craft project. I know someday I will look back and long for that mess again :) I also understand the desire for a clean space before it becomes dirty again. I can’t cook in a messy kitchen. I have to clean up before I can begin cooking again.


  22. Charlotte Moore says

    I like a pretty tablecloth too. I have my table set with my china and crystal goblets for a nice supper/dinner tonight for my married son and his family. I started this last year and they seemed to enjoy it. I had my husband meet them at the door with a tux shirt on and a towel thrown over his shoulder and I had on an apron. We served them and cleaned up all the mess. It was their special time. I was completely exhausted but it was fun. I wish I had done this years ago before I got as ld as I am. Hahaha!!!


  23. says

    A freshly cleared and cleaned counter and table do make me feel more creative. Though usually it is all the creativity (food or paper or lego) flowing in this house that clutters the counter and table to begin with! There is an ebb and flow from clutter to clean here, and I am just happy to have these things (and people) in my life to make the clutter!


  24. tealady3 says

    I LOVE table linen’s,we use cloth napkins also.For me it has always been an easy choice.I go to thrift stores and find lots of linens.You are so right that a kitchen just dose not look right until the table is clean.I have told my family so many times that a flat surface does not mean it is a landing strip.


  25. Carla says

    I really don’t like table clothes but I do own several sets of cloth place mats and napkins. I have a rule in my house about our table ,nothing left on it but the place mats. That was one thing that drove me nuts when I lived at home ,was all the stuff on the table, if you wanted to eat you had to find a place to stack all the stuff. I try really hard to have the kitchen clean before I go to bed. I feel it helps us have a better start to our morning.


  26. Laura says

    I don’t do this often, but as a treat to myself I just took all my tablecloths to the cleaners for pressing. She gives me a great deal if I’ve already done the washing. Yes, I can do the job myself. It is such a blessing to have pretty, pressed tablecloths on hand and ready for use.


  27. Phyllis says

    Yes! When our children were young, spilled milk was my motivator (see Erika’s comments)! After more than once snapping at careless kids (then feeling guilty) and cleaning milk off the floor and table legs where it had splashed, I had a eureka moment when I realized how much easier it would be to simply throw a cloth in the washer! A toss to the washer and ANOTHER fresh new cloth make for a happier mama rather than a “snappy-er” mama–and thus a happier family! Like Angela, I like to use seasonal cloths.


  28. judy kay mealy says

    You are so right,my mom that died this feb 86yrs old,always told me,no matter where you go make sure you have a clean tablecloth on and your table rid off before going anywhere,I could never get that out of my mine,I guess that was the best advice she have ever given me,miss you mom!


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