How to Protect Table Tops

Written by shannon buck | 13/05/2017

There are various potential problems that a table may need to be protected from, including water marks, nicks and fading from the sun. Scratches caused by items being placed on or slid across a table can also be an issue.

Decorators and homeowners may choose to incorporate a variety of techniques to protect table tops. By doing so, they are also protecting the value of the table. This is especially important for antique tables.

Choose a glass or acrylic table topper to protect the entire surface of the table. Accurately fit this on the top of the table to keep it in balance as well as for aesthetic purposes. These toppers will allow a view to the actual table top, so that the wood grain and colour can still be seen.

Prevent nicks, scratches and watermarks using this method of covering table tops. Be aware that these toppers will not necessarily protect a table top from sun damage.

Prevent tabletop damage by using a table pad for protection from sun damage. This will also prevent damage issues such as nicks, scratches and watermarks. These pads are generally made from fiberboard or paper felt, and they cover the entire table top.

Cut felt to fit the bottom of lamps and other objects in order to allow for protection without the need to cover the entire table top.

Use table cloths to protect a table top from sun and other damages. This will cover the top of the table and hang down--sometimes to the floor. The wood grain and table colour will not be evident when using this method.

Cover a table with a runner to ensure that a portion of the table top can still be seen. A runner is a long piece of fabric that may hang over two of the table edges, but will not entirely cover the table. This allows the attractiveness of a table to be seen while providing a protected surface to place items.

Use doilies to add a decorative touch when protecting a table cloth. Using one or more on a table top offers an elegant touch to any decor.

Use a combination of methods when desired. A glass or acrylic table top can be used under doilies. A table runner can be placed over a felt pad.


Match the table protector to the room's decor.


Do not place drinks on a table top without using a coaster.

Tips and warnings

  • Match the table protector to the room's decor.
  • Do not place drinks on a table top without using a coaster.

Things you need

  • Table cloth, runner or doily
  • Table pad
  • Table topper

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