How to Make Your Table Shabby Chic Using Vintage Tablecloths

Written by halie theoharides
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How to Make Your Table Shabby Chic Using Vintage Tablecloths
A vintage tablecloth adds the finishing touch to a shabby chic table. (table décorée 3 image by Francis Lempérière from

Affordable, nostalgic and easy to mix with existing styles, shabby chic furniture and linens show signs of use and age in a stylish way. Imagine your girlhood bedroom, all grown up. While people might spend a lot of time and money distressing their furniture or buying expensive handpicked items, vintage tablecloths can easily make over the table you already have, and won't dig into this month's rent.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Small table
  • Measuring tape
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Vintage vase
  • Daisies, yellow tulips or wildflowers
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Measure the top of your table. Although it can be hard to find the perfect sized tablecloth when shopping vintage, having an idea of the table's size beforehand will help you choose the right tablecloth. Also make note of the table's shape, such as square or round.

  2. 2

    Shop for your vintage tablecloths using a variety of sources, and refer to your measurements for the best fit. Shabby chic tones are usually pale, neutral colours such as white, cream, pale pink, blue or yellow. Oftentimes they have a pale floral print, textured or embroidered surface, or crocheted edges. You can search online on sites such as, or on your local craigslist. When you find a tablecloth, make sure there are no major rips, stains or other problems, as there often are when buying vintage fabrics.

  3. 3

    Test the tablecloth at home by spreading the fabric over the top of the table. It should hang liberally over the sides without covering more than 5 inches of the sides and legs.

  4. 4

    Prepare the tablecloth. If there is a stain, soak it with a stain remover and wash it with warm water. (Chances are that the stain so old, it might not come out, but you can always cover it with a pretty vase of flowers.) Wash and dry the tablecloth gently, either by hand or on a delicate cycle in the washer and dryer.

  5. 5

    Iron the dry tablecloth on low heat. Spread it over the table and straighten it to align the edges on each side of the table.

  6. 6

    Fill a vintage vase three-quarters full with water. Make a shabby chic bouquet by trimming the stems of daisies or wildflowers at a 45-degree angle a few inches taller than the top of your vase, and arrange the flowers by placing them inside the vase. The shabby chic table is complete.

Tips and warnings

  • If you're having trouble finding a tablecloth to fit, consider resizing the cloth by hemming it using a sewing machine.

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