The table cloth was considered an aristocratic innovation, but it needed protection from lively and careless royal revelers who spilled, drooled and made a mess! No doubt, the wise women responsible for laundering linens came up with the innovative idea for the table runner in an effort to save the tablecloths from unnecessary laundering. Napkins were also invented because it was no longer considered acceptable to wipe your mouth on the tablecloth.
These ingenious long, narrow pieces of cloth now known as “table runners” were placed over the tablecloths. They were gathered up at the end of the meal for washing and the tablecloths remained intact and clean. The table runner along with tablecloths became fixtures in everyone’s collection of linens by the 15th century.
A table runner adds color, texture, and interest to your table and is the foundation for your table decor. Table runners also protect your table from spills and damage that can be caused by hot pans and dripping candle wax.
Table runners are practical for everyday use and appropriate for special occasions when you need a refined touch. A table runner enhances your tablescape in subtle or dramatic ways depending on the color and texture you choose. If you want to create a festive feel during the holidays, consider a holiday or seasonally themed table runner. And if you simply want to change the mood of your room, a new table runner may be just the thing to mix things up.