Can a Table Runner be Shorter than the Table?

Table runners are a great way to instantly elevate your tablescape at any party. It’s a staple in every event decorator’s arsenal. This understated yet impactful design piece is usually draped over tablecloths with each edge overhanging.

However, some unconventional runners defy this usual design. Hobbyists who like to push the boundaries of conventional design may often ask the question: can table runners be shorter than the table?

The short answer is, yes, table runners can be shorter than your tables. Knowing when to use these types of runners is crucial in piecing together the right tablescape. 

In this blog, we explore the different possibilities for runners – those that extend beyond the edges and those that are shorter than your party tables.

Crinkle Shimmer Table Runner - Pink
Chiffon Wedding Table Runner 27"x120" - Rust
Crinkle Shimmer Table Runner - Champagne

Purpose and Function

The primary function of table runners is both for aesthetic and practical purposes. These can serve as focal points or accent pieces on table settings to add detail and color. 

On the other hand, runners also serve to protect your tables and tablecloths from spillage and stains. These are especially useful for dinner banquets and buffet-style setups where tables, where main courses are served, are prone to spillage.

The Traditional Approach

Traditionally, table runners are expected to extend the full length of the table with extra length to hang over the edges. These are how runners are usually made. This style creates a cohesive and smooth look that is visually appealing. These are the usual options for the usual approach to table setup. However, shorter runners are also a rare option for people with a more adventurous taste. 

Chiffon Wedding Table Runner 27"x120" - Rust
Glitz Sequin Table Runner - Champagne
Satin Table Runner - Emerald Green

Shorter Table Runner Considerations 

Shorter runners are a lesser-known yet equally stylish option for event decorators. These are shorter than the tables they’re placed on but may be used for practical and aesthetic purposes. They are more suitable for accommodating centerpieces and specific place settings.

Runners that are shorter than the tables they’re used in are also better for events with a lot of foot traffic. This means you prevent tripping on the edges while still protecting your tables from stains.

One possible concern is that shorter table runners may leave your table setting looking a little bare. Make sure to complement these with placemats, table napkins, and charger plates to spruce up your table setting. 

Accordion Crinkle Taffeta Napkin 20"x20" - Pink
Faux Rattan Braided Acrylic Charger Plate - Brown

Stylistic Choices and Considerations

Choosing a shorter table runner is a great way to create a modern aesthetic and minimalist vibe.

Shorter table runners may be more suitable for casual parties and outdoor events. Longer table runners that have an overhang typically are preferred for formal events. However, this ultimately depends on your preference and styling. 

Party in Style with Table Runners

Table runners are a perfect decor piece to elevate your dining setup and impress your guests. Typically, they are made and expected to be longer than your tables. However, table runners that are shorter than the tables do exist and they’re a great way to elevate your tablescape, too.

Style your tables with shorter table runners and have fun creating new looks with this out-of-the-box decor piece. Dress up your tablescapes with table runners and create memories to cherish for a lifetime. 

Our Products

Accordion Crinkle Taffeta Napkin 20"x20" - Champagne
Acrylic Beaded 13" Round Charger Plate - Clear
Glitz Sequin Table Runner - Black

Table Napkins

Round Charger Plates

Glitz Sequin Table Runner


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