When it comes to planning an event, linen rental often seems like an item that will be easy to check off your list of “to-do’s”. That said, the linen color, fabric, and design you choose to go with will make a major impact on the overall aesthetic of your event.
Additionally, the cost of the linens you rent, the rental company’s availability and inventory on the day(s) of your event, as well as their general procedures and policies need to be considered, too. What do their listed package prices include? Does it cost extra for specialty linens? Are you getting the greatest value for your dollar?
In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know when renting linens, as well as how to choose what linens would work best for your event – providing the greatest bang for your buck.
As you’re searching for the right linens for your event, you’re likely to be faced with the following terms associated with renting linens for a wedding, or any event.
Also known as a table pad, liners are pieces of fabric used underneath linen, such as a tablecloth, acting as a protective layer for the table underneath the linen(s). The liner is not meant to be seen, and therefore these table pads don’t offer anything aesthetically to your design. Rather, they are used for both protection and to enhance the feel of the tabletop and linen. Liners are most commonly used under delicate or fine fabrics in order to give them a more luxurious feel.
Table runners are narrow, long fabric linens used to layer on top of tablecloths, or used on a bare table top for decorative purposes.
Primarily used to dress up a tablescape, overlays are fabric linens laid on top or over another linen, such as a tablecloth, in order to give it dimension or create a unique pattern. Usually overlay linens are shorter, or in a shape that differs from the shape of the linen it will lay on top of. Overlays can also be composed of a sheer or thin fabric – again providing dimension and depth to a tablescape.
Chair Sash –
Linen fabric tied or placed around the back end of a chair in order to enhance the aesthetic of the chair. For decorative purposes.
Chair Covers –
Made of sturdy linen, chair covers are pieces of fabric usually created to tightly fit over a chair, covering it entirely – down to the floor.
This is a term used to describe the way a fabric hangs from a table. Also referred to as a puddle, when the linen hangs long enough to touch the ground and actually “pool” at the base of the table – providing a rich, stylish and luxurious feel.
General Linen Rental Costs
Below, we’ve listed the most commonly rented linens for events and the average cost of renting each. Of course, the size and fabric type you choose will affect the overall rental cost, but here are the averages:
Tablecloth Rentals – Table cloth rentals generally cost anywhere from $6 to $10/piece for a round or square tablecloth that reaches just past the edge of a table. For floor-length tablecloths for rectangular banquet tables may cost up to $18/piece.
Table Skirts – The average table skirt is 20 inches tall, with the rental cost varying depending on length. However, you can expect to pay about $1.00 to $1.50 per foot of table skirting. The linen table skirt is usually secured by elastic and ordered to the size of the table. The piece will drape down the sides of the table, creating an illusion of floor-length table coverings.
Table Runners – A table runner usually costs about $3 to $8/piece to rent. Table runners add a splash of color and texture to banquet tables or used as an overlay.
Table Overlays – Also referred to as “square tablecloths”, the cost to rent table overlay linens range from $6 to $12.
Chair Covers – Renting chair covers cost an average of $3.50 to $5.50/piece, and may require additional set-up fees. This average does not include a chair sash, which are often offered through linen rental companies for an additional cost.
Cloth Napkins – Typically, cloth napkins cost $0.40 to $0.75/piece to rent, and are usually offered in either white or other solid colors. The average size of cloth napkins for rent is 20-by-20 inches, or smaller.
Fabric Types & Their Cost
This is the fun part of linen rental – the fabric options! Believe it or not, there is so much more to tablecloths than a white fabric canvas. We’ve listed the most common fabrics you’ll find when renting linens, as well as a brief description of what types of events they work best for and what you might expect to pay for each type.
Average Cost to Rent Satin Linens: Run approx. $30-$42/piece
Satin linens are smooth and glossy, with the fabric typically made of silk. Satin is considered a “high-end” linen, and will offer an enhanced and polished overall aesthetic – elegant and dignified.
Average Cost to Rent Organza Linens: Run approx. $40-$135
Organza is an incredibly versatile linen, perfect for everything from a simple cake stand set-up to draping over the tables in an entire event space. This thin, sheer fabric is usually made of cotton or silk, and is available for rent in both plain and embroidered varieties.
Average Cost to Rent Taffeta Linens: Run approx. $35-$59
Taffeta is a fabric that’s crisp and smooth, usually woven from silk or a type of rayon. It has an iridescent, sleek surface to it. Taffeta can be used on its own, or paired with an overlay linen. This type of linen works great for modern designed spaces.
Average Cost to Rent Velvet Linens: Run approx. $35-$66
Velvet linens give an event space a distinctive and unique feel. This rich fabric is closely-woven with a soft pile, giving any table an elegant style.
Damask and Brocade
Average Cost to Rent Damask & Brocade Linens: Run approx. $35-$100
Damask is actually a pattern, and is often found on heavy-weight woven fabrics. Damask linens are perfect for formal events that want to portray a truly traditional feel. Brocade fabrics are usually composed of silk threads that are also woven, creating an embossed or embroidered look. Similar to damask, brocade linens provide a more traditional feel.
Average Cost to Rent Cotton Linens: Run approx. $35-$100
Cotton linen rentals are usually used for events or parties with a more “informal” vibe, such as an outdoor wedding. Cotton fabric is breathable and soft, and belongs to the natural fabrics family. These linens can be dyed, patterned or embroidered for a unique feel. Choose cotton if you’re looking for a more relaxed texture.
Average Cost to Rent Linen: Run approx. $35-$69
Linen tablecloths offer an effortless style with rustic charm for any event. The fabric texture of linen is gritty and grainy, and can be dyed in a variety of colors. Linen is considered the “formal” alternative to cotton linens.
Average Cost to Rent Raw Silk Linens: Run approx. $25-$69
Raw silk is a linen type that’s used for formal events. The texture of this fabric is smooth, woven and spun silk with a little shine – offering more movement than taffeta linens. Raw silk can be rented in a variety of colors.
Average Cost to Rent Sequins Linens: Run approx. $22-$90
Fabrics that are embroidered with shining sequin paillettes come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. You can rent sequin fabrics in square or circle shapes. They are the ideal choice for high-fashion, glittering events – even if this linen is simply used for a cake table. It’s a stand-out choice.
Average Cost to Rent Polyester Linens: Run approx. $10-$28
Polyester is a versatile, solid fabric choice that is great for those on a budget. This linen will dress up any event without breaking the bank. Polyester comes in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes.
Average Cost to Rent Embellished Linens: Run approx. $40-$135
Embellished linens come in a variety of fabric choices, flaunting everything from sequins to linen to faux leather and more – embellished linens are perfect for accent tables or themed parties.
Average Cost to Rent Lace Linens: Run approx. $70-$110
This fine and delicate fabric is constructed by looping, knitting and twisting threads in patterns. Lace gives off a very romantic feel to any space, and most certainly dresses up any event.
Determine the Right Linen Sizes for Your Event
Now, let’s cover one of the basic logistics of linens: Determining what size you’ll need for your tables. Below, we’ve listed the most common linen rental sizes for tables:
84” Square –
Depending on the amount of draping you prefer, the 84” square size linen can be used as an overlay or topper on a round table if you’d like to create a layered effect – with the corners of the linen dropping down on each point.
108” Round –
Generally used on a 48” round table (which seats 4-6 people) for an exact fit that hits the floor but does not pool on the floor. This size may also be used as a topper or overlay on a larger table.
120” Round –
Used on 60” round tables (which seat 8 people), or highboy 30” cocktail rounds. On both these types of tables, this linen size breaks right at the floor, with no puddling.
134” Round –
This size of linen is usually used on 60” rounds with a puddle effect, or 72” rounds (seating for 12 people) with a perfect fit (no puddling). This size of linen may also be used on cocktail tables for a puddle, or on banquet tables that are 6’ in size.
8’ King’s Drapes –
Linens of this variety are used for King’s tables sized 8’ by 48”, and may also fit narrow banquet tables. Linens of this size measure 108” x 156”, and can also be used on 6’ banquet tables producing a puddle effect.
Standard 8’ –
Standard 8’ linens are used most often on 8’ x 30” banquet tables, which are narrower than a King’s table.
Table Runners –
A standard table runner linen found through rental companies are made for use on an 8’ table. These table runners measure 22” x 120”, and with use on an 8’ table they provide for a one foot drop on each end of the table.
Shopping for Linen Rentals
Consider these tips when you’re ready to shop around for linen rentals:
- When you’re looking to rent table linens, be clear on the number of guests (approx. guest count) as well as the measurements for the tables you’ll be using or renting at the event location.
- If you’ll be using long banquet tables in addition to guest-seating tables, don’t forget to reserve linens for those tables as well. If you’ll have a separate “cake table”, or “gift table”, reserve linens for those, as well. The last thing you want is for the day of the event to come, only to realize you forgot to reserve linens for some of the tables being used at the event.
- If chair covers or sashes are going to be used, make sure you reserve the proper size covers for the chairs you’ll be using – to get the right fit.
- Inquire with a design specialist if you are having a hard time deciding what colors, fabric types and sizes you should go with. A professional events designer can help you create an overall aesthetic with the linens you rent, to match the theme or style of your event.
What Should Be Included?
When you’re shopping around for the right linen rental company for your event, there are a few points of interest you should always consider.
- Care & Treatment of Linens – Does the company clean their linens thoroughly after each use? When you rent linens from the company, do they wash them before giving them to you for rental use? Always ensure the linens you rent will arrive clean and pressed.
- Policies – Generally speaking, your rental will be for 24-hours of use. Ask the company if you may pick up the linens the day before your event, and return them the day after, at no additional charge. You may receive a bill higher than what you expected if you do not inquire about this policy.
- Protection – Are you protected against normal stains to the linens, like spilled drink, food or candle wax? Make sure the company you rent your linens from has a policy in place which protects you against having to pay additional fees for normal wear and tear.
Nearly every linen rental company will charge additional fees for pick-up and/or delivery of your rented linens. If possible, have a friend or family member pick up the linens prior to your event, and assign them or another person to drop the linens off after your event. This will not only save you money that’s likely to be tacked on if you opt in for delivery through the company, but you will also be able to rest easy knowing the pick up and drop off of the linens you rent is covered by a friend or family member.
Many linen companies offer a discount for first-time customers, or for large-party linen rental. See if you qualify for either of these discounts when searching for the right linen rental company.
Every detail, including the linens you rent, matter when it comes to planning the perfect event. Whether you’re setting the stage for a romantic wedding, or a fun and colorful birthday bash, the right linens will help you achieve the look you’re going for. Renting linens is more affordable and cost-effective than buying them outright, and many companies offer a gorgeous selection of top-quality fabrics, sizes and design options! Your special event will run smoothly with the assistance of a high-rated linen rental company.