This is the second post is a blog series I am calling: Budget Decorating: The Forgotten Secrets.
If you missed the first post in the series, you may want to read it first to find out why I started the series. You can read the first post here —> Budget Decorating: The Forgotten Secrets #1
In a nutshell….when decorating a home, there are a few decorating basics or as I like to call them… the forgotten elements that we often overlook. These elements can help make the decor look more cohesive, even on a budget. The series is to show you ways you can add these elements to your home.
The #2 Forgotten Decorating Secret comes in round, rectangular, and square shapes.
Can you guess what it is?
It is the skirted table.
It is a classic staple when decorating, but when we hear the term, skirted tables, we tend to think only of the inexpensive round “decorator” accent tables that were popular in the 80’s and 90’s.
You know the ones with the round particle board top that come with 3 or 4 legs that get screwed on the underside of the table and then covered with a round ruffled or lace tablecloth.
This is only one type of table that has a fabric cloth over it.
The skirted tables of today have an updated vibe and are rectangular and square as well.
They have a modern style that can have traditional elegance or country charm. They add a pop of color or pattern and can do something that no other table can do:
Skirted tables are the best place for creating secret accessible hiding spots for all your stuff.
And since we all seem to have a lot of stuff, getting a place to store and hide it makes the skirted table element something you should seriously consider when decorating.
If you’re looking to freshen a room without spending a lot of money, adding a skirted table can be a quick solution.
Most furniture can be expensive to buy or reupholster, but the cost of a table skirt is almost solely based on the price of the fabric. If you find the perfect fabric at Walmart or an online fabric discount site, you can make a skirt for a table for under $30 depending on the size of the table.
The table itself is usually inexpensive or a skirt can be made over an existing table you already own.
Round Skirted Table Ideas
In my previous studioffice I made a round table cloth to place over my sewing machine table that was old and outdated looking, but still functional.
To hide it, but keep it easy to access, a skirting the table was the answer. You can read how I made it in this post: How to Make a Round Tablecloth Style Skirted Table
I made a round table cloth for my table, but this is not the only way to cover a round table with fabric.
A drum tablecloth is a cylinder-shaped cloth that fits neatly over a round table. It has perfectly straight sides sewn to a top circle of fabric. It is very tailored.
Pleated Round Style
For a more fitted tailored look, add pleats to the drum style skirt evenly spaced around it. Add trim to fit your personal decorating style.
Rectangular or Console Skirted Table Ideas
Rectangular or console tables when covered with a table cloth are tailored and more formal than a round table. For softness, place a box pleat at each corner. Add a glass top for added protection and a little shine.
Skirted tables can take on any style of decor, depending on the fabric and trimmings you use. From burlap…
…to inexpensive solid color twill to more high end fabrics. Whatever your decorating style, a fabric covered table will fit in beautifully.
I don’t have a tutorial on how make a tailored skirt for a rectangular table, but here you will find a good one: How to Make a Tailored Skirt for a Table the Easy Way.
Other Fabric Table Skirt Ideas
To add a skirted table to your home, you don’t need a “decorator” style table. A skirted table can be made over any existing table you have, even a folding card table can take on a totally new personality with a table skirt that goes to the floor.
Add a Glass Top
Adding a piece of glass to the top of any skirted table will protect it from dust, dirt, and spilled drinks. It also will hold the cloth in place. For large tables, getting a piece of glass cut can cost more than the cloth or the table, but if your budget allows, it will add a nice finishing touch.
- Have a piece of 3/8-inch plate glass cut to the exact size of the tabletop. For a designer finish, have the edges beveled about 1-inch in from the edge of the glass. No matter what cut you choose, be sure that the edges are smoothed out after the cut as the edges can be sharp.
Ideas for Creating Hidden Storage
When it comes to skirting, don’t stop with tables – adding a skirted front to a kitchen or bathroom sink can look quite stylish in neutrals…
…or your favorite colorful fabric.
I added a fabric skirt to the front of the laundry tub in my previous house. It is easy to make even if you don’t own a sewing machine. Hems and seams can be made with fabric glue or fusible web. Find out how to make no sew hems and seams in this post: How to Make No-Sew Drapes
I used Velcro to attach the skirt: How to Create Hidden Storage Under a Laundry Tub
I made it to hide the cat litter box. The skirt is made using two pieces of fabric that slightly overlap in the front. This is where the cat could easily get in and out. As you can see from the two photos above, I changed out the fabric over the years.
Reasons Why You Should Consider Adding a Skirted Table To a Room
- Skirted pieces soften a room that has a lot of the hard angles, wood, and leggy furniture that are popular in decorating now.
- The cloths/skirts can be easily changed out seasonally.
- Are great for hidden storage.
- Add instant color to perk up a lifeless room.
- A table skirt is a nice way to add another texture, print, or color to your decorating scheme.
- Can be embellished with details in the way of trims and cording to coordinate with the rest of your decor.
- Skirted tables can be made using no-sew methods so don’t think just because you don’t own a sewing machine that you can’t make one for your home.
Where to Use a Skirted Table
A skirted table can go into a bedroom as a bedside table or dressing table. It can also go into a living room as a side table next to a chair or sofa, or as a festive dining table, or even in a home office.
Because the skirt will completely cover a table, the style or color of the table you use doesn’t matter at all.
Nightstand or Bedside Table
Any round, square, or rectangular table can be covered with a table cloth or skirt to transform it.
- Hide lamp cords and store books, tissue, or extra linens underneath.
Side Table in the Living Room
Place a skirted table next to a sofa or chair where it will add color and impact, or where it will fill a corner between other furnishings.
- It can hide kids’ toys, stacks of magazines and extra throw blankets. Place a lamp on top with a plant or stack of books.
A Hall Table
If you have a large entryway or foyer, a skirted round table can be very welcoming.
- Choose a beautiful fabric, cover the top with glass, add a vase of your favorite flowers, and use the table for mail and keys.
- Place your tote bag or brief case underneath so it is ready for when you head out the door again.
Bathroom Table or Sink
If you need extra space in a bathroom, a skirted table can provide storage space and hide towels, toilet paper, toiletries and cleaning supplies.
Don’t Have a Table? Try These Table Making Options
Since the table form itself will be covered, it doesn’t matter what condition the table you use is in, as long as it is sturdy. Look around your house to see if you can find something that is the right height and size for your needs.
- An old table bought at a yard sale or flea market.
- Bring in an outdoor piece of furniture.
- A cabinet base bought at Habitat for a few dollars – get a piece of plywood cut to size for the top. Store stuff neatly inside the cabinet itself.
- Make your own table. For a square or rectangular table, cut the top from a piece of inexpensive 3/4″ plywood to the size you need. Screw legs sold at the home improvement store (near lumber aisle) into the bottom on all four corners. For a round table, home improvement stores also sell table rounds of plywood.
Add Decorative Details to a Skirted Table
To add more interest to a table:
- Add a band around the hem of the skirt using a contrasting or coordinating fabric, ribbon or trim.
- Make the inside panels of box pleats with a coordinating fabric.
- Add two layers of fabric. A topper is a separate tablecloth that goes over the top of a floor-length cloth. It is made of a coordinating or matching fabric and can be round, square, or fitted, with hems that are plain, corded, banded, or shaped into triangles or scallops.
For My DIY Readers
I will post a tutorial on how to make sew and no-sew table skirts soon.
Resources For Buying Tables & Cloths
- Ballard Designs – Is the best place for all things skirted tables when you don’t want to make one yourself or you just want more inspiration to get ready to make your own.
- Walmart – has a few colors 70″ and 90″ round checked cloths that would go over 20″ and 30″ round tables. Nice for summer decor or a classic black and white color scheme.
- Table Base – You can also find these at bargain prices at thrift stores.
Has reading this post made you think of a place where you can add a skirted table in your home?
I am thinking about adding one in my living room. Since getting the big leather reclining chairs, the side tables I have in the room look too small and out of proportion. I have been searching for just the right fabric to create a larger custom table.
- Once I find the right fabric and make the table, I will share the DIY tutorial with you.
A skirted table – it is such a smart piece of furniture – inexpensive, pretty and functional – plus you can change it out seasonally or on a whim in minutes… and don’t forget – one handy place to hide stuff.