12 Genius Ways To Repurpose An Old Tablecloth In Your Home & Garden

According to data from June's Cooking at Home Report, the traditional dining room is falling out of favor. Only 48% of respondents said they regularly gathered around the dining table for meals, a sharp drop from 72% of people who said they did while growing up. Because of this, our dining spaces are often left unused or scrapped entirely, and more formal dining items, like placemats and tablecloths, are losing their everyday functionality, too. While people gather to eat at the bar or on the couch, old tablecloths collect dust in the cabinet, only to be pulled out during special events, if at all.

This, however, doesn't have to be the case. If you have some tablecloths sitting around that aren't getting enough love in your regular routine, consider repurposing them into something new that you'll actually use around the house, such as pillow covers, dish towels, and tote bags. Tablecloths are essentially just large pieces of fabric, making them a perfect base for many different upcycling projects. The possibilities are truly endless, so whether you're looking to customize some new décor for your home or create something functional out of an item that would have otherwise gone to waste, there's likely an idea for you.

1. Throw pillow

Tablecloths come in a massive array of colors, patterns, and materials, so if you have one that matches your home's aesthetic that isn't getting enough use, consider turning it into a pillowcase. This project does require a bit of sewing, but it's a great place to start if you're a beginner, as it doesn't require any difficult stitches or complex patterns. Cut out two pieces of your fabric, sew them together with the fronts facing each other, and leave one side open. Fill the space with an insert, stuffing, or scrap fabric, then finish off the final edge.

2. Wall art

Wall art can get expensive, but there are plenty of ways to make your own decorative pieces on a budget. Pick up a frame at a secondhand or thrift store, spruce it up with some paint if needed, then cut out a piece of a tablecloth with an interesting texture or pattern. Iron it to help smooth out any wrinkles, then mount it in your frame to display it. This is a great way to repurpose more delicate pieces that aren't fit for everyday use, but it can be done with any tablecloth that matches your space.

3. Dish towel

Dish towels are a necessity in the kitchen, but that doesn't mean they need to be boring. If you're looking for a way to add some custom flair to your plain dish towels, consider adding on some strips of tablecloth to bring in some pattern or texture. Most tablecloths, especially simpler cotton options, are designed to withstand wear and tear and regular washing, so they should hold up. If you like the look but are working with a more delicate fabric, however, you can always use these towels as a strictly decorative item in your kitchen.

4. Curtain

At their cores, tablecloths and curtains are both just large pieces of decorative fabric. Because of this, transforming one into the other is an incredibly simple task. If you have a tablecloth that you want to turn into a window dressing, all you have to do is sew a channel or add some large grommets along the top to hang it on a curtain rod more easily. Lace and crochet tablecloths make for a particularly interesting base for this project, but as long as your tablecloth is in fairly good condition, the options are endless.

5. Table runner

Sometimes, no matter how many cycles in the washer or DIY stain removal hacks you try, you end up with spots on your fabrics that won't budge. If you have a tablecloth you still love that's fallen victim to food spills, consider cutting it down to turn it into a decorative table runner instead. Cut off the section of material with the stain, then trim it down to a smaller size that's a good fit for your table. This way, you'll still be able to enjoy the look of the tablecloth, just in a slightly smaller dose.

6. Cutlery roll

Making more eco-friendly choices is all about repurposing and reusing items you already have, and this tablecloth cutlery roll hits the nail on the head in more ways than one. To make this yourself, all you need to do is cut down an old tablecloth, sew a pouch shape, and add on some channels to hold your most-used cutlery. Finish it off with a simple tie to keep everything secure and clean, and you have the perfect package to safely and conveniently transport your reusable silverware to work, school, or out on a picnic.

7. Tote bag

If you're new to the world of sewing, the simplest project you can take on is a pillowcase. The second simplest? A tote bag. These two patterns follow basically the same steps — cut two pieces of fabric out of the tablecloth, lay them face to face, and sew along three sides — but rather than closing off that last side like you would on a pillow, leave it open and add on some straps for easy carrying. Once you complete your repurposed tablecloth tote bag, you can use it to haul just about anything, from your laptop to groceries.

8. Beeswax wraps

If you're not familiar with the concept, beeswax wraps are an eco-friendly alternative to using aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Essentially, they're pieces of fabric that have been coated with — you guessed it — beeswax to make them more resistant to water and moldable. Tablecloths are usually made of simple, durable fabric, so they make for a fantastic base for this kind of project. Cut them into smaller squares, brush them with a thin layer of melted wax, and use them to cover leftovers in the fridge or transport your lunch to and from work.

9. Stocking

If you enjoy branching out into non-traditional color schemes during the holiday season, it can be difficult to find store-bought decorations that match your palette. The solution? DIYs, of course. Stockings are fairly easy to sew yourself, and tablecloths can open up an entirely new world of unique colors and patterns to play around with. As an added bonus, making your own holiday decorations is a great way to save money on expensive store-bought items and add a more sentimental touch to the pieces you display year after year. 

10. Throw blanket

If you're looking for a throw blanket that can help protect your furniture and bring some more texture into a space, a tablecloth can offer a convenient solution. Toss a linen or crochet tablecloth over the end of your bed to bring some more color into your space, or use one to drape over the arm of your sofa to better protect it from wear. A tablecloth likely isn't the most comfortable option to use as an actual blanket, but it can certainly sub in for one as a primarily protective or decorative piece.

11. Upholstery fabric

If you're considering reupholstering your vintage furniture, it can be helpful to choose a material that fits the era and style of the piece to guarantee that the final look is cohesive, and while it's certainly possible to get your hands on vintage fabric, it can be a struggle. As an easy workaround, consider repurposing an old tablecloth instead. This project is one of the most involved and complex on this list, but a change in material can go a massive way in transforming a drab or damaged piece of furniture into something you're proud to display.

12. Picnic blanket

Enjoying a meal outside is a great way to get some fresh air and take advantage of nice weather, but the whole experience is much more cozy and sanitary if you have a barrier between yourself and the ground. If you don't have a dedicated picnic blanket on hand, consider using an old tablecloth that you're not worried about staining or getting dirty instead. Water-resistant tablecloths can offer an additional layer of protection on damp or muddy grass, but just about any tablecloth can be used as a washable, fashionable, and convenient picnic blanket in a pinch.