Better than decorating: a tablecloth can transform a room in an instant

The humble tablecloth can be your secret weapon in a summer refresh - it's a makeover in one buy

My, how the British heart leaps at the first sign of summer sunshine. It is a beautiful sight – like the return of an old and valued friend. But its brilliance can cast our decorating schemes, gloriously vibrant only six months ago, into the shade. Our once-lovely interiors seem to become rather dull, tired and lack-lustre spaces – especially those light-filled extensions and conservatories where there is no hiding.

But who wants to be inside decorating when there are barbecues to enjoy, sun loungers to break in and trips to the seaside to organise?

So why not release the potential of the tablecloth? Yes, you heard it here first. Whether you run up your own or go shop-bought, a well chosen tablecloth design can match the decorative power of a patterned wallpaper, a new pair of curtains or a Roman blind – and for a fraction of the price and, best of all, minimum effort.

Choose well and your tablecloth will give your room a summer refresh until you are ready to decorate. Here are a few lovely fabric and tablecloth designs to inspire you…

1. Add lace trim to a square of floral fabric

Celia Birtwell

2. Say it with daisies – and cornflower blue

Designers Guild

3. Perk up with a ditsy floral in pink

Clarke & Clarke

4 Go green – and bring in matching napkins

Designers Guild

5 Work those blooms with seed-packet motifs

Ian Sanderson

6 Introduce pattern with a lilac undercloth

Villa Nova

7 Fit a wipe-clean map oilcloth

John Lewis

8 Seek out Scandi style and don’t hold back

Similar, Hus & Hem

9 Be chic with stripes in pastel shades

Adventino

10 Bring in a length of leaf-motif oilcloth

Table Protector Direct

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