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How to Crochet a Table Runner and How to Decorate with Table Runners

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I’ve been sharing a few of my free crochet table runner patterns lately. I get a few common questions about them that I thought I would answer here today. For example, some of you have asked how to decorate with table runners. “What size is a table runner” is another common question. I really enjoy teaching people who to crochet a table runner that they’ll love. Therefore, I’m here to share a bunch of free table runner crochet patterns with you. Plus I’m going to answer those questions.

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How to Crochet a Table Runner

When people ask me how to crochet a table runner, a few answers come to mind. Obviously, I want to share my free crochet table runner patterns with them. Those show you step-by-step how to crochet a table runner in a specific designs. We’ll get to those in a moment. However, I want to answer that question more generally first. I think the best way to do that is to talk about what a table runner is for.

What Is a Table Runner?

A table runner is a narrow piece of fabric that you typically put lengthwise down the center of the table. It “runs” the entire length of the table. That’s why it’s called a table runner.

The History of the Table Runner

Inside Ellementry explains that the table runner dates back to medieval times. Putting it crassly, diners were messy then. Obviously, they didn’t have washing machines to toss their tablecloths in. Therefore, they wanted to minimize the washing. Therefore, the added table runners on top of the tablecloths. Most of the mess went on to the center of the table, where the table runner was. At the end of the meal, it was easier to wash the smaller table runner and the tablecloth might make it through a few meals without requiring washing.

How to Decorate With Table Runners

These days, we think of table runners more as decor than function. Of course, they do still collect much of a table’s mess. Therefore, you want to make yours with easy-to-wash yarn if you can. But, more than that, you want to consider how to decorate with table runners.

How to Decorate with Table Runners Over Tablecloths

You can opt to put a table runner over a table cloth like they always did in the olden days. This is a great way to layer colors and textures on the table. You hardly need any other decor on the table to set a beautiful mood.

Farm House Table Runner Decorating

I love my big farmhouse table. The wood is beautiful. Why would I want to hide it all? That’s why table runners are great for me. I can run them right down the center of the table to add a charming, cozy, seasonal ambiance to the room without hiding the whole table.

Red Christmas Truck Table Runner

Everyday and Seasonal Table Runners

Table runners offer a great way to switch out the style of your home from season to season. Fall table runners are especially popular. For example, my Thankful Crochet Table Runner pattern has neutral, cozy, fall vibes. It works all year long. But you can change it up by swapping it out in December with Christmas table runner patterns.

How To Crochet a Table Runner for Any Season

So when people ask how to crochet a table runner, the short answer is “crochet a long rectangle.” Honestly, you can use any crochet stitch pattern to make a crochet table runner in your own design. From simple single crochet to designs like herringbone crochet stitch, your table runner is just a rectangle in the stitch of your choosing.

In addition to the stitch pattern, you need to choose your yarn. I really like Brava Worsted yarn for my free crochet table runner patterns. It comes in beautiful colors. Moreover, you can machine wash and dry it. Since I do actually use my table runners on the dinner table, that’s a good feature.

What Size Is A Table Runner?

The only other question you need to answer in regards to how to crochet a table runner, then, is what size to make it. The perhaps frustrating, but also wonderful, answer is that it’s up to you what size a table runner is.

Here are some factors to take into consideration:

  • How wide is your table? How much of the table do you want to see on either side of the table runner?
  • How long is your table runner? Do you want the table runner to hang off of both ends of the table? If so, how far do you want it to hang?

Basically, you answer those questions, then you do the math. There is no standard size for a table runner. After all, there’s not even a standard size for tables.

Thankful Table Runner Free Crochet Pattern
Common Sizes of Free Crochet Table Runner Patterns

I looked back at my own free crochet table runner patterns. Here are the sizes I’ve created:

  • 10.5″ x 50″
  • 10.5″ x 57″ plus added fringe
  • 11.5″ x 56″ plus added fringe
  • 12″ x 52″ plus added fringe
  • 15″ x 48″

So, as you can see, my free crochet table runner patterns range in width from 10.5″ – 15″. They range in length from 48″ – 57″ although the final product might hang longer because of fringe.

Doing some research online, I discovered that people answering the question “what size is a table runner?” generally give a huge range. Country Door suggests a width between 10″ and 14″. Moreover, they suggest aiming for a width that is one-third of the width of your table. As for length, they say anywhere between 36″ and 108″ long! They suggest that a table runner should hang off the table by at least 2″ on either end, usually closer to 6″ and sometimes as long as 12″ if you want drama.

So, what size is a table runner? It depends on your table size. It also depends on the effect you want; how much room do you want it to take up on your table? The nice thing is that if you’re flexible about the size then your gauge doesn’t matter quite as much, which some people appreciate for home decor patterns.

Free Crochet Table Runner Patterns for Different Seasons

Now you know basically how to crochet a table runner. However, it’s a lot easier if you have a pattern to work with, especially if these projects are new for you. So, here are some free crochet table runner patterns.

My Free Crochet Table Runner Patterns

First, I’ll point you to my free crochet table runner patterns. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. I hope that my photos of these patterns also give you some additional ideas about how to decorate with table runners.

Thankful Crochet Table Runner

Thankful Table Runner Free Crochet Pattern

Obviously, the Thankful crochet table runner is designed for Thanksgiving dinner and the autumn season. However, the neutral colors and expression of gratitude honestly work for your table all year long. Worked to gauge, this one is 111.5″ x 56″ and then has fringe on the ends.

Plaid Christmas Crochet Table Runner with Red Truck

Red Christmas Truck Table Runner

My red Christmas truck pattern for crochet table runner is part of a series of Red Truck designs that I did. It has a red truck. It has plaid. I absolutely love this one. Worked to gauge, it’s 15″ x 48″. So, as you can see, this is my widest, but also my shortest crochet table runner pattern. The size works with the pattern and I like how it sits on my particular table.

Falalalala Crochet Table Runner Pattern

how to crochet a table runner for Christmas

Another of my Christmas crochet table runner patterns is the Falalalala Table Runner. The colors are neutral, I love the font, and yet it’s festive. If you’re unsure how to decorate with table runners and lots of other Christmas decor, neutral colors help. This one is designed to be 10.5″ x 57″ plus fringe. Fun fact, I also have this as a knit table runner pattern, but that one is 12″ x 52″ plus fringe. This goes to show you that there’s no ideal table runner size.

Let Freedom Ring Crochet Table Runner Pattern

patriotic crochet table runner pattern

The Let Freedom Ring Crochet Table Runner Pattern says exactly that in Red, White and Blue. It’s perfect to put on your table as early as Memorial Day, definitely keep it there for Fourth of July, and maybe even use it until Veteran’s Day if you’re a patriotic household.

Fall Skies & Apple Pies Crochet Table Runner Pattern

Crochet Table Runner

What’s more warm and cozy than a Fall Skies & Apple Pies Table Runner. Enjoy the changing of the seasons with your favorite apple cider drink with friends around a beautifully decorated table. And an easy way to add to your table runner centerpiece is to place small pumpkins along the edges.

Other Free Crochet Table Runner Patterns

I truly hope that you’ll love my free crochet table runner patterns. I put a lot of work into choosing the colors, the fonts, and the style that would work well for many homes, including my own. But obviously, I’m not the only designer out there. Here are some additional free crochet table runner patterns for you to check out:

Sweet and Simple Table Runner by Kristen Clay

This lacy pattern works perfectly as a wedding crochet table runner. (Yep, that’s another time we see table runners put to good use!) However, it’s neutral enough to work well in almost any setting.

Tissiere Table Runner by Beth Major

Tissiere Table Runner by Beth Major

The basketweave crochet texture adds intrigue to your table with this one. Plus those angled ends are unique. So, if you’re seeking something a bit different when it comes to free crochet table runner patterns, this might be one to bookmark.

Note: The two patterns above are free from WeCrochet. They also have three additional crochet table runner patterns that aren’t free, but you might want to check them out:

Plaid Table Runner Crochet Pattern

Fall table runners in plaid crochet

Note that this pattern, and the ones below, are from Lion Brand Yarn. You might see a price on the page because it includes the option to buy all of the supplies you need. However, you will also see a button to just download the pattern for free.

Worked in the intended colors, this is one of the best fall table runners. However, you can change up the colors to make it work for any season.

Beach House Table Runner Free Crochet Pattern

colorful crochet table runner

Although the photo doesn’t do it justice, this is a beautiful free crochet table runner pattern. The color blocking in bold colors works perfectly for spring and summer table settings. However, choose other colors and use the same pattern in autumn and winter.

Holiday Cheer Table Runner

Christmas crochet table runner free pattern

If you’re looking for more Christmas crochet table runner patterns, look no further. This bulky weight option works up quickly.

Scarf and Shawl Patterns as Table Runners

Remember, a table runner is just a rectangular crochet pattern that fits on your table. Therefore, look for rectangular scarf and shawl patterns that are approximately the right size for your table. Aim for ones that are in that range of 10″ – 14″ wide and 50″ – 70″ long, depending on your table. They may not have been originally designed as free crochet table runner patterns, but they work for them! Here are just a few examples:

My Boho Pineapple Crochet Wrap Pattern

boho pineapple crochet shawl

This is an example of a neutral-toned crochet wrap that is shaped and sized perfectly to also work as a table runner. The pineapple stitch has a great vintage vibe that works well for farmhouse decor. Worked to gauge, this is 22″ x 63″

My Modern Honeycomb Crochet Shawl Pattern

Modern Honeycomb Shawl Crochet

If you want a modern, chic crochet pattern that works as both a wrap and a table runner, I think this one might be it. Worked to gauge, this is 16″ x 76.5″.

My Fisherman’s Wharf Crochet Shawl

Fisherman's Wharf Crochet Shawl

Dress up your table with a nautical vibe or simply enjoy the simple beauty of this shawl’s color combo. There are so many ways to decorate with table runners and if you use this shawl as one then let that inspire the way you decorate the rest of the table and throughout the room. This one is 38″ x 92″.

My Traveling Vine Crochet Shawl

The Traveling Vine Crochet Shawl by Briana K Designs

This one is perfectly rectangular. And at 16.5″ x 91″, it may or may not be quite right for your table. But I wanted to include it because I think the vine decoration along with the color work could work so beautifully as a table runner in the right home.

Free Ripple Crochet Shawl Pattern

free crochet ripple scarf pattern with fringe

You’ll find this free crochet shawl pattern over at Mary Maxim. (That’s the source for the next few I’m about to share to wrap up this post, too.) I think it would be amazing as a table runner. I’d love to see someone work it in the purple! But use any color that works for your decor. Size: 16″ x 64″ plus fringe.

Free Hulett Shawl Crochet Pattern

free crochet shawl pattern for autumn color blocked shawl

Okay this looks amazing as a shawl. However, wouldn’t it also work so great as a crochet table runner? It’s 20″ x 65″ so it’s really right in the sweet spot for good table runner sizes. And it’s so pretty!

Free Crochet Sparkle Shawl Pattern

sparkle crochet shawl free pattern

Finally, add a little sparkle to your table with this free crochet shawl pattern. The openwork design and bit of glitter is perfect for dressing up the table during the holidays. Or any time you want a bit of extra joy. Size: 17″ x 62″

Are You Ready to Crochet a Table Runner?

I hope that I’ve answered all of your questions here. You should know how to crochet a table runner, what sizes table runners might be, and how to decorate with table runners. I’ve given you free crochet table runner patterns. Plus, I’ve given you some patterns for crochet shawls that would double well as table runners. So, I hope I’ve covered it all. But if not, ask your questions!

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