Before your mind wanders to the frumpy ruffles of yore, know this: Today’s table skirts fuse modern style with traditional elegance, adding a distinctive pop of color while also creating secret hiding spots for all your stuff.
“Skirts also soften a room in response to the hard angles and edges that have proliferated in design,” adds Jana Phipps, an embellishment expert who’s known as “The Trim Queen.”
If you’re looking to freshen a room without spending a bundle (and who isn’t?), the skirted table can be a quick solution, says Justin Riordan, founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency. Most furniture costs a fortune in terms of time and money to reupholster, but a table skirt is generally less than $100.
“It takes under an hour—including steam-ironing—to change one out,” he says. “So let’s bring back the skirted table!”
We won’t skirt the issue any longer (sorry). Read on for five great ways a table skirt can be your secret weapon when it comes to home decor.
1. Use it to meet and greet guests
The definitive spot for a skirted table is a foyer or entryway where it often sets the home’s tone with a curated tabletop design.
“You can skirt a round table under a chandelier, or put one on an elongated console with a pair of lamps,” MacRae suggests.
They’re also very at home in a formal living room, whether front and center or off to the side on end tables. Phipps loves to see a skirted piece in the middle of a room.
“It’s like a welcoming table in a ballgown,” she says.
Since a table in the foyer will likely see heavy use, consider a piece of custom glass on top.
“It’ll hold the fabric in place, and it’s easy to wipe clean,” notes Catherine Pulcine of CPI Interiors.
2. Take it to the bedroom
Who needs an expensive, coordinated bedroom set when you can just throw on a table skirt? Try a skirt on a bedside table or in a reading nook. Or choose a soft, draped fabric for a bedroom vanity.
“A skirted dressing table is the epitome of feminine glamour,” contends MacRae.
3. Let it cover the bathroom plumbing
No one wants to look at that stack of toilet paper, the dirty plunger, or a pile of cleaning supplies. And the same holds for twisted bathroom pipes. The solution? Phipps installed a skirt around her farmhouse sink to hide the plumbing and to create better storage.
“I also skirted other bathroom sinks, replacing the ’80s cabinet fronts, until I could do a full remodel,” she says. But the look was so appealing, she decided to keep it.
“I love this bath now, because the soft skirting updated the room and made my inherited teal sinks look more intentional.”
Want to do it the cheap and easy way? Just attach some Velcro to a skirt, and put it on a pedestal sink.
4. Tuck clutter behind it
When it comes to organizing and decluttering, a skirted table really shines. Take advantage of this secret storage, and stash board games, out-of-season shoes, books, holiday decor, or even infrequently used kitchen gear under the fabric.
5. Adorn it with chic panels and trim
Now’s your chance for a pop of color.
“A table skirt is a nice way to add another texture, print, or shade to your design scheme,” Phipps says. “But if you want to choose a solid fabric, trim it with cording to coordinate with the rest of your decor.”
And think seasonally with your table skirt.
“Red in December, orange with black spiderwebs in October, mint green in May and, of course, red, white, and blue in July,” Riordan says.
Choose fabric wisely
Sheer material will reveal your hidden storage, so pick an opaque fabric instead. And ruffles of any kind fall squarely into the “don’t” category.
“They’re just so outdated and overly ‘country,’” Phipps says. “Opt for fringe, pleats, or window-framing with tape trim, a big design trend right now.”
As for fabrics, anything that drapes well would be suitable for a table skirt.
“If the material wouldn’t look good as a window treatment, don’t use it on a table,” MacRae advises.
And if your skirt is in the bath or under a kitchen sink, you’ll want performance fabric—something washable that offers mildew- and stain-resistant properties.