Last fall my mom and dad gave us the dining room table that my brothers and I grew up eating on. It is a "fancy" table from Ethan Allen, one that needs to have a bit of care taken so that is doesn't get damaged or scratched. I've been a bit nervous with it in our house, especially with the number and variety of people that we have over on a regular basis. You know, kids don't always think to use a coaster!
The most obvious way to protect the table is to use a table cloth. I know, Einstein here. However, it has proven hard to find a cloth that was long enough for this table (120"), that satisfied my aesthetic standards, AND that wouldn't break the bank! I found beautiful cloths for $120, but that is too much for something that I want to be able to use often and clean easily.
Well, I was wandering the fabric department at Wal Mart the other day and came upon this display.
Vinyl covering, 54" wide and however long I want! I was particularly drawn by the black and white pattern you see there, as it has a flannel back and looks like a cloth. Only $2 a yard! I bought 5 yards, which was plenty for the dining room table and left me a good-sized piece left over for either the kitchen table (if I want to match) or for a table outside. Hooray!
Another idea for this fun stuff is to use either the clear vinyl or the clear with a white pattern and affix it to your table by stapling it to the underside. Of course, you wouldn't do this with a formal table, but it would be a fun way to transform a more casual/beat-up table.