A round or square table five feet across is a convenient size for ordinary use, giving ample room for six people, and leaving space for decoration. Large round tops are made to fit over extension-tables, which will seat from twelve to twenty or more people; and when the size of the room will permit, this is the pleasantest form of table for entertainments, and best lends itself to decorative effects, giving to each person a complete picture of the table and of the company assembled.
A thick cotton material, which is made for the purpose, for interlining between table and cloth, is the first requisite in laying the table, and should always be used. It protects the polished surface of the table from injury, gives a more brilliant whiteness to the cloth, and prevents any noise when placing the china and silver upon the table. The linen should be as fine as the purse will allow. Handsome linen will give elegance to a table where ornamentation is very simple. It should be ironed without starch, or with a very little if it is not sufficiently heavy to take polish without it. It should be folded perfectly square, so that the lines will be straight, and should be of spotless and dazzling whiteness. With this as a basis, there will be no difficulty in making an attractive table.
In the way of linen, much taste may be shown in the ornamental pieces used in the center of the table. These may be of any shape or size desired, from a small square to a long scarf. They may be of embroidered linen, drawn-work, lace, plain silk or satin; but wash materials are preferable, and effects of color, when desired, can be obtained in the embroidery or linings. The attractiveness of these pieces depends on their daintiness. The fashion of a center-piece of linen is, however, a passing one, as they are not at present so generally used.