So much of restaurant design doesn’t make sense outside of restaurants: No one (I would think) is going to install a booth tree, 2020’s first major design trend, in their dining room. Sure, certain design trends, like the current tendency towards maximalist walls, are meant to be aspirational — but isn’t nice when you can exactly replicate the thing that makes a restaurant dining room so inviting.
Consider the oilcloth tablecloth.
These colorful tablecloths are nothing new. The material itself was first used as a floor and roof covering in the 18th century. In the 1950s, with the advent of vinyl, oilcloth made its way to tabletops in patterns we’d now call retro, and since then, their utilitarian nature — they’re waterproof and stain resistant while being more durable than plain-old plastic — has made them staples at outdoor restaurants and market-side food stalls around the world.
As more restaurants bring oilcloths into their dining rooms, they begin to feel like an enviable design statement — not to mention a vibrant backdrop for overhead food shots, which might make them more relevant now than ever. Here are just some of the many, many options for dressing your table in the tradition of these sensible-but-fun restaurants.