Friday, January 8, 2010

Clever Ways For Antique Dealers To Display and Organize Vintage Tablecloths And Linens

Clever ways For Antique dealers to Hang Linens

Retro collectors who love colorful vintage tablecloths and dish towels are some of my most loyal customers. In fact linens sell quite well in my shop, Kitsch n Stuff (Collinsville Antiques Center).

Customers Like to Examine Tablecloths

But as any dealer will tell you, customers like to examine linens carefully (for holes and stains) and linens become messy all the time.

How to Keep Linens Orderly

So what can you do if you are in an antique mall or shop and you are looking for the best way to keep your linens orderly? If you have a large enough space you could hang your linens on a rack, clipping them to skirt hangers.

I have also seen dealers use portable racks (metal wardrobes). These are the type of racks you see at a party rental store.

Built-In Poles Between Two Shelving Units

For handy dealers, you can custom build a "built-in" rack using a pole between two wooden display shelving units. Think of this as building a little" closet" between two of your display shelves. A free standing old fashioned Wardrobe cabinet or Amoire can also be used.

Using a Wooden Ladder to Hang Linens

But you still need room for furnishings or built-in poles. So here is an idea for stuffed spaces. Consider using a painted ladder to hang linens on. This idea is great for tight spaces. Similar to the ladder concept is the portable cloths dryer method, a simple way to hang tablecloths and towels. This idea also works well at both indoor and outdoor shows because the rack is easy to set up.

Hanging and Mounting Doilies

At one outdoor show I attended this past summer, the exhibitor mounted her doilies on fabric and hung them on hangers on a metal rack. It was a great way to see her stock without handling and soiling these delicate items.

Compartmentalized Cabinets

For the neat freaks among of the most organized systems to try for keeping linens nice and tidy is a large cubbied cabinet. You can make your own cabinet or re-purpose an existing cabinet that is partitioned. While this idea works well to keep folded linens compartmentalized, you still will need to keep after your stacks. But it's a start in the right direction.

On this note I will tell you that one thing I have learned is to fold my linens on Mondays, after the weekend. I used to tidy up my booth before the weekend, but now I wait till after.......I still sell plenty of tablecloths!

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.

To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link:

. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff

Email me at

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Dianne is a member of:
The American Society of Journalists and Authors
The Authors Guild, Inc.


  1. I LOVE the idea of pinning doilies to fabric and putting on a hanger! I am doing that tomorrow!!!
    Thanks for the great tip!

  2. I love these ideas. I know it can be tricky to just have fabric and aprons stacked on a table. It gets messy so quickly but to have them hanging up is brilliant.

  3. Lucky me ...just found your blog! I am going to enjoy reading all your past blogs and check out all of your links. If I remember correct we have had past dealings. You need a picture of something of mine for your book. It was a few years ago.

    I'd be honored if you'd like to pop in and visit with me as well. You can find me at:

    Now going to my site to see if I can add your lovely link.
    Cheers, cindykay