With vivid colors, richly-textured patterns and elegant styling, new linens are influencing the look of today’s restaurant tablescapes. New fabric designs not only complement but often can help to set the theme of table settings, according to experts at Garnier-Thiebaut, France’s fine linens company and an industry style leader for more than 100 years.

While the all-white tablecloth is still a staple, hotel and restaurant operators are opting for patterns that make a statement, create a mood or just spice up the room décor. "Customers are looking for originality and color," noted Jean-Philippe Krukowicz, Garnier-Thiebaut’s national sales manager in the U .S. Warm, comfortable, "at-home" colors are most popular, Mr. Krukowicz said.

The summer palette of new GT designs, for example, glows with bright grass-green, soft orchid and sunny yellow hues. In a neutral vein, a current favorite is a lively café color, discreet yet elegant. Subtle new tones on the horizon include platinum and chic shades of gray.

In terms of design, pure linen or metis – 50 per cent linen, 50 per cent cotton – are style leaders, offering the light, fresh look that restaurateurs are looking for, Mr. Krukowicz noted.

A fashion introduced by GT designers, the versatile runner can quickly transform a table with a splash of color or, alternately, soften a spare, "bare" minimalist setting. This freer, more flexible use of stylish linens also is helping to drive the upscale casual dining style, while providing a sense of elegance that customers expect and appreciate.

For those special occasions - weddings, corporate events, formal dinners - the floor-length table covering, like a long evening dress, can create an aura of luxury.

And adding overlays in colorful, coordinated or contrasting patterns, will take the tablescape to new levels of luxe.

No longer simply a backdrop, today’s linens play a feature role in bringing brilliant new style to the table – and to contemporary dining.