I’ll never look at shower curtains the same again.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated October 29, 2018
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White shower curtain in a crisp bathroom
Credit: Charles Maraia/Getty Images

A shower curtain is a shower curtain—its purpose is in the name, and that’s really all these sometimes-pretty, always-helpful water blockers are good for. Or so I thought, until I got let in on a little secret.

Prepare yourself: Shower curtains are good for more than adorning your shower. Specifically, they make excellent tablecloths. Like combs and rubber bands, shower curtains can be used to solve a problem outside their main purpose, and they’re surprisingly effective.

You don’t have to take my word for it, though—here’s what Christie Leu, the Maryland-based designer who shared the tip with me, has to say: “A fabulous use for shower curtains is tablecloths,” she says. “Some are waterproof and wipeable, and many are a great size for a rectangular table.”

I immediately realized she was right. Shower curtains are easily cleaned—spills will just slide off of them—and they’re the perfect size for a rectangular table. If you’re attached to crisp linen tablecloths, you can’t quite get the same look with a shower curtain, of course. But if you’re more concerned with how you’ll be able to clean your table covering after the next family dinner, a shower curtain–turned-tablecloth might be the right pick for you.

Don’t just start pulling the shower curtain out of your bathroom every time guests come over, though, even if it’s been cleaned recently. (Yuck.) A new shower curtain makes a great tablecloth—and a used one needs to stay far, far away from your eating area.

“I have a friend who entertains constantly and keeps a beautiful selection folded and hanging on hangers in the closet for spontaneous events,” Leu says.

Maybe follow her friend’s advice and pick up a small, affordable assortment of shower curtains to use as tablecloths—this geometric one from Target and this paisley-print option from Pottery Barn are great options to start with.