Our kitchen table is now 28 years old. It was a kit when we bought it. And has never been refinished. The kids did homework, painted, played with playdough, and colored at this table. The table top edges show years of wear.
Every summer, I vow to tackle refinishing this table. Maybe this summer will be the lucky one. But for now, a nice tablecloth conceals the rough edges and transforms the dining end of the kitchen to something civilized.
This tablecloth, by the way, is one that gets double duty. It goes on the table for the month of December, and then again in early spring. I made it, and the coordinating napkins, several years ago, from a piece of heavyweight fabric, the kind you would use for drapery.
It survives washing in the washing machine. And because of it's heavy weight, it comes out neat enough for family use, to not need the iron. (Okay, some might say a little ironing would be beneficial. But this is nice enough for us.)
Anyway, call me old fashioned. I just love the look of a tablecloth. It doesn't have the visual clutter of placemats/table top.