Ummm, this would probably look terrible. When we were renting, we had light shag carpets - worst situation with a 3 and a 5 year-old. Our dining area was situated so that we didn't have to worry about decoration ... we bought some heavy, transparent plastic hall runners which could be taken up and cleaned easily. These were left to cover the drop zone, unless we had visitors, when they could be hidden quickly.
We went to hard surfaces in our DR for this reason. Depending on the floorplan and decor, I would pull up the carpet and lay a prefinished wood product (for real wood, I like Kaehrs; Pergo for a composite). The finishes on these are nearly indestructible. You can lay an accent rug under the table, if you like. Same would work with sheet goods or tile ... we like wood.
A carpet-on-carpet look can be gotten with an inexpensive rug laid over the carpet. This works best with short, level-looped carpets - a long pile or sculptured pile doesn't look so good this way. This is a more elegant type of drop cloth, but it is harder to clean (or keep clean).