4 Expert Tips To Choose Placemats

If you're looking for a way to add color to your table-scape as well as protect your table and even demarcate a special place for each person dining at your table, placemats are the way to go.

Available in every color and pattern under the sun, placemats offer a way to dabble in color and style in a far less permanent way than, say, new furniture! However, it can be easy to pick placemats which don't look great in your space or don't do what they're supposed to do.

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What are the best placemats to buy?

The best placemats to buy are the ones that you will use, and that will do their job of protecting your table as well as looking beautiful for each guest. You'll want to find placemats that are large enough to give a good amount of space for each person, that will be thick and durable enough to have a protective nature, and that will also look good (otherwise, what's the point?)!

Below, we'll cover each of these points in detail.

Gold Cotton Breezy Woven Round Placemat
Yellow Cotton Rectangular Striped Placemat
Navy Cotton Rectangular Reversible Placemat
Ivory Polyester Round Modern Placemat
Midnight Black Plastic Round Placemat
Tango Red Polyester Round Placement Set
Navy Blue Cotton Rectangular Placemat
Canyon Cotton Rectangular Striped Placemat

What is the average size of a placemat?

As you may imagine, the size of the placemat you'll be able to obtain will depend upon the size of your table and the number of guests you're hosting. However, placemats need to be at least a certain size for an adult to have enough eating space!

  • An average placemat is sized 12x18 inches.
  • Another popular size for placemats is 14x20 inches – perhaps suited best for larger tables or for meals in which several utensils or plates will be required.

However, placemats do also come in many shapes. Rectangular ones are the most common, but novelty placemats (such as branded ones for youngsters) or oval-shaped or circular ones do have their place. Metallic circular ones are particularly lovely for festivities! In these cases, you'll still want to make sure that the placemat is at least 14-18 inches across at its widest point, to ensure that your guests have enough room to eat.

Black White Cotton Rectangular Placemat
Navy Plastic Oval Reversible Placemat
Black River Rocks Square Placemat
Blue Cotton Round Reversible Placemat
White Snow Flake Cotton Placemat
Chocolate Polyester Novelty Placemat Set
Mist Green Jute Rattan Wedge Placemat
Gold Cotton Square Geometric Placemat

What is the best material for a placemat?

You have several options for placemat materials, depending on the ease of maintenance and look you're going for:

  • Fabric placemats: Because they're soft, versatile, and easy to clean (you can throw them in the wash!), fabric placemats will always be popular. Choose from lightweight versions such as cotton and linen for an ethereal feel at your table, or stick with heavier canvas or woven selections for increased durability.
Taupe Rectangular Cotton Fabric Placemat Set
Beige Rectangular Cotton Fabric Placemat
Teal Round Polyester Fabric Placemat
Green Rectangular Polyester Fabric Placemat
Natural Rectangular Linen Fabric Placemat
Gray Rectangular Linen Fabric Placemat
Floral Rectangular Linen Fabric Placemat
Geometric Rectangular Polyester Fabric Placemat
  • Plastic or vinyl: If you have young children or will be eating outside, vinyl or plastic placemats are fantastic. They can easily be wiped clean and come in all the colors of the rainbow.
Blue Plastic Round Reversible Placemat
Luxurious White Knot Plastic Placemat
Brown Plastic Round Reversible Placemat
Silver Textured Rectangular Vinyl Placemat
Blue Rectangular Vinyl Placemat Set
Red White Santa Vinyl Placemat
Gray Vinyl Oval Long Lasting Placemat
Champagne Plastic Rectangular Placemat Set
  • Cork or wood: For a distinguished look which can also be wiped clean easily, choose a wooden or cork placemat! They will stay in place on your table and definitely serve as a dramatic focal point for your dining room.
Rose Gold Round Cork Placemat
White Brown Rectangular Cork Placemat
Yellow Cork Wood Rectangular Placemat
Red Trees Cork Rectangular Placemat
Silver Marble Texture Cork Rectangular Placemat
Teak Wood Bamboo Rectangular Placemat
Sliver Bamboo Slats Round Placemat
Brown Wood Bamboo Rectangular Placemat

Vinyl and cork placemats are an especially good idea if you're planning on serving lots of hot food because these materials are naturally heat-resistant. Therefore, it's likely a good idea to get a few of these anyway to place under thin fabric placemats, just to protect your table.

How can I pick a placemat to match my decor?

When you're planning out what your table is going to look like, you should consider the general tone of the meals you'll be hosting. Are they going to be formal and austere? Or are they going to be mostly with family and friends and full of fun? Either way, here are some considerations to take into account:

  • Adhere to the rules of classic contrast. Whatever color your plates are, go with the opposite: White plates on black mats (or light on dark), and vice versa.
  • If you are serving simple foods, that may be a chance for the placemats to shine: Go for more textured, patterned, or bold ones.
  • If, on the other hand, you're somewhat of a chef and your dishes need to be the table's focal point, go for minimalistic, neutral placemats.
  • Consider your guest's preferences. If you have very young children eating at your table, it can always be a delight for them to see beloved cartoon characters at their place!

Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.