How To Use Placemats

How To Use Placemats To Create A Perfect Table Setting

Placemats are a versatile and essential component of table settings, offering both practical and aesthetic benefits. They protect your table from spills and scratches while adding a touch of style to your dining area. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to use placemats effectively, from selecting the right ones to styling them for different occasions.

How to Use Placemats Properly?

Here are some consideration when choosing placemats for you dinning stting:

Style Of Your Room

The overall decor of your dining room should influence your placemat choice. If your dining area has a modern, minimalist design, opt for sleek, simple placemats in neutral tones. For a more traditional or rustic setting, choose placemats with intricate patterns or textures that complement the room's style.

Style Of Your Table

Consider the material and color of your dining table when selecting placemats. For wooden tables, placemats in earthy tones or natural fibers work well. Glass tables may benefit from bold, colorful placemats that add a pop of color. Ensure the placemats contrast nicely with the table surface to create a balanced look.

What Need Consider When Choosing Placemats

Size Matters

The size of the placemats should fit your place and table settings without overlapping or crowding the space. Measure your table and consider the size of your dinnerware to ensure the placemats provide ample coverage while leaving enough room for diners to eat comfortably.

How Will They Be Used

Think about the frequency and context of your meals. For everyday use, durable and easy-to-clean materials like plastic or acrylic-coated placemats are ideal. For special occasions, you might prefer elegant fabric or woven placemats that add a touch of sophistication to your table.

What Is The Best Placemat Material?

Plastic Placemats

Plastic placemats are practical and affordable, making them a great choice for families with children. They are easy to wipe clean and come in various designs, allowing you to find options that match your decor.

Plastic Placemats

Acrylic Coated Placemats

Acrylic-coated placemats offer the look of fabric with the durability of plastic. They are resistant to stains and spills, making them suitable for both everyday use and special occasions.

Woven Placemats

Woven placemats, made from materials like cotton, jute, or bamboo, add a natural, textured element to your table setting. They are ideal for rustic or casual dining environments and are relatively easy to clean.

Woven Placemats

How To Position Your Placemats

Place each placemat in front of a chair, ensuring it is centered and straight. The placemat should be positioned so that it provides enough space for the dinner plate, utensils, and glassware. Align the placemats evenly around the table to create a cohesive and organized look.

Style Tips For Placemats

Choose Placemats According to Seasonal Colors and Context

One of the easiest ways to keep your table setting fresh and engaging is to switch placemats according to the season or occasion.

  • Spring and Summer: Opt for bright, vibrant colors and light materials like cotton or linen. Floral patterns and pastel shades can add a cheerful touch to your table.
  • Fall and Winter: Choose warmer tones such as deep reds, oranges, browns, and dark greens. Heavier fabrics like woven jute or thick cotton provide a cozy feel.
  • Holidays and Special Occasions: For holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter, select placemats that feature holiday-specific colors or patterns. For formal dinners or celebrations, elegant materials like silk or embroidered fabric can enhance the sophistication of your setting.

Coordinate with Your Table Setting

Ensure that your placemats complement your dinnerware, glassware, and table decor.

  • Matching Napkins: Use matching or complementary napkins to create a cohesive look. This coordination can tie the entire table setting together and make it look more deliberate and polished.
  • Dinnerware: Choose placemats that enhance the colors and patterns of your plates and bowls. For example, simple, solid-color placemats work well with patterned dinnerware, while patterned placemats can add interest to plain dishes.

Layering and Textures

Layering placemats with table runners or chargers can add depth and dimension to your table setting.

  • Table Runners: Place a table runner down the center of your table and position the placemats on top for a layered effect. This works particularly well for long, rectangular tables.
  • Chargers: Use chargers under your dinner plates on top of the placemats for a more formal and luxurious look. Choose materials and colors that complement each other for a cohesive appearance.

Mixing and Matching

Don’t be afraid to mix and match different placemat styles for an eclectic and personalized look.

  • Patterns and Solids: Combine solid-color placemats with patterned ones to create visual interest. This works well if you want to highlight certain spots on the table, such as the head of the table or the centerpiece.
  • Materials: Mix different materials like woven placemats with fabric ones to add texture and variety to your table setting.

Use Placemats as a Decorative Element

Placemats can also serve as a decorative element even when the table is not in use.

  • Centerpiece Accents: Place a single placemat under a centerpiece to define the area and add a touch of style.
  • Non-Table Surfaces: Use placemats on other surfaces like sideboards or buffet tables to protect the surface and add color and texture to the room.

Keep It Simple for Minimalist Settings

If you prefer a minimalist look, choose placemats with simple, clean lines and neutral colors.

  • Neutral Tones: Shades like white, gray, beige, or black can provide a sleek and sophisticated look.
  • Simple Designs: Opt for placemats with minimal patterns or solid colors to maintain a clean and uncluttered appearance.

Placemats Vs Tablecloth

While both placemats and tablecloths protect your table and add style, they serve slightly different purposes. Placemats are great for defining individual place settings and are easy to switch out for different looks. Tablecloths cover the entire table, providing a more formal and cohesive look. You can use both together, with a tablecloth providing the base and placemats adding an extra layer of protection and style.


Placemats are a valuable addition to any dining setup, offering protection and style. By considering the style of your room and table, the size and intended use of the placemats, and the best materials for your needs, you can choose the perfect placemats for any occasion. Proper positioning and styling tips will help you create an inviting and aesthetically pleasing table setting that enhances your dining experience.

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