"MATSCORNER.COM is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission."
Guides & Tips

How to Choose Placemats – Best Guide to Buying Placemats

Hosting a large dinner and hoping to leave an everlasting impression? As our culture evolved, so did our love for presenting things beautifully so the observer is mesmerized by the beauty. Hence, came the importance of perfecting the table.

Presentation matters as it soothes the eye and attracts the person towards it out of curiosity. Several different elements on a single table can be personalized to mark a positive impression. To narrow the list down a bit, a PLACEMAT is the most noteworthy from the lot and necessary addition to the tableware.

I have reviewed the top 10 best placemats for wood table, where I outlined the key features, pros, and cons each one of them.

What Exactly is a Placemat?

A placemat is a simple pad or covering that is often used to signify the position of an individual on a table. This placemat differs a table cloth as it doesn’t cover the entire table but only a small portion.

Traditional uses of placemats are somewhat limited to being placed at the top of a tablecloth. This is done to protect it from food stains and marks that might occur if the plate, in which you’ve served, is very hot!

Now one may ask, ‘how to choose placemats?’. Well, let’s see.

How to Choose Placemats

Selecting right placemats for your dining table is an art!

The Art of Choosing a Placemat

Choosing the right placemat for your table can be a daunting task, considering the types of tables, materials, sizes, and even the types of events, each of which calls for a special type of placemat.

Well sure, you could just stroll around your local mart and get a placemat for whatever reasons you need. But the art of choosing the right table mats is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Several different materials are put to use, to design exquisite placemats for a wide range of purposes. These vary from protection to decoration, from entertainment to advertisement, and several other reasons.

In this day and age, a million options are available worldwide, from lavish to minimalist ones. It all depends on your taste and type.

Don’t you worry,

We are here to ease the journey for you as you choose your placemats. Rest assured, we’ll be covering every single criterion discussed above and have you pick something that speaks volumes of your own taste.

Ideal Size of Placemats

Placemats of the dimensions 14 inches wide by 20 inches long, garnered the most attention and are the most famous ones to date. This size of a placemat is spacious enough to hold the entire set including napkins, stemware, and flatware.

However, placemats are available in several different shapes and sizes. It all depends on your place setting and what tableware and other items you want to place on a single mat.

Smaller placemats are generally 12 inches in diameter and available in several different shapes like square, round, and others. These shaped placemats might differ in sizes by a few inches but generally, fall under smaller placemats.

Do keep in mind, smaller placemats are not capable of holding the entire plate setting and thus, some of the stuff needs to be placed on the table.

However, consider these placed on overcrowded tables. They can significantly extend the space in between each sitter, and highlight the beauty of the table.

Below we are sharing the size chart of placemats:

placemats size chart - MatsCorner

Other than these standard sizes, placemats can also be custom ordered. Many brands, both online and retail, have now introduced this feature. Sky’s the limit to the size and design limitations on these placemats.

Choosing Placemats Based on their Materials

While many are focused on the intricacies of the design and size, the material of the placemat is equally important in a good decision.

Placemats are manufactured with several different materials and each one of them has its one list of good and bad. They might be categorized into two types; Natural and Synthetic placemats.

Natural placemats are generally made with naturally available resources like plants, minerals, and animals. Cotton, hemp, and linen are some of the materials that are used to manufacture natural placemats.

On the other hand, synthetic placemats are made from chemical products and oil byproducts. Rayon, Nylon, and Polyester are a few to name. Health risks are often associated with these materials and might not be preferred by many.

Natural Placemats VS Synthetic Placemats

  Natural Placemats Synthetic Placemats
Description As the name suggest these placemats are made of natural materials like plant, animal or different minerals. These placemats are made from chemicals and oil byproducts.
Material Cotton, Linen, Jute, Hemp Polyester, Nylon, Acrylic
Advantages

Fewer chemicals are used in manufacturing of natural placemats.

These are easy to wash. Placemats made of cotton, linen, jute, hemp don’t contain chemicals.

These are more durable compare to natural place mats.

Synthetic placemats are less expensive. Easy to washt.

Disadvantages

These are less durable than other placemats.

Natural fabrics may have harmful chemicals used in the process of dying and finishing.

Contains chemicals that can affect health.

Natural placemats are generally less durable than their synthetic counterpart, generally because of their preference of natural elements. Both possess excelling washing qualities and won’t wither away with a few washes.

A slight advantage that synthetic placemats might have is their cost. They’re less expensive than placemats made from natural fiber with no finishes.

So, if you’re looking to buy a placemat for everyday use that is cheaper but equally good, you might want to choose a synthetic placemat.

As an example, let us consider an example where we compare Plastic (synthetic) and Wood (natural) placemats. As discussed, plastic placemats might be a little more durable when compared to wood ones which might break away. Both can be wiped clean or washed if you will.

General health hazards are associated with plastic or vinyl elements, which also apply here.

So, when finally choosing a placemat, you should normally look at both the style and the materials used.

If you’re willing to buy something that is healthier and has lesser risks, you should choose Natural fiber placemats. And if you’re aiming for something cheaper and with more durability, you should go for Synthetic placemats.

People, who face problems in cleaning placemats, should check out our detailed guide on how to wash placemats?

Choosing Placemats Based on their Styles

Placemats can be categorized into several different types, each of them based on the material that is used to manufacture them, locally or traditionally.

Choosing Stylish Placemats - Vinyl Cotton Woven Quilted - MatsCorner

Vinyl Placematsmodern vinyl placemats

The most common type of a placemat, which you’re bound to see at homes and other places is Vinyl. These are fashionable placemats, which reflect the cultural looks as well as the host’s hospitality.

Their classic looks can uphold the overall impression of the table and protect it from stains, and other marks, all at the same time. Vinyl is also considered to be the best placemats for everyday use.

Cotton Placematswoven cotton placemats

Handmade cotton placemats are also a loved option nowadays. With their high-quality fabric and simple designs, they can brighten up a table in no time.

These plain placemats are usable in almost every setting and come in standard sizes.

Quilted Placematsquilted placemats amazon

If you’re in search for lavish ones, well, quilted cotton placemats are a perfect choice. With their intricate designs, and extremely well stitching, these stylish placemats are extremely favorable for high-end dinners and events as they are surely going to leave a sound mark on the observer.

You could also opt for elegant ones of the same type if you’re a person of that particular taste.

Woven Placematsnatural woven placemats

Another option to upgrade the looks of your table is to use woven placemats. They are locally available in several different options, colors, and styles, be it traditional or contemporary.

If you’re a fan of the 90s and prefer something rustic for your tableware, these are the perfect fit. If you’re unable to find any, Pier1 has some amazing options available.

These were some placemats based on their styles. Let’s discuss more the best ones for several scenarios.

Best Placemat for Toddlers

Best Placemats for Kids

If you have a toddler at your home, it is preferred to avoid expensive placemats.

In this case, the best placemats for toddlers are fabric placemats. But another issue with them is spillage, which might cause the fabric placemat to get dirty really quickly. Thus, you should go for either hardboard placemats or hard fabric placemats which have a higher tendency to absorb the spill.

Paper ones are also a good option if you’re looking to buy cheaper placemats.

Choosing Placemats for Everyday Use

Choosing Right Placemats for Everyday Use

Looking for the best placemat for everyday use?

Don’t skip this section!

We’ve already discussed many amazing styles of placemats and how they can be used almost everywhere. However, the best placemat for everyday use has to be the Vinyl or Fabric placemat.

Other options can also be considered, there’s no hard and fast rule here.

Best Placemat for Wooden Tables

Wooden tables are trending throughout the world because of their sleek cuts and modern designs. Precious as they are, they need to be protected from stains and marks a lot, to keep them clean.

Pauwer placemats win the polls for the best placemats for wooden table by a majority. Their elegance combined with their ease of use, bendability, and ease of cleaning makes them a very good option.

They’re also heat resistant which can be a great advantage when something hot is placed on it. It will insulate the effects and won’t damage the wooden table at all.

You may also like to read – How to Protect Wood Table from Heat Marks

Choosing the Right Placemat for the Right Event

Consider the same example again. If you’re about to host a dinner and want to impress your guests. Well, you might want to go after something lavish and minimal at the same time.

Chilewich placemats are highly recommended in this case. Their bold nature, when combined with beautiful art on top, gives it a really attractive look. Quilted placemats are not a bad option as well.

Now, if you’re simply looking forward to buying placemats for your table, and keep them in use for daily purposes.

You might want to choose plain cloth, fabric, or hardboard placemats. These are extremely easy to use, washable, and the ‘wear and tear’ factor is longer with these.

Customizable placemats are also a thing now. You could order one right now, and pick your own size, color, and even the theme.

Trending placemats are covered with designs that represent a particular event like New Year’s, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Vinyl placemats are normally used for these purposes.

Now, Are Placemats Out of Style?

Placemats are a great addition to a table, and can never go out of style. With their rise in popularity and availability, placemats have taken over almost every other place because of their versatility.

Be it your workplace, school desks, restaurant tables, vendor booths, or your home tables, they are found everywhere!

In case you don’t like the beautifying part of a placemat, they’re highly useful for protection purposes as well. Stains, burn marks, or spills caused by anything can ruin a good table cloth or your table if you are not using one.

Once covered by a placemat, all these problems stay away from the cloth and only affect the placemat which can be washed easily if its material supports washing qualities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) When Choosing Placemats

What is the average size of a placemat?

Placemats are available in several different shapes and sizes. Most commonly observed shape is the rectangular cut, along with the dimensions 14 inches wide by 20 inches long.

Other sizes are also available, particularly a large and a small placemat each of which has their own advantage.

Custom sized placemats are also available on order with a wide range of designs.

What is the best material for placemats?

Placemats are locally manufactured in two different types of materials, namely natural and synthetic placemats.

Again, choosing a placemat depends on your preference and ease of use.

If you prefer a placemat that is easily washable, elegant, mildly durable but a little expensive, natural fiber like cotton placemats and others are the best fit for you.

Instead, if you opt for a cheaper placemat, with high durability, and added washing qualities, synthetic placemats like vinyl ones are the ones to go for.

What is the point or purpose of using placemats?

Normally, placemats are kept on top of your table clothes or just your table in order to beautify It and also mark where each individual will be having a seat at the table.

Other than this, they’re also used for protection from stains, dirt marks, grease marks, and other spills that might occur. Since some of them are easily washable, they can be reused as and when wanted rather than table clothes which might be ruined after a single spill.

For example, a tea stain is very hard to wash off of a cloth. But say, if it spills on a hardboard or a good fiber placemat, it can be easily washed off and the problem ends there and then.

Can you use a table cloth and placemats?

Tablecloths and placemats can be used separately and together, it’s all about the preference and what sort of an event are you setting up your table for.

If it’s an informal event, just plain or funky colored placemats would do well. If it’s very formal, such as a dinner or a wedding, it’s better to stick to good solid colored placemats that complement the theme.

Using placemats without a tablecloth is only preferred for informal events where impressions are not really an issue and it’s a merry event.

On the other hand, a tablecloth when combined with a placemat raises the elegance level and marks a good impression in terms of hospitality and endearment.

Can I use round placemats on rectangular table?

With the rectangular table, you can use placemats of any shape, but it is recommended to use rectangular or square-shaped placemat because round one doesn’t give a beautiful look on the rectangle shape dining table.

Final Words

Want to increase the beauty of your dining table in the least expensive way? Simply buy a stylish and colorful set of placemats for your dining table. This not only beautifies the look but also provide a great advantage in protecting your table from any kind of damage due to heated serving plates and bowls. Hope the above-shared guide on how to choose placemats will really help you in picking up the best placemats for you. You can purchase place mats for everyday use, holidays, and special occasions like Christmas, Birthdays, and Anniversary.

6 Comments

Leave a Comment