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The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Placemats

Looking to spice up your dining table with stylish, functional placemats? I feel you. With so many options out there, it can be downright confusing trying to figure out which placemats are best for your needs. But don't worry - I've got your back.

In this comprehensive guide, I'll walk you through everything you need to know when shopping for placemats. You'll get pro tips on how to style and care for them, plus my top recommendations across different budgets. By the end, you'll be a certified placemat pro! Let's dive in.

Introduction to Placemats

Placemats don't always get the love they deserve. But they're actually clutch - not just for protecting your table from spills and scratches, but for bringing your dining space to life with pops of color, cool patterns and textures. Placemats come in all kinds of materials too, from classic linen and fun woven cotton, to easy-care vinyl and recyclable paper.

With the right placemats in your lineup, you can:

  • Dress up an everyday dinner and make it feel special
  • Add major color and visual interest to your table
  • Coordinate with your dishes and other tableware for a pulled-together look
  • Protect your precious wood or glass tabletops from damage
  • Make cleaning up after meals a breeze
  • Switch up your decor to match the seasons and holidays

When chosen thoughtfully, placemats are a stylish yet totally functional tabletop staple. Keep reading for everything you need to know to pick your dream placemats!

Key Factors to Consider For Choosing Placemats

While your personal taste is #1, here are some key factors to keep in mind while shopping:


Think about how much wear and tear your placemats will need to withstand. Delicate linens or paper placemats prone to staining are best reserved for occasional use, while vinyl and machine-washable cottons are great for daily use. Kids and messy eaters? Opt for stain-resistant and easy-care placemats.

Design and Appearance

Do you want sleek and modern placemats or a traditional damask print? Solid colors or vibrant patterns? Placemat texture and appearance instantly change the look and feel of your dining table. Choose designs that match your decor and style preferences.

Size and Shape

Standard placemat sizes range from 12” to 18” rectangular. Large placemats can anchor smaller plates while narrow runners work well in tight spaces. Consider round placemats for a cozy cafe vibe. Placemat shape should complement your dishes.


You can find quality placemats at almost any price point. Set a budget before you start shopping so you can target the materials and designs you love at a comfortable price.

Matching Dinnerware

For a cohesive tabletop, choose placemat colors and patterns that coordinate with your dishes, glassware or linens. Contrasting hues can also make each element pop.

With your priorities in mind, let’s explore the best uses for top placemat materials.

Best Uses for Different Placemat Types

Popular placemat materials each have advantages depending on your needs:

Paper Placemats

Pros: Extremely affordable, disposable, wide range of prints/colors

Cons: Not durable or stain-resistant

Best for: Parties, buffets, everyday use

Paper placemats are a smart choice for large gatherings and daily meals when you won’t reuse them. Opt for pulp or recycle paper placemats to reduce waste!

Plastic Placemats

Pros: Durable, easy to clean, stain resistant, affordable

Cons: Can show wear over time, not as decorative

Best for: Outdoor dining, kids, highchairs

Wipeable vinyl or plastic placemats handle messy situations well! Use them indoors or out for rambunctious kids or buttery seafood dinners.

Fabric Placemats

Pros: Attractive designs, soft texture, formal look

Cons: Needs laundering, delicate, costs more

Best for: Formal dining, design statement

Luxe linen, cotton, or lace placemats bring elegance to your table for special occasions and everyday dining. Choose fabric placemats to anchor your dining room.

Expert Tips for Styling and Caring for Placemats

Once you’ve selected your perfect placemats, use these pro tips to keep them looking their best:

  • Mix and match! Blend printed, patterned, solid, and textured placemats for a personalized mismatched look. Maintain harmony with a cohesive color palette.
  • Rotate placemats with the seasons or holidays. Use holly prints in winter, nautical stripes in summer, and rich fall hues for Thanksgiving.
  • Clean spills ASAP to avoid stains, especially on cloth placemats. Spot clean with dish soap and launder fabric placemats regularly.
  • Store flat between uses to prevent wrinkling or creasing. Roll up cloth placemats to prevent folds.
  • Iron fabric placemats as needed on low heat. Use starch spray for extra crispness.

Treat placemats with care and they’ll elevate your tabletop for years! Next let's look at the best placemats across price ranges.

Top Placemat Picks For Any Budget

With so many options, here are my top placemat recommendations:

Best Budget Friendly Placemats $25-$50

Pansy Chevrons - Bold chevron placemats make a lasting impression, pairing perfectly with our coordinating Marigold runner for a vibrant, stylish combo.

Fall Beaded Placemats - Instantly update your table with these two-tone woven placemats featuring charm beads on the edges. Pair with the Mary Ann mustard runner.

Our Handcrafted Jute Placemat - These everyday handwoven jute placemats feature chic horizontal striped designs in a natural plain weave. These everyday handwoven jute placemats feature chic horizontal striped designs in a natural plain weave.

FAQs: Your Top Placemat Questions, Answered

How many placemats should you buy? 

Buy at least 4-6 placemats so you can run a load of laundry without constantly washing. Get 8-12 if hosting larger dinner parties.

Should placemats match dishes or other dinnerware? 

They don't have to match, but coordinating placemat and dinnerware colors creates a cohesive, styled look. Contrasting hues can also make both pop.

What’s the best way to remove stains from placemats? 

Treat spills immediately with a damp cloth. For stubborn stains on fabric placemats, use a stain remover stick or dilute dish soap applied with a soft bristle brush.

Can you put placemats in the dishwasher? 

Some plastic and polyester placemats can go in the dishwasher, but hand washing preserves fabric placemats best. Refer to the care label.

How should you store placemats between uses? 

Roll up fabric placemats or store flat if possible to prevent permanent creases. Store in a drawer or stacked neatly in a cabinet.

Elevate Your Table With the Best Placemats

The right placemats can make any meal feel special while protecting your table at the same time. By considering your personal needs, style, and budget, you're sure to find perfect placemats to dress up your dining table.

Match or mix colors, patterns, and textures for your own unique placemat style. Care for them properly so they stay looking beautiful meal after meal. With this definitive guide, you’re ready to choose placemats to give your dining table a lift. Happy placemat hunting!

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