Although they may not seem like a necessity when setting the table, placemats serve a practical and aesthetic purpose. They protect dining table surfaces from extreme temperatures and stains, which is especially important for preserving vintage pieces, marble, stone, or lacquered wood. Placemats are also great for bringing along on outdoor dining outings to keep your picnic blanket clean.
Sure, a tablecloth can act as a temporary barrier between a plate stacked with food and your beloved furniture, but tablecloths are usually cumbersome and difficult to keep clean. Placemats, however, have the ability to shield your table while bringing formality to your mealtimes. Here are some tips on how to find the best placemats for your dining room.
- BEST OVERALL: Pauwer Placemats Set of 6
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bright Dream Placemats
- BEST ECO-FRIENDLY: CCcollections Eco Friendly Handmade Placemat
- BEST DECORATIVE: SHACOS Round Braided Placemats
- BEST PROTECTIVE: HomeDo 4Pack Waterproof Silicone Placemats
- BEST FOR KIDS: Munchkin Silicone Placemats for Kids
- ALSO CONSIDER: Lexella Placemats for Dining Table (Set of 6)
What to Consider When Buying the Best Placemats
When you really think about it, purchasing a placemat is easier said than done. When choosing the right placemats for your dinner table or patio, you’ll need to consider a few things, including the material they’re made of, who’s going to use them, and how often—just for starters. Here are a few shopping considerations to keep in mind when looking for the best placemats for your next gathering.
Placemats can be made from a variety of materials. Some examples include cotton, polyester and polyester blends, plastic or PVC, silicone, leather, and natural plant products like reeds or wicker. Whatever material you choose, it should be thick enough to protect your tabletop from fallen utensils and should have some thermal insulation properties.
You should also determine whether the material will be easy to clean. If it’s beautiful, but will be impossible to clean, you may want to rethink your choice. Where and how you’re going to store the mats when they’re not in use will also help in your decision; some placemats can be rolled up, while others may need to be stacked.
Heat marks are a common mishap for those who own a lacquered wooden table. Placing a hot plate or bowl on a finished wooden table can result in an unsightly white mark or stain embedded onto the surface. Although it is possible to remove the stain, it’s difficult and time-consuming.
If you own a wooden table with a lacquered finish, you should look for placemats that feature strong insulation. Felt or silicone mats are particularly effective insulators, but other materials can work just as well, depending on each mat’s weave and thickness.
Frequency of Use
Some might think a placemat is only appropriate when company comes over for dinner. But protecting your table and having a more refined dinner experience is always in vogue—in other words, using placemats at every meal is a good idea.
Whatever type of mat you choose, it’s essential it can be easily washed or cleaned. If the material used to make the mat is stain resistant, you’ll likely need to compromise on its elegance. For example, PVC and silicone may be stain resistant and easy to clean, but they’re considered less fashionable than their cotton or felt counterparts.
A good compromise is to have an everyday set of placemats that can handle the wear and tear of multiple meals and a second set of more elegant mats for special occasions or holidays.
Our Top Picks
Taking the factors listed above into consideration, this guide rounds up several practical placemat options for your dining table. See some of the best placemats available online―bon appétit!
These Pauwer placemats are a durable combination of 70 percent PVC and 30 percent polyester that stops liquids from seeping through to your tabletop. These mats won’t fade, are nonslip, and are effective insulators. They protect table surfaces from temperatures up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
Each mat in this set of six measures 18 inches by 12 inches, available in over 20 different colors. They’re easy to wipe clean with a simple damp cloth. For more thorough cleaning, these mats can be hand-washed with warm soapy water and left out to air-dry.
If you want a straightforward set of placemats to protect your tabletop and give your dining experience a touch of class, then this set of placemats by Bright Dream should do the trick. These PVC plastic placemats won’t allow liquids to soak through, unlike fabric or woven mats. Plus, these mats won’t fade.
You can purchase these mats in sets of four, six, or eight in over 30 colors and patterns. One odd caveat: there is a warning on these mats that you should not put tomato juice on them due to stains. That being said, these placemats can be hand-washed with warm soapy water.
These eco- and environmentally-friendly placemats offer a sensible and stylish alternative to plastic or silicone. They’re also heat resistant and easy to clean. Each set comes with four full-size placemats and four coasters. All sets are handwoven with wicker reeds and feature a silk border trim made with natural and sustainable materials.
These mats are perfect for entertaining guests and durable enough to withstand everyday meals. There are several different styles and colors available in medium and large sizes. The medium mats are approximately 14 inches by 10 inches, the large are 18 by 12 inches, and both come with coasters that are 4-inch by 4-inch square.
Elegant and decorative for the dining table, the kitchen table, or the patio, SHACOS Round Braided Placemats are great for everyday use or a festive party. A quality blend of polypropylene and cotton gives these placemats durability and softness.
Each mat is approximately 15 inches in diameter, which is large enough for most bowls or plates with cutlery. Packages come in four, six, or eight mats and a variety of colors to choose from. They’re easy to clean, too: just wipe them down with a damp cloth or hand-wash in cold, soapy water and air dry. These mats are also reversible, making them last even longer. You can store them rolled up or laid flat.
Available in a variety of colors and sets of one to six, the HomeDo 4Pack Waterproof Silicone Placemats are made of food-grade silicone and are BPA-free, making them safe for your whole household. Each mat protects surfaces from liquids, scratches, and heat. They’re nonstick, nonslip, and temperature-safe from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 446 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees celsius to 230 degrees celsius).
These silicone mats can be cleaned by hand or in the dishwasher for added convenience. As a bonus, they have many uses beyond just placemats. These placemats can double as a baking mat, refrigerator pad, countertop protector, microwave mat, oven liner, heat resistant pads, pet mat, desk mat, computer mat, writing board pad, or shoe cabinet pad. The measurements for a standard-size mat is 15.75 inches by 11.81 inches.
Whether you’re feeding your child or your child can feed themselves, messy mealtimes are inevitable. Munchkin’s Silicone Placemats for Kids can keep those accidental spills contained and offer a durable, protective surface for your table. These silicone mats are
dishwasher-friendly and can give your child a safe and clean surface to eat from, should they not want to use a plate.
The fun colors and playful texture of these silicone mats can make mealtime more enjoyable for fussy eaters. Each mat rolls up and travels well, making them an excellent choice for restaurant use. The grip bottom clings to smooth, nonporous surfaces. Each silicone mat is BPA-free and measures 11.13 by 15 by 0.07 inches.
This placemat set consists of six mats for a kitchen or dining table and six drink coasters. The mats and the matching set of coasters are both made of high-quality felt. This particular fabric placemat is designed to protect your table from scratches and dents. Plus, it provides a heat-resistant layer that helps avoid unsightly heat stains.
All the mats are machine washable in warm water. The extra-soft material makes for a more comfortable dining experience, and the mats can be trimmed if you need to make them fit smaller spaces. The larger mats measure 17.4 by 12 by 0.16 inches, and the coasters measure 3.9 inches in diameter. This set is available in three different shades of grey.
FAQs About Your New Placemats
If you have any questions regarding placemats, see some of the most common queries answered here.
What is the best material for placemats?
Many materials work effectively for placemats including felt, silicone, plastic, PVC, vinyl, and more. The best placemat material for you depends on your individual needs and preferences.
What are the best placemats for protecting a wood table?
Any placemat that can adequately insulate your table from a hot plate or bowl is the best choice. The set of 6 Pauwer Placemats protect tables from temperatures up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, for example.
Are placemats out of style?
Placemats are less common today because of the casual dining trend. However, they’re still highly useful. Placemats protect table surfaces from high temperatures and stains. Some options go beyond function and offer a stylish element to the dining room as well.