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While you can certainly put your dinner plates directly on the table, there’s something about placemats that makes everything look instantly more formal. Not to mention, the fabric covering between your food and your meal helps protect your table’s surface.
And you won't have to settle on the design, either. From trendy wicker options to stain-resistant rectangular settings, you're bound to find something unique and stylish to suit your needs.
Here, some of the best placemats available:
For something relatively muted that isn’t totally boring, opt for a simple striped design. These 100 percent Ethiopian cotton placemats come in a neutral cream color with a pop of yellow that adds just enough visual interest. They’re easy to care for, too—just throw them in the washing machine.
Boho-inspired fabric placemats look great on everyday dinner tables, adding an understated pop of color to an otherwise standard dinner. With its cool fringed edges, this cotton textile is trendy enough for a dinner party, too—just imagine it on a table covered with airy greenery and a few candles sprinkled throughout. As a huge bonus, these placemats are machine-washable for easy and convenient care.
For something truly unique, consider faux leather placemats with a distinctly retro appeal. These non-slip, waterproof PU leather mats have a sort of egg shape that pairs well with any mid-century modern design aesthetic. Despite their shape, they're still wide enough to hold your standard dinner plate—and for larger platters, you can stack multiple mats for a layered look.
There is no shortage of colors, either: choose from earth tones like gold or brown, or go for something bolder, like garnet or pink.
For the commitment-phobe, here's a set of affordable placemats that comes in a wide range of options. Select the right quantity for your household (you can opt for up to eight mats) then choose from 24 different colors, including your standard beige and more vivid hues like canary yellow and rainbow red. It’s not just about versatility here, though—the tightly woven mats are super easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Chances are you’ve never seen placemats quite like these. Hand sewn in the Philippines from 100 percent Abaca (aka Manila hemp), these colorful place settings are like a true work of art. Because they're so delicate, they are inherently a little more difficult to keep clean, so you might want to reserve them for special occasions.
When your main goal is to find something unique and decorative for your table, you can have a little more fun searching for just the right pattern. We love these cotton textiles, which feature intricate illustrations of the unique historical homes of Port-Au-Prince in Haiti. While this set of two is a little pricey compared to other options, we can guarantee that your table will look fabulous.
If you’re looking to add a fresh, natural vibe to your table, look no further than these naturally woven agel root placemats. Their wicker-like look, with its unfinished fringed edges, is perfect for outdoor tables or breakfast nooks that get plenty of sun. And because these placemats are so decorative, you don’t have to worry about storing them—they look great as staples on your table. If there’s any downside, though, it’s that the grooves can be a bit tricky to clean.
These placemats prove that you don’t have to sacrifice style for practicality. Instead of the plastic look characteristic of other similar options, they have an attractive neutral striped design. The ultra-durable vinyl material is UV coated to resist fading. Anyone with kids will be happy to know that these placemats are also stain-resistant—and easy to wipe clean if any messes do occur.
Chilewich placemats are extremely popular for good reason: besides being attractive, they're also highly durable options that you can count on to go the distance. This dahlia-shaped placemat comes in five different metallic hues to really bring your table setting to the next level. It also maintains all of the same qualities as the beloved original: easy-to-clean vinyl, a non-slip design, and a Greenguard-certified construction.
Sometimes the allure of hosting a dinner party is overshadowed by the monumental cleanup job you’ll inevitably face. But these paper placemats will make the task a little more manageable. A far cry from stretching butcher paper across your table, these disposable placemats come in gorgeous patterns and designs, so they look just as elevated as some of your favorite linens. The difference? You can simply toss them in the trash once the meal is done.
If you’re on a budget, but want something attractive to don your table (who doesn’t!), check out these polyester placemats. Not only is the price right, but the set of six is highly functional, too. The material is tightly woven, so food doesn’t stick in crevices, but it’s water-resistant for easy cleaning should you experience any messes. There’s plenty of variety, too—choose from 16 different colors to best suit your decor.
Anyone who has kids knows just how messy mealtime can be—but these baby-, toddler-, and child-friendly placemats keep things a little tidier. How? They stick to just about any hard surface, so your little one can’t toss their plate directly on the ground. Plus, they’re a cinch to wipe clean. You can even toss them in the dishwasher if you need to. The built-in compartments make portioning a breeze, too.
If you’re less concerned about messes and more concerned about style, you’ll go crazy for these woven placemats. Each one is expertly crafted out of 100 percent cotton string in three colors—cream, blush, and mustard—for a cool, color-blocked look that deserves to stay on your table in perpetuity.
If you’re all about the familiar, you’ll love the BETEAM placemats. They have a very run-of-the-mill rectangular design constructed out of a very friendly PVC and polyester that’s easy to keep clean. Plus, they are stain-resistant, anti-skid, easily washable, and roll (without creasing) for convenient storage. The set of six placemats—perfect for a family, plus one or two guests—also comes in seven attractive muted shades.
This roundup was written by Brigitt Earley, who has written and edited hundreds of buying guides, particularly in the home space, for various publications over the course of the last 10 years.