Skip to Content

22 Types of Placemats

Placemats may come in different sizes, shapes, designs, and material types. Read on to find out all kinds of helpful information on placemats.

Table with a gray placemat, black cotton napkin, two silver forks, a knife and a glass

Have you ever put a plate or glass on your table and left marks or scratches behind? Or have you not realized your plate is hot and caused heat damage to your table? 

Placemats, or table mats, are a great way to cover a small area of your table, usually an individual place setting. They provide a layer of protection for your table. 

Placemats may come in different sizes, shapes, designs, and material types. They do not replace table cloths; instead, they add a decorative touch to your dining table. 

Placemats can be used for decorative, advertising, entertainment, or protection purposes. For example, placemats can soak up a spill as well as create a beautiful place setting.

They can protect your dinner table from stains, scratches, and heat damage. This is a decorative statement piece that is unique and colorful.

What is a Placemat?

Placemats are mats that are placed and arranged on your table, bar, or tray. It sits beneath the dinnerware at each place setting. Most of the time, people think that placemats are rectangular shapes. However, there are various other shaped placemats such as squares, circles, and geometric. 

There are placemats with many colors, but they can be a single color and pattern. In addition, you may find prints, embroideries, and special borders, such as piping, fringe, or frames on the placemats. 

Types of Placemats

Bamboo Placemats 

Light colored bamboo placemat

Bamboo placemats are a great option for those who want a sustainable way to protect their dining table while also making the dining room table look pretty. In addition, bamboo is healthy and safe for the environment, which makes you feel comfortable putting them under your food. 

You do not have to worry about toxicity and odor with bamboo placemats. These placemats are sturdy and durable. They provide texture to smooth surfaces and provide good heat insulation. These placemats are also resistant to stains. 

Some bamboo placemats have a surface that is oil-resistant and does not discolor. This happens because they go through a process of additional carbonization. Bamboo mats are pest-free and are an affordable option.

Cork Placemats

Light brown round cork placemat

Cork placemats are also an environmentally friendly option. It is a sustainable, natural, and practical material that can be used for any type of kitchen table. These placemats can be used for formal events to a casual meals. 

Cork is sturdy, durable, and heat-resistant. It provides a rustic look to your table. For it to be most effective, you must treat the cork with a protective finish. This is the best way for it to resist stains and moisture. 

When you think of a cork placemat, you may think about the boring brown color. However, you can find these placemats with decorative designs. You may even find a placemat that has a waterproof top made of a material like lacquer that has a cork backing.

Cotton Placemats

Taupe rectangle cotton placemat

You may hear cotton placemats referred to as table linen. This is a great accessory for your table. They are environmentally friendly. You will often find cotton placemats in hotels and restaurants.

Cotton placemats easily soak up spills, especially liquid ones. However, they are simple to clean because you can throw them in the washing machine. 

Often you will see white cotton placemats, which give any table a classic and sophisticated look. These placemats add texture and layers to your table. Cotton placemats are found in more colors than just white. You will find them in many colors and patterns. 

Denim Placemats

Wooden table, denim blue rectangle placemat with blue plate and fork and knife, glass mug and a white and blue napkin

Denim is a unique and fun material. You may not readily think of it as a material that is best for your table. However, it is durable and soft and holds up to machine washing. 

You can easily clean these placemats with a sponge or damp cloth. If you have a challenging stain, you can throw them in your washer. 

This type of placemat protects your table from heat, stains, and burns. It can go with just about any decor. It is a trendy and stylish way to dress up your table. 

Producing denim tends to use a large amount of water during processing which makes it not the best material for the environment. However, you can recycle your old denim into placemats which is an environmentally friendly way to use denim. 

Fabric Placemats

Lime green placemat

Placemats came in various fabrics, from cotton to denim and lace. While they are intended to protect your table, most people look for options that also enhance the look of your dining table. As a result, fabric table mats include a wide variety of materials. 

Jute Placemats 

Close up of a jute placemat

Jute is a plant that grows quickly, similar to cotton. It is the second most produced plant fiber. However, that is where the similarity ends. The jute plant is fed with rain and does not use fertilizer. This makes it inexpensive to produce and friendly to the environment.

Jute is often referred to as burlap or hessian. This is an incredibly strong material and ideal for placemats that are sustainable. 

Jute is a really high-density material. It is made from yarn and woven into designs. These placemats go well with vintage and rustic-looking dinner table. 

When left in their natural state, jute placemats are understated and provide a clean table decoration. They have a rustic and coarse weave which is perfect for an indoor dining setting.

The look and texture of jute may not appeal to everyone. You can consider combining jute with another fabric, such as lining them with lace, cotton, or velvet.

Kids Placemats

Kids menu placemat, red and white checkered with little animals and food and drink pictures, menu showing options for salads, drinks, main dishes and desserts

If you have children, you know they can be messy. So any way that you can protect surfaces from their mess is a good thing. Placemats for kids help you clean up easier and faster. 

Silicone placemats are usually best for children. They are safe and functional. They are designed to adhere to the surface of the table, so they do not move around. They are typically lightweight and come in fun designs and colors. 

Kids’ placemats are resistant to stains and do a great job protecting your table. Placemats for kids serve many purposes. First, they are a great way to keep children entertained while sitting at the table and waiting.

They may have fun sections where they can color or solve puzzles. This is a great way to entertain them because they are bright, playful, and colorful. You can also find placemats that have some educational elements to them.

If you have a younger child that is just learning to eat by themselves, you can find placemats that have bowls built into them. They may also have separate places for food items. 

Lace Placemats

Orange background white a lace placemat, white with purple edges

Lace placemats bring a look of sophistication to your table. They tend to be one of the more popular placemat options. They can go with just about any type of table setting. 

They are incredibly decorative and come in many patterns that consist of embroidery patterns. They are in various designs and shapes. Lace is a material that is safe for food.

Leather Placemats

Brown leather rectangle placemat

Leather is a popular option for placemats because it is waterproof and is able to sustain extreme hot and cold temperatures well. This means it can hold up to spills. You can simply wipe down the placemat with a wet sponge or damp paper towel.  

These placemats will not slip off the table. Leather is incredibly versatile, and the same is true of placemats made from leather. These placemats add a level of sophistication and a modern look to your table. 

Leather placemats are highly durable and will not scratch. However, you should still be careful with knives and scissors because they can be cut. 

Leather table mats can look formal or more casual. To create a more casual look, use circles, ovals, or attractive shaped placemats. To keep the look more formal, use rectangular or square leather placemats.

You may find these placemats in business settings to protect desks and conference rooms. This can protect tables from equipment, coffee stains, and food. 

Linen Placemats 

Off white linen material on a marble counter

Linen is a popular and stylish option for placemats. They add decorative value to your table. In addition, these placemats are durable and beautiful. 

Linen placemats do tend to be more expensive. Higher-quality linen, like Belgian flax liner, is more expensive because it stays in place and has heavier material. 

Flax linen gives your table a lived-in look without appearing shabby and worn-out. They are easy to wash and come in many colors.

Paper Placemats

White paper placemat with red outline and accent designs, fork and knife

Paper placemats are a great option for hotels, bars, and restaurants. Finally, there is an affordable option, especially when buying in bulk. For a location that uses a high amount of placemats often, this may be the best option. 

Paper placemats are disposable and not intended to last. They do not require any cleanup as they are thrown away when finished. They do protect the table from food and drink spills. These placemats are convenient and low maintenance. 

They can be customized and theme based. They can be used in creative ways like to display the menu or for advertising. They can also alert customers about the latest promotions or specials. Family-friendly places may have games and puzzles printed on them. 

Paper placemats are not environmentally friendly. They generate a lot of waste. Sometimes, but not always, they can be recycled. They are not a good protective covering for solid wood or marble tables. They are not resistant to heat, cold, stains, and moisture. However, they do save hours of cleaning time and help to maintain hygiene standards.

Plastic Placemats 

Black plastic placemat

Plastic placemats are great for everyday use. They are ideal for protecting your table. However, they are not classy, and you probably will not want to use them when hosting a dinner.

They are highly durable and stain resistant. In addition, these placemats are easy to clean. You can wipe them off or shake them out to clean them.

Plastic placemats are affordable and come in numerous shapes and designs. They are easy to store by rolling them up and stacking them. However, they might take a few minutes to flatten out when you unroll them.

Plastic table mats are not the best option when serving hot food items. They are easily damaged at temperatures higher than 150 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, plastic placemats slip and move around the table. 

Polyester Placemats

Close up of a black and white polyester placemat

Polyester is a blend of materials that are great for placemats. This is a highly durable material. These placemats last a long time, making them a great investment. 

Polyester placemats come in different patterns and designs. All you have to do to clean them is wipe them down with a wet cloth. If they are really dirty, you can scrub them in the sink.

Quilted Placemats

Table with white sewing machine, red pin cushion, scissors, thread, basket of square quilt peices, sewn quilted placemats

Quilt placemats are usually hand-stitched and look unique. They come in a wide variety of fabrics, colors, patterns, and designs. Quilted placemats are easy to clean. They may be able to double as a potholder or a trivet on which you can place hot plates.

Quilted placemats are durable materials and last for a long time. These placemats absorb liquid and tend to stain. They are machine washable and relatively easy to clean. Quilt placemats are machine washable, so they are easy to clean. They protect the table from stains, heat, and scratches.

Round Placemats

Gray round placemat

Round placemats are a unique placemat choice for people who have minimal space or a round table. Braided round placemats are popular and look elegant for a formal dinner party or laid-back for a casual dinner. 

You can find them in different colors that work well with any tabletop setting. They are available in materials from cloth to handwoven corn straw tops.

Silk Placemats

Lime green silk

Silk placemats are made from a natural reed. As a result, they are more environmentally friendly than silicone and plastic. These placemats are resistant to heat and protect your table from burns. 

Silk placemats can be wiped down, making them easy to clean. These placemats look and feel luxurious. However, they are not a common type of placemat. They do not pair well with all types of decor. 

Table Protection Placemats 

Table with black and white marble pattern placemats, white roses in crystal vases, tea light candles

Table protection placemats are intended to protect wooden tables from burn marks. These are a bit of an investment but might be necessary if you serve hot dishes and plates. These placemats also protect your table from scratches. 

Table protection placemats are typically made from vinyl, synthetic materials such as polyester or PVC. However, they could also be made from glass. 

Twig Placemats 

Placemat made of twigs bound together by wire

Twig Placemats provide a rustic look. This is ideal for a minimalist kitchen and dining room. These placemats are also great for someone that enjoys being outdoors. 

These placemats are focused on decoration, but they protect your table from spills and scratches. In addition, they are an affordable placemat option.

Velvet Placemats 

Crushed red velvet material

Velvet placemats are manufactured from a combination of synthetic and natural materials. They usually consist of nylon, polyester, or viscose. 

These placemats are considered chic and luxurious. They can be a classy accent to your table, especially during the holidays or for a dinner party. 

If you have a decorative table, plain velvet placemats can provide balance with texture and warmth. You can find them with fancy embroidery or embellishments. 

Velvet can protect your dinner table from stains, heat, and scratches. They can easily be washed in cool water but do not expose them to sunlight.

Vinyl Placemats

Gray vinyl placemat

Vinyl placemats are reliable and sturdy. This is one of the reasons why vinyl placemats are common. They protect your table from spills, stains, and heat. They are easy to clean up by wiping them clean or lightly washing them in the sink. Vinyl placemats are waterproof. 

Vinyl placemats are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is a type of plastic. These placemats are usually thin and flexible. some placemats are made from two or more vinyl sheets are reinforced with a liner material that is sealed along the edges. This process makes it thicker and less bendy. 

These placemats are available in all colors and designs. You can find them in plain white ones or in vivid colors and patterns. In addition, you can find woven vinyl placemats that have less plastic and more stiffness.

Wooden Placemats 

Placemat made of stick bound together by twine

Wooden placemats give any dinner table a unique look. These placemats are sustainable and environmentally friendly products. In addition, they are easy to clean. 

Wooden placemats can be used indoors or outside. They are hardy materials, ensuring the placemat lasts for a long time. They do not stain easily. 

Woven Placemats 

Woven placemat in crisscross pattern

Woven placemats are ideal for those looking for placemats that look nice and are easy to clean. A basket weave placemat is great for everyday use. 

They can be used indoors and outdoors. They can be cleaned easily with a wet sponge or rinsed under the sink. They are reliable, durable, and last a long time.

You can also find woven textile placemats. These placemats are trendy and blend with a minimalist design. They often come in colors like gray, black, and silver. 

What is the Purpose of Placemats?

Placemats serve various purposes. Their primary purpose is to protect your table from food and drink spills. In addition, they protect the table from extreme temperatures and scratches. All table surfaces will benefit from the protection offered by placemats. 

Placemats muffle the noise that is caused by plates, cups, glasses, and cutlery being placed on or moved around the table. Placemats that are well selected can complement your home décor. Placemats will not cover the entire table, which allows you to show off its beauty. Placemats can be part of the decorations for a special event, like a birthday or shower. They can even highlight a season or theme.

Placemats are considered to be more modern than tablecloths. Placemats can be used on top of a tablecloth or with a table runner to create a multi-colored look or multi-dimensional look.

How Do I Choose the Right Placemat? 

Some might be thinking that choosing the right placemat is an art. Others may just randomly pick one and throw it on their table. For those that are somewhere in the middle, it might be difficult to know what is the right placemat for them. 

Each purpose and occasion and purpose requires a different type of placemat. In addition, they come in many sizes, shapes, materials, and colors, which may make it even more challenging to choose.

The size and shape of your table play a role in the best placemat selection. It is essential that you know your purpose, such as entertaining, advertising, or just protecting your table.

Your personal preference also plays a role in making the best placemat selection. 

What is the Best Placemat Size? 

There is no one perfect size for a placemat. It depends on your needs. Placemats typically have a set dimension of 14 inches wide & 20 inches long. This is the most preferred size. 

Smaller placemats are typically used for a smaller-sized table. These tables may get crowded, and a placemat can help to indicate the individual places for people to sit at the table while helping it look nice.