24 Placemats You’ll Want to Leave on the Table Permanently
Gingham, stripes, scallops, and more.
Updated Dec 12, 2023 1:25 PM
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Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
The best placemats are key to a well-styled tablescape. Although they’re a completely optional addition to your dining setup, Domino editors love to tap this versatile textile to layer in punchy palettes and patterns, whether that’s for a weeknight dinner for one or a formal get-together with friends.
Don’t know how to choose? With so many options, from materials to styles, picking out the perfect placemat can feel a little overwhelming. But there are three features Kathy Kuo, interior designer and founder of Kathy Kuo Home, recommends weighing carefully: color (Are you going for a calming or contrasting detail?), pattern (Is your tablecloth patterned or solid, or do you prefer to leave your surface bare?), and durability (if you are home to messy eaters, high-maintenance materials can be tricky).
At the end of the day, Kuo adds, the purpose of the best placemats is to add dynamic elements to your table–including textures and shape–for a layered elegance. Here’s how we imagine using our favorite picks, below.
Our Favorite Placemat Brands
- Best cloth: Heather Taylor Home
- Best quilted: Furbish Studio
- Best wicker: Serena & Lily
- Best unique: Lisa Corti
- Best chargers: Crate & Barrel
- Best budget: H&M Home
Best Cloth Placemats
Like any decorative element, there are all sorts of materials to choose from, and Kuo advises selecting a fabric based on intended use. Linen and cotton are the gold standard among placemats. Soft and lightweight, these natural picks are almost always machine washable.
If you’re seeking patterns to play with, our collection with Heather Taylor Home is just the start with the brand. Taylor designs all sorts of ginghams, stripes, plaids, and more, in any number of colors and shapes. Sferra might be known for bedding, but its 100% linen Festival placemats should make it a tabletop destination, too. They’re available in 101(!) hues and you can even get them monogrammed. Hawkins New York offers striped placemats in soothing combos, which you can mix and match with their coordinating napkins. We would be remiss not to mention the maximalist designs of La DoubleJ, which are a celebration of prints.
Best Quilted Placemats
Quilted placemats are often made of cotton with cotton fill and add an extra cushion for your plate to rest on. Furbish Studio makes seven different styles, and you can mix and match borders. Its block-printed pieces are handmade in India using cotton sourced under the guidelines of the Better Cotton Initiative. Ballard Designs’s Marseille quilted table linens offer some understated elegance in a quilted pattern and scalloped edge.
Best Wicker Placemats
Wicker (and hemp and raffia) is great for layering and adding interest to your setting if you’re purely making a decorative statement. It brings an element of texture that will take any surface, even a worn picnic table, from dull to chic. Wicker wonder workers Serena & Lily always gives the right touch to its pieces, and the Catalonia line is no exception. And you can find some color in options from CB2 and Cabana. Or go all black with this coiled Pottery Barn pick, made from jute.
Best Unique Placemats
Cork and vinyl fall into our unique category, as they’ll bring a certain edge to a table. While the Lisa Corti option is colorful and circular, the Old City version goes a bit more rustic and traditional in shape. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective choice or something a bit modern, vinyl placemats might be best for you. They typically offer a range of patterns and colors so you don’t have to sacrifice style for practicality (as Chilewich proves!). They’re also incredibly easy to take care of—if you happen to spill your glass of wine or a sriracha bottle goes astray, all you need is a damp soapy sponge to wipe them down.
Kuo will splurge on metal, marble, acrylic, and wood, all of which are her personal favorites as they tend to not only be durable but will add unique details to a tabletop. Ebony wood, Italian Splatterware, dainty scalloped stoneware, and woven bulrush are favorites in this category.
Best Budget Placemats
Material quality, durable construction, and sourcing practices all contribute to a premium placemat’s price, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t well-made options out there for those on a budget. Take the highly rated options at H&M Home; the 100% jute rounds we found on Amazon; and World Market’s seagrass sweeties. CB2’s Luz design proves that durable vinyl can look luxe, too.
How We Chose These Products
Our list of the best placemats proves that this often formal decor detail can be far from stuffy or boring—we reached for picks with bright colors and playful patterns that toe the line of casual and sophisticated. We prioritized a versatile selection of placemats that range from cloth and quilted to woven and wood. We also made sure our picks didn’t only satiate aesthetic appetites. Durable materials known to last and are easy enough to take care of were essential, since this is an extra layer of protection between a meal and your dining table.
Our Shopping Checklist
Surprise—placemats aren’t just a final finishing touch, they, again, protect your dining table from spills, stains, and overall wear. “I always advise making a selection that’s easy to clean in anticipation of the worst,” says Kuo. Placemats are also a strategic way to organize your dining space with a designated zone for plates, napkins, and glassware.
Otherwise, visuals are largely up to personal preference—our best advice is to have fun and not be afraid to mix and match. “What can set a placemat apart are design details such as embroidery, a border, scallop edging, looped edging, and more,” shares Katie MClure, cofounder of Mirth, a women’s clothing brand based in Houston that also offers an assortment of tabletop linens and accessories.
When styling, our best advice is to have fun, but remember to balance the bold—think: solids with patterns or muted backdrops and saturated accents. Currently, we love the look of bright, spring-inspired stripes or gingham checks paired with French-inspired Splatterware. If you have a busy block-print tablecloth, try a solid, luxurious material like glazed earthenware or stone.
Following a meal, all you typically need to do to take care of a dirty cloth placemat is toss it in the wash (you’ll likely have to limit it to the cold, delicate cycle)—and the quicker you do so, the less likely a stain will have time to set. For particularly stubborn markings, try soaking the fabric for a bit first before attempting to scrub it out and laying it flat to dry to prevent wrinkling and shrinking. Other materials that are designed to be a bit more durable, like vinyl, are inherently stain resistant and should only need to be wiped down with a sponge in between meals.
Q: What is the standard placemat size?
According to McClure, the standard placement falls anywhere between 12 to 14 inches wide and 18 to 20 inches long.
Q: Should I use round or rectangle placemats?
While there are no hard-and-fast rules as to whether you should use an angular or oval placemat, we find it’s best to match up your shapes. Circular placemats fit nicely on rounded dining tables; however, size can also be an important factor: Rectangular placemats tend to take up a lot of surface area and often are large enough to replace a tablecloth. Usually smaller in diameter, a round placemat works well on a compact table.
Q: I have so many old placemats I don’t use anymore—any fun DIYs I can use for them?
Just like stylist Naomi deMañana suggests doing with old napkins, you can dye your fabric placemats a darker color to disguise discoloration. It’s one of just seven creative ways Domino editors have thought of in order to give overused linens a new lease on life. Other DIY-friendly suggestions include using your cloth as wrapping paper or covering old baskets.
The Last Word
Fun or fancy—but always functional—the best placemats can quickly dress up your table settings to elevate the everyday and add a punch of personality. Our favorites prove this formal decorative accent can be chic and not too fussy at the same time. All you need is a bright color or playful pattern to cheer up a casual meal and make your table pop, no matter what’s on the menu.