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The 16 Best Placemats of 2023

Aug 22, 2023Aug 22, 2023

Our list of favorites includes canvas, rattan, and linen picks for every style and budget.

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Food & Wine / West Elm

The best placemats have two jobs: They should protect your dining table from spills, stains, and scratches; and they’ve got to look great doing it. While we appreciate the countless times a placemat has saved our tabletops from red wine mishaps, they’re also an affordable, near-effortless way to change up the decor in your kitchen or dining room. You can even find tablecloths that are made to match or complement your favorite tablecloth, so you don’t have to think too hard about creating a cohesive style.

Choosing a set of placemats is easy once you know the answers to a few questions: The durability and ease of care are important if you’ll be using the placemats daily, or with kids. There’s also shape to consider; after all, a rectangular placemat will look a lot different under your dinnerware than a round one. Finally, there’s price and budget — placemat sets can contain as many as six mats, or just one. We interviewed Orlando Soria, a professional interior designer, and HGTV regular, to help us find the best placemats to fit every budget, material, and design style.

west-elm

Often, we associate luxurious, thick-woven kitchen linens with special occasions. But these made-in-India placemats from West Elm are proof that high-end cotton canvas can be used for everyday dining. They’re machine washable (use the cold cycle, and line or hang dry to avoid shrinking), so you don’t have to baby them.

The placemat is made from two different weaves, both slightly textured, for an elevated aesthetic (you can use the shorter edge for silverware placement, or just a stylish flair). These mats come in a set of two, so you can buy a few in complementary colors like dark horseradish and midnight if you wish to switch up your decor from meal to meal. They’re also surprisingly affordable for a reputable, sought-after brand — and they just so happen to be on sale.

Price at time of publish: $24

Amazon

Come for the staggering amount of color options (there are two dozen!), and stay for the ultra-durable fabric. The polyester blend is thick and heat-resistant up to 450 degrees, so you can use them as serving trivets right on the dining table.

While many placemats tout “easy care” washability, these truly deliver; countless reviewers praise them for their practically wrinkle-free look fresh out of the dryer. They’re also a seriously good deal: You’ll get six placemats for $30. But as with many great Amazon steals, some of the colorways are on sale for almost $10 off the original price.

Price at time of publish: $30

Food52

How do these woven placemats keep their shape after dozens of uses, and boast durability strong enough to be used both indoors and outdoors? The secret is in the material: Chilewich uses a 70/30 vinyl and polyester blend for a tough thickness that still manages to look bespoke and artistic. They’re so easy to clean, you don’t even need to machine wash them: Just wipe them down after each meal with a damp cloth.

Chilewich is known for its intricate, innovative weaving techniques, and the New York-based brand’s expertise is evident here. We’re nuts for the Dogwood colorway, which blends dusty rose tones, and Parade is equally stunning, with blue and mauve interspersed with pops of yellow. At over $100, they’re a splurge, but they’ll last you for years — and you’ll love the quality behind the style.

Price at time of publish: $120

West Elm

Calling all fans of cool neutrals: We’ve found your perfect placemat. This popular design from West Elm comes in four blue-toned “goes with everything neutrals”: Platinum, Ocean, Slate, and Black and White. The design is both attractive and smart: The scalloped edges are pretty while adding shape-holding reinforcement that can stand up to machine washing and tumble drying (just use the low cycle).

The textured weave adds dimension to any tablescape, and because they’re so affordable, you can buy multiple sets. We love mixing and matching them to create a perfectly-imperfect table that doesn’t feel too fussy.

Price at time of publish: $20

williams-sonoma

Want to instantly upgrade your tablescape to feel naturally luxurious? “Linen” is all you need to know. This gorgeously textured material is prized for its natural feel and lightly rough texture. Iron it for a crisp look, or embrace linen’s natural wrinkles for an effortlessly rumpled look. There’s more reason to love linen: The fibers are naturally long and sturdy, making these placemats less prone to pilling and unraveling than cotton, or synthetic fibers.

The fringed edges on all four sides lend an understated chic quality, and you really can’t go wrong with any of the colorways available — although the sale price means you’ll want to stock up for special occasions and holidays. We’ve got our eyes on the deep red “Russet,” which would be perfect for cool-weather dinners.

Price at time of publish: $60

Wayfair

Here’s another winner from Chilewich, the masters behind woven kitchen textiles. It’s woven from TerraStrand, a proprietary fabric blend that’s made to replicate the look and feel of real bamboo. These placemats are water-resistant and super easy to clean — just wipe them with a damp cloth. They also stay put much better than cotton or linen placemats; no slipping and sliding around the tabletop.

As a heads-up, these placemats are sold individually at Wayfair. That means you can choose how many you want in your custom set, as well as mix, match, and play with colorways (there are a dozen to choose from). If you prefer to buy a set of four, check out Williams Sonoma’s listing.

Price at time of publish: $19

Wayfair

When it comes to sturdy, incredibly durable materials that don’t feel too rough or unpleasant, jute is tops. After all, it’s used in some of our favorite indoor/outdoor rugs. The material is woven into a spiral, giving these thick placemat design intrigue as well as textural points. At half a pound each, they’re heavier than most options on our list, blurring the line between placemat and charger.

The natural rattan material is undyed, giving these beige-adjacent placemats a rustic, farmhouse-friendly look that would go well with a variety of design styles. And they pop when paired with brightly colored dining sets!

Price at time of publish: $30

West Elm

For the cook who prefers to stand out from the crowd, cork placemats are an alluring choice. This unexpected material is ideal for multitasking; it’s heat-resistant and can be used as a trivet or coaster, too.

Cork, as you likely know, is a natural material that’s a sustainable alternative to plastic — to harvest cork, the bark is stripped from a living tree that continues to live and produce more cork. You can wipe these clean, using a mild soap if necessary. And don’t worry about spills: The textured design hides stains well. West Elm’s cork placemats come in sets of four (for $40) or right ($80) and are available in two different neutral hues.

Price at time of publish: Starting at $40

West Elm

Okay, these are so fun. The actual placemat is made from thick woven rattan, but what sets these apart is the fun sisal fringe. Each one is handcrafted in Indonesia, so you know that not only will they look special, they’re made with care, under rigorous quality control standards.

They come in three different color options: an all-gray palette, or natural, undyed rattan with either stone white or frost gray tassels. These placemats aren’t for everyone, but if you live for the bohemian aesthetic, they’ve got your name all over it. And at just $15 a placemat (remember, they’re handmade), you can buy a bunch to create the set of your dreams.

Price at time of publish: $15

Food52

Forget pretty summer dresses: This season, we’re swooning over placemats with pockets. These unique mats have a stitched-in nook for silverware, which makes setting the table not just practical but light-heartedly fun.

While we’d spring for a set of these based on looks alone, what seals the deal is Meema’s commitment to sustainability. Their denim placemats are crafted from 80% recycled cotton at a textile factory in Guatemala. (Even better, the waste created from making these placemats is then used as fertilizer by coffee growers). They’re available in four chambray-adjacent hues and we want them all. FYI: Only two of the colorways, Striped and Grey, come with those sweet pockets!

Price at time of publish: Beginning at $24

Food52

If this is the first you’re hearing of abaca, you’re forgiven for not being in the know. Abaca, which is a natural and sustainable plant fiber in the banana family, is used for these semi-transparent placemats. They’re lightweight and just sheer enough to feel summery and breezy — but don’t worry about treating them delicately: The fibers are strong and sturdy.

Unlike many of the other mats that made our list, these have a healthy variety of shape and size options. Choose from round, round with a reinforced stitched rim, or rectangular. These are not machine washable, but they’re easy to keep clean if you spot-treat spills immediately with a damp rag. While these placemats may seem like the sweet nothings of the kitchen linens world, trust us: On a summery table, they do all the talking.

Price at time of publish: Beginning at $72

West Elm

Departo’s placemats are quietly luxurious. Made from 100% linen, they’re elegant and a step above basic placemats in every way — beginning with their size. While most rectangular placemats are a standard 14 x 19 inches, these are just a smidge bigger, which makes a set table look and feel custom.

The colors, while all neutral and simple, are unlike any we’ve seen in kitchen linens; just take a look at that rich, brown Tobacco hue. Although these are decidedly minimalist, they’re far from basic or boring: The tiniest bit of frayed edge along the border gives it an effortlessly casual look that’s still fancy enough for your most special dinner party. Hand washing and drying flat, or dry cleaning is recommended to protect the size and shape of these pretty placemats.

Price at time of publish: $29

West Elm

If the phrase “patterned placemats” brings to mind your Grandma’s loud and chaotic set from the 70s, it’s time for a refresh. This set from Mosey Me is digitally printed with big, bold patterns that feel retro without slipping into kitschy territory. Reminiscent of nature and flower gardens, you can choose from three different patterns, all perfect for spring and summer.

These placemats are made in India from super soft linen (seriously, you’ll wish you could buy them in pillowcase form) with a durable cotton backing. To protect the delicate pattern, it is recommended to dry them flat in the shade and to iron them on the reverse side. But don’t fuss too much about maintenance: You can machine wash them!

Price at time of publish: $59

Pottery Barn

Need a placemat that can transition to the picnic table or patio in warm weather? This is one of our favorite options from Chilewich, thanks to its unique fiber blend called TerraStrand. TerraStrand contains 25% renewable vegetable content — not something we usually associate with synthetic fiber blends! They’re also BPA, latex, lead, and phthalate free, so although they’re not entirely “natural,” they’re eco-friendly and food-safe.

We particularly like that they can be scrubbed down with a soapy sponge and water; a must for any kitchen linen that is used outdoors. These pair perfectly with a linen tablecloth for a carefree, not-too-perfect look.

Price at time of publish: $68

Amazon

Belgian linen and sustainably-sourced jute are great, but if you’re dining with kids, luxurious linens are probably not the first thing on your mind (and if they are, please share your mealtime secrets!). When feeding children, we reach for these silicone placemats.

The silicone material is grippy, so the placemat won’t slip if your small dining guest is an enthusiastic eater. There’s a slightly raised edge, too, which keeps spills contained in the mat, not on your table. Other design features we love include a BPA-free, dishwasher-safe construction, and the ability to roll it up (like a yoga mat) for slim storage or easy transport. Plus, it comes in a few fun colors.

Price at time of publish: $10

Material Kitchen

Reversible, these placemats from Material are a decorator’s dream. Each colorway is double-sided with two different hues, and a complementary stitched hem around the edge for added reinforcement. Changing your style or the look of your dinner table is as easy as turning the placemat upside-down. (Note: This is also an excellent tactic for covering stains.)

The four different color options are as dreamy as they sound: Cloud + Sage, Jade + Blue Gray, Sienna + Mocha, and Sable + Flax, and they all play nicely together so no sweat if you build your collection slowly, with a few different varieties.

These linen placemats launder well and wear their natural wrinkles proudly. They’re the perfect option for casual weeknight dinners — and they’re soft enough that in a pinch, they could act as an XL napkin.

Price at time of publish: $55

The most common material for placemats, as with most kitchen linens, is cotton. Linen’s another popular option; both of these are machine washable but may require ironing. For wipe-clean options, vinyl and poly-blended fabrics are best. Jute and rattan are harder to clean, so keep those options for special occasions, or when guests are over.

When choosing a placemat, don’t stick with the same color, texture, and material you’ve used for everything else in your dining room. “Creating a tablescape is like composing a room,” says Soria. “You want to combine a variety of materials to create an eclectic, considered space.” And just like the design, it's all about layering. Says Soria: “Start with your foundation, a table cloth or a runner, and build up from there with placemats, chargers (if desired), dishes, and glassware. The combination of textiles, ceramics, glass, metal, and other finishes makes the tabletop feel balanced.”

Some placemats are a little luxe. Think thick weaves and specific or custom shapes that only match certain plates. It’s nice to have some of those options on-hand for celebrations and holidays, but for everyday dining, we prefer placemats that work hard. Choose easy-to-wash fabric — like linen or cotton — or vinyl options that can simply be wiped down. Reversible placemats are also a huge help for busy cooks; just flip them upside-down to hide evidence of last night’s dinner.

How often do you plan on washing your placemats? Do you prefer a crisp, clean look, or are you okay with some wrinkles and rumples? If you want an aesthetic that’s tidy but you also don’t want to spend your afternoons ironing placemats, consider polyester blends, which launder well and come out of the dryer looking fresh. Vinyl options are also great for wiping clean with a rag. Natural jute or rattan can’t be traditionally laundered, but it does tend to “hide” stains a little better than softer fibers.

There is a dizzying number of material options for placemats: How can you be sure you’re choosing the right one for casual meals and weeknight dinners? Soria recommends choosing something that’s machine washable for unfussy maintenance. He also notes that weight and heft matter, too: “Make sure to go with something a bit more heavyweight so that it doesn't move around too much when you're creating your table setting.” And here’s one more tip from Soria about everyday placemats: Textured options are key — they camouflage stains!

“You're going to get pretty decent protection with a heavyweight, thick placemat,” says Soria. Think natural fibers like jute or rattan. He notes that although plastic placemats (and tablecloths) will go the distance to provide tabletop protection, they tend to be a drag on the overall aesthetic and style of your tablescape.

First, says Soria, consider the season. “For spring, I love pink and pastels; for summer, I go with blues and aquas.” Fall gets beige and earth tones, and winter rounds it out with silvers and ivories. But beyond that, says Soria, “It's all about figuring out what mood you want to create, and what emotional response you want to elicit. Placemats do for your table what rugs do for a room: They create a defined space and make your composition look more cohesive.”

“My go-to placemat is a rectangular placemat,” says Soria. “But if you need a different shape for some reason, such as a round table that won't fit rectangles, I'd go with round placemats.” In general, Soria recommends avoiding square placemats, which can have awkward intersections between corners and round table edges. Plus, they have less surface area than rectangular placemats.

Rochelle Bilow is a food writer and editor with over a decade of professional experience. Previously a senior associate editor and social media manager at Bon Appétit and Cooking Light magazines, Rochelle is also a novelist, a culinary school graduate, and a former professional baker and line cook. In writing this article, she spoke with an interior design expert, researched dozens of placemats from popular retailers, and drew upon her love of kitchen linens of all sorts.

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