- Placemats can liven up your dining room decor while also protecting your dining table from food spills and water stains.
- Cultiver makes our favorite placemats with its classic, simple linen fabric that's easy to wash.
Does anything say adulthood quite like evolving beyond placing your plates directly on your kitchen table? You're a sophisticated grown-up keen on preserving your reclaimed wood or sleek glass tabletop, which is why you've invested in placemats. Both aesthetically pleasing and functional, placemats are undoubtedly a staple of any well-meaning kitchen.
Placemats can not only help protect that expensive dining table from spills and stains, but can also be used as statement pieces to introduce some color into your dining room decor. With that in mind, it's key to consider your color scheme and pattern preference, along with materials that will best serve your goals, whether that's impressing guests or keeping hot dishes from leaving marks.
While placemats probably won't ever be the most expensive items in your kitchen, some are certainly more expensive than others, so we've also factored in a range of price points.
Here are the best placemats:
- Best overall: Cultiver Linen Placemats
- Best protective: Pauwer Placemats
- Best decorative: Benson Mills Pressed Vinyl Placemat
- Best for kids: UpwardBaby Silicone Placemat
Updated 9/1/2020. We updated prices and links and added a selection of relevant buying guides.
The best overall
Cultiver's classic linen placemats are beautiful, easy to care for, and durable.
You may know Cultiver best for its beautiful linen bedding, but the company is here to prove that linen belongs everywhere in your home — including the kitchen and dining room. If you're looking for a set of placemats that are elegant and sophisticated, yet surprisingly long-lasting and easy to care for, Cultiver has an answer for you.
The linen construction of these placemats lends a sense of style to any kitchen or dining table. They drape easily and are just as appropriate for a small family meal as they are for a more formal get-together. These placemats are woven from European flax and pre-washed for maximum softness. They are double-layered in order to protect your table and also protect themselves from heavy usage.
I love that you can mix and match these placemats with Cultiver's linen napkins, adding surprising pops of color to your table setting. And while you won't find any crazy patterns or neon colors from Cultiver, you will find six classic hues — white, smoke grey, charcoal grey, navy, natural, and blush. All placemats are 43 by 58 centimeters or 17 by 23 inches.
While these placemats are admittedly quite expensive for a set of four, their durability and beautiful design make them well worth the extra money.
Pros: Beautiful colors, pre-washed softness, elegant for both casual and formal settings, great color selection
The best protective
If your primary purpose in purchasing placemats is to protect your table, then Pauwer Placemats are the way to go.
There's a reason Pauwer Placemats are among the best-selling options on Amazon. Not only are they affordable, but they're also made from a heat-resistant PVC material. That means that if you're putting down a particularly hot plate or steaming bowl, you won't need to worry about leaving a mark on your table.
While you shouldn't test the heat resistant qualities of the PVC, Pauwer notes that its high-quality placemat is actually flame retardant. Plus, the vinyl is easy to clean. In fact, you don't even need to throw these placemats through the wash. Simply wipe them down when you're done with your meal, and let them live to see another day.
Pauwer placemats also dry surprisingly quickly, so after you take a sponge to these guys, you won't have to let them air out for hours on end. Rather, I've generally rolled them up and put them away shortly thereafter, and haven't had to deal with any mildewy or moldy smells upon my next usage. Because these placemats are so flexible, they're also exceedingly easy to store.
These mats come in sets of four, six, and eight, and while each one is 17.7 by 11.8 inches, you can trim them down easily to be the appropriate size and shape for your table, should you need to. There are also 10 colors and designs to choose from for maximal customization.
Pros: Heat-resistant, protective, easy to clean, affordable, wide range of colors
Cons: These placemats slip around a bit, but you can put another placemat beneath them to stop that
The best decorative
If you're looking to make a statement with your placemats, the Benson Mills Blossom Pressed Vinyl Placemats will help you do just that.
If you tend to have trouble getting the conversation going around your dinner table, you could get a set of placemats that are conversation starters in and of themselves. Benson Mills Blossom Pressed Vinyl Placemats are precisely those placemats, what with their unique webbed design and luxurious metallic colors.
While you — and more importantly, your guests — may think that these placemats belong at a wedding reception or Michelin-starred restaurant rather than your home, you'll be delighted to find that a set of four of these eye-catching mats will set you back just $11 on Amazon. Made of pressed vinyl, they're not only easy on the eyes, but easy to clean as well with a sponge or damp cloth.
Of course, these placemats are intended for use at your kitchen or dining room table, but I've also found that they make beautiful settings for vases, decorative plates, and a wide range of other trinkets that need just a little bit of extra elegance to help them look their best. And thanks to their affordable price point, you can certainly grab a few extra sets to use around the house.
The placemats come in five different colors and designs, so you can mix and match based on your aesthetic.
Pros: Beautiful, unique design, affordable price point, vinyl makes for easy cleaning and caring
Cons: Because of the webbed design, these aren't the best for keeping liquid off your table
The best for kids
When you have a new baby or young kid in the house, you may want to protect your surfaces with the UpwardBaby Silicone Placemats.
As cute as your child may be, the mess that he or she creates at every meal is less than adorable. Luckily, you can make cleaning up said mess a bit easier by investing in a set of UpwardBaby Silicone Placemats. Not only are these mats surprisingly cute, what with their cloud shape, but they're also both baby-proof and baby safe.
The three-piece set is made of non-slip 100% BPA-free silicone, which means that it'll stay in place throughout mealtime, and won't harm your child if he or she decides to try to make it part of the meal. For extra stickiness, you could also try wetting the bottom of these mats.
Supremely lightweight and easy to transport, this set is great to take on the go. So if you're visiting grandma and grandpa and hoping for a return invitation, you might want to bring the UpwardBaby placemats along with you.
Each set comes with a gray, a blue, and a green placemat, and measures 11 by 3 by 3 inches. While that's not sizable enough for an adult, it's quite fitting for a child. And when you're done using them, you can just throw them in the dishwasher for the easiest cleanup imaginable.
Pros: 100% BPA-free silicone construction, dishwasher-safe, non-slip, great size for kids
Cons: These aren't the most multifunctional placemats, as they work pretty much exclusively for your kids
What to consider when buying placemats
Material: Beyond just what material you're drawn to, different materials will serve different purposes, and be either more or less easy to keep clean. For example, if you're intrigued by a linen placemat, you'll want to consider that they'll be considerably harder to reuse between washes than, say, a plastic or wooden placemat.
How frequently you'll use them: You'll want to think about how often you're hoping to use your placemats. If you plan to use them a lot, you may want to have one basic set for everyday use and another high-end set for special guest appearances.
Temperature: Keep in mind the temperature of your average bowl or plate — if you tend to serve hot soup rather than cold salads, you may need a placemat that is capable of standing up to warmer foods.
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