Best Placemat Sets

Updated June 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

17 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
277 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best placemat sets

Last Updated June 2019

Keeping your dining table in good condition is difficult when you’re regularly placing messy plates of food, wet glasses, and sharp cutlery on it. But with placemats, you’re able to protect your table and add a decorative touch to your dining room at the same time. Buying a placemat set usually offers a better value than purchasing piecemeal, and makes it easy to coordinate your place settings.

As you likely know, a placemat is a small table covering that you place beneath your plate, glass, and silverware. They help protect your table from scratches, watermarks, stains, and heat damage, but also add a decorative touch, because they’re available in a wide array of colors and patterns. A placement set contains multiple placemats, so you can set one out at every seat of your table.

Because there are so many placement set options to choose from, it’s important to know exactly what to look for. That means deciding how many placemats you need, what material you prefer, what size you want, and what other features will make make a placemat set the best fit for your dining table.

Our handy shopping guide can help you make sense of all your placemat set options so you can find the perfect set for your home. We’ve also included several specific product suggestions to take all the hassle out of shopping.

Using different shaped plates and placemats can create an interesting contrast for your table settings. For example, set a round plate on a square placemat or a square plate on a round placemat.

Key considerations

Number of placemats

Placemat sets all contain at least two placemats, but some offer as many 12. When you’re buying a placemat set, it helps to consider how you plan to use them. If you’re purchasing a set for everyday use, you only need one placemat for every member of your household.

However, if you plan to use your placemat set for more formal occasions, such as dinner parties and holiday dinners, you’ll likely need more. A set with 12 placemats may be sufficient for most special events, but if you have a particularly large extended family that you regularly host for sit-down dinners, you may need to purchase multiple sets to have a placemat for every guest.

Material

Placemat sets are available in a variety of fabrics and materials. The material that you choose not only dictates the placemat’s appearance but also how well it’s able to protect your table.

  • Plastic or vinyl placemat sets are ideal for casual everyday use. They’re the easiest to clean because you can just wipe them with a damp rag. That makes them an especially convenient option if you have children who tend to make a mess when they eat.

  • Cotton and linen placemat sets can work for both casual and formal dining depending on their look. They’re usually machine-washable and are particularly effective for absorbing moisture from plates and glasses to prevent water damage to your table.

  • Nylon, polyester, rayon, and other synthetic placemat sets can also be suitable for both casual and formal occasions.. Like cotton placemat sets, they’re machine-washable, and most can be dried in a dryer. They’re not quite as effective at absorbing moisture as cotton placemats, though.

  • Lace or silk placemat sets are typically meant for formal dining occasions. They’re usually more decorative than functional and must be washed by hand to avoid damage to the fabric.

  • Bamboo and wood placemat sets usually have a more casual, rustic appearance, so they work best for everyday use. They can usually be washed by hand with water and mild dish soap, though it’s important to air dry them thoroughly to prevent mildew and other water damage.

Shape and size

While the shape of the placemats in the set you choose is mainly a decorative concern, their size is usually a more functional issue because you want to be sure that you can fit your dinner plates and any other items you want on the surface of the mats.

  • Rectangular placemat sets are usually the most common option and are typically 12 by 18 inches or 14 by 20 inches in size.

  • Square placemat sets are usually 13 by 13 inches in size.

  • Round placemat sets typically have a 15 inch diameter.

  • Oval placemat sets are typically 13 by 19 inches in size.

DID YOU KNOW?

Many manufacturers sell table runners, napkins, and other linens that match their placemat sets for a fully coordinated look.

Features

Color

Placemat sets are available in a wide range of colors, so you can easily find an option that coordinates with your dining room or kitchen decor. Placements are actually a simple and cost-effective way to add a pop of color to your decorating scheme, so you may want to choose a bold, bright color for your set, such as red, yellow, orange, cobalt, emerald, or purple. However, if you want a set of placemats that work even if you change up the room’s decor, you may prefer a set in a neutral shade like black, tan, gray, or beige.

You can also find placemat sets that feature patterns in multiple colors. Striped, polka dotted, floral, plaid, or checkered patterns are just some of the options you can find. Some placemat sets even feature artwork or themes, such as a replica of a famous painting or a map of the United States.

Reversible mats

For added versatility, some placement sets are reversible. For example, they may feature a solid color on one side and a bold pattern on the other. That allows you to easily change up the look of your table depending on the occasion, season, or surrounding decor.

Ease of cleaning

Placemats are going to get dirty, particularly if you have kids. That’s why it’s important to choose a set that’s easy to clean. Vinyl and plastic options are usually the easiest to keep clean because they don’t absorb liquid and aren’t as likely to stain as other materials. You can usually wipe them clean with a wet cloth.

If you opt for fabric placemats, choose a machine-washable set to make clean up as easy as possible.

Placemat set prices

Placemat sets vary in price based on how many placemats they contain, what material they’re made of and how large they are. Most four-piece placemat sets range anywhere from $8 to $186.

The most affordable placemat sets are typically made of plastic, vinyl, or synthetic materials. Plastic and vinyl placemat sets usually cost between $8 and $40, while synthetic placemat sets typically range from $10 to $45. Mid-range placemat sets are usually made of cotton, linen, or cotton blend materials and typically cost between $14 and $100. At the expensive end, placemat sets are typically made of lace, silk, leather, or other luxury materials. They usually range from $20 to $186.

EXPERT TIP

For casual dining, a placemat set can eliminate the need for a tablecloth.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Leather placemats can be used on a desk to provide cushioning for your hands and wrists while you work.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Placemats should be washed after every use. That’s why it’s a good idea to purchase vinyl or plastic placemats for everyday, so you can easily wipe them down to clean them.

  • When choosing the color or pattern for your placemat set, consider the design of your tablecloth. The placemats should complement the table cloth, so avoid options that will clash with it.

  • When you’re using placemats for a formal occasion such as a dinner party or holiday dinner, make sure that there are least four inches between the edges of the placemats to provide sufficient elbow room for your guests.

  • While placemats are intended to be set under dinnerware to protect your table, you can use them in other ways around the house. Place one under a vase of flowers on your coffee table to protect it from moisture damage, or use a particularly decorative set of placemats to highlight items in your china or curio cabinet. Lace and silk placemats are particularly good for accent purposes.

Other products we considered

There are so many placemat set options on the market that you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the ideal choice for your table. The Familighter 6-Piece Placemat Set is suitable for regular use, because the placemats are made of woven vinyl that can easily be wiped clean. They still have an elegant look, though, and provide effective heat protection up to 80 degrees. We also love the Cotton Craft 4-Piece Hand Knotted Fringe Placemat Set, which you should check out if you prefer a fabric option. The placemats are hand-woven and made from heavyweight pure cotton that can machine washed. The red multi-colored stripe design adds a bold pop of color to your dining table too.

Holiday placemat sets with seasonally appropriate designs are available, such as red and green options for Christmas.

FAQ

Q. How many placemat sets do I need?

A. For everyday use, it’s good to have at least two sets for your entire household, particularly if they’re made of fabric and need to be machine washed. That means you’ll always have a set ready when you’re sitting down to a meal. If you opt for vinyl or plastic mats, though, one set is usually enough.

You may want more than one option when it comes to formal placemat sets as well. That would allow you to have different color and pattern options depending on the season, such as a wine color for fall and winter or sage green for the spring and summer.

Q. How do I make sure my placemats don’t slide around on the table?

A. Placemat sets that are made of heavier materials usually stay in place well. Heavyweight cotton, linen, and canvas usually don’t slide around too much. However, if you opt for a lightweight material or a placemat set made of vinyl or plastic, choose placemats that have a rubberized backing that can help keep them in place on slick table surfaces.

Q. Can I iron a placemat set if they’re wrinkled?

A. Sometimes, when fabric placemats come out of the dryer or are finished air drying, they can be wrinkled or creased. Many placemat sets can be ironed at low heat to remove any wrinkles from them. However, it’s important to take the fabric into consideration, and check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure your placemats can handle an iron.

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