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What are Bamboo Placemats?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2016
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Bamboo placemats are placemats which are made from bamboo, a very durable and flexible plant material. Stores which stock home d├ęcor may carry bamboo placemats, especially if they specialize in Asian-themed items, and it is also possible to order them directly from manufacturers. A good set will last for years, making them a highly useful addition to the home.

The purpose of placemats is to protect the table from gouges, burns, scars, and other types of damage. Setting out a mat at each place at the table ensures that hot plates, wet glasses, and silverware are placed on the mat, keeping the surface of the table pristine. Placemats also add a decorative nature to the table, and some people like to keep an assortment of styles on hand for different occasions.

Typically, bamboo placemats are made by splitting bamboo into flat segments and then binding the segments together. It is also possible to see woven bamboo placemats, or mats made from very thin bamboo branches, rather than flat segments. Many also have backings made from cotton, linen, or silk to protect the table from bamboo scratches. Bamboo fabric can also be used to make placemats, in which case it may be quilted or layered.

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Depending on the construction techniques used, bamboo placemats may be rustic in style, or very sleek and modernist. Additional design accents can be added with things like patterned fabric trim, beading, and dyed or painted designs. Usually, the mats roll up for storage, although they can also be stored flat.

Bamboo is a great choice for placemats, because it is naturally antimicrobial, resisting the development of mold and mildew. Bamboo also has a low heat conductivity, so it will not transfer heat to the table, and when it is sealed, it can be very stain resistant. It can come in an array of colors, ranging from the natural cream of untreated bamboo to an array of stains, varnishes, and painted colors, which allow for a variety of color coordination schemes.

For people who like to coordinate at the table, it is also possible to find bamboo napkin rings, bamboo handles for silverware, and other bamboo table accessories. As a general rule, it is inadvisable to coordinate an entire table, because the effect can be overwhelming, but a few bamboo accents can tie in very nicely with bamboo placemats.

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