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Placemats are an essential part of a well-dressed table and can serve many purposes. They not only help complete a table’s look, but they offer additional protection to the table and the tablecloth. They come in a variety of materials, colors, and sizes and while they complete a fully dressed table, they can be used alone. Choosing a design is mostly a matter of personal preference, but keep the following in mind.
If you intend to have a complete table dressing, then match or coordinate your placemats with your tablecloth. Remember to buy as many mats as you have seats at your table, even if you don’t use all the seats everyday. This way, you won’t ever be caught with only four table settings and six dinner guests. You should also consider investing in matching or coordinating napkins. If you have a table that does not get used everyday, you might want to buy a complete table dressing and leave it set just for display.
Choose designs that fit your room’s design but are practical in nature. Placemats are more forgiving than the tablecloth and even nice vinyl covered mats can sit well upon a nice fabric tablecloth. However, plastic mats should be reserved for outdoor and very casual use only. Remember that vinyl covered mats can be wiped clean rather than machine washed, making clean up easier. However, if you have a formal dining room, consider purchasing fabric placemats in keeping with the room’s overall feel.
Plastic placemats are still ideal for outdoor use and for children. Children tend to eat rather messily, so the plastic mats can protect your table and make clean-up a breeze. You can even find designs that include educational information such as the alphabet, the continents, or the multiplication tables on them. Similarly, you can also find placemats with popular kid-friendly characters on them.