When it’s time to set the dinner table for guests, placemats and a tablecloth are used together to make a space look refined. However, you may wonder if it is a faux pas to use placemats on a table with a tablecloth. We researched what experts had to say about multiple layers on a dining table and style tips. Learn when it is acceptable to use placemats with a tablecloth and achieve a visually stunning table.
No hard and fast rule states that placemats cannot or should not be used with a tablecloth. Many people find that a tablecloth or table runner alone is sufficient for setting the table. Mostly, the style and designs of placemats and tablecloths are the only things that go in and out of style. It is acceptable to have placemats on top of a tablecloth, provided there is enough physical and visual space for guests.
Continue reading to learn how to create a delightful table using placemats and tablecloths and make dining more exciting.
Dress Table With Placemats And Tablecloth
If you are interested in having placemats on a tablecloth-covered table, it is important to have sufficient space between the mats visually and physically for guests. Consider how texture, color, and proportion will impact the combination of placemats and your choice of tablecloth.
Balance Color And Patterns
It is essential to strike a visual balance and harmony between placemats, a tablecloth and add tasteful accessories. Create visual interest and stick to the same color family, similar design elements, or design points for your table linen that unify and complement one another.
Protect The Table
Placemats are an appealing part of setting the table because they help guide guests where to sit, make cutlery and dishes stand out, and add depth to the dining table. Adding placemats to a table may serve as another layer of protection for a table that could become damaged from spills on the table.
A Touch Of Class
Heighten the experience for dinner guests with placemats with dazzling patterns, intriguing accents, and add panache to a meal. Ideally, placemats are perfect for formal affairs as well as an impromptu evening gathered with family or friends.
Choose placemats to bring out the best qualities of your table and tablecloth. There are lots of options including oval, square, rectangle, linen, polyester, woven, or rustic burlap. Build a collection of placemats in seasonal colors so you are ready for any event and can easily pair it with a neutral color tablecloth.
Each placemat should be oriented in front of each chair. Cloth placemats go with cloth tablecloths. Mix patterned tablecloths with solid placemats and vice versa. You can also be bold and choose to complement patterns or prints for both table linens.
Do You Need Placemats If You Have A Tablecloth?
Some experts think it isn’t necessary to use placemats if you have a tablecloth. However, consider that placemats help visually organize a dining table and are a cue to guests regarding seating. Placemats add an extra layer of protection to a table and complement the tablecloth. They also provide a designated space for cutlery and dishes to be displayed until ready to use. When you have a formal event that calls for a tablecloth, adding placemats makes a table look it’s very best and helps emphasize the occasion.
Overall, having placemats alongside a tablecloth is a matter of personal taste. There is nothing wrong with adding placemats with a tablecloth as it has more benefits than drawbacks. A tablecloth is the defining and dominant visual element on a formal table.
The next visual piece of interest would be placemats, followed by any accessories like flowers, candles, or art pieces set on the table. Make a strong impression by using placemats with appealing colors, textures, patterns, or embellishments that complement a tablecloth and the table’s setting.
Do You Leave Placemats On The Table All The Time?
There is no hard and fast rule that dictates that it is poor taste to leave placemats on the table indefinitely. Having placemats left on a table and leaving a table fully dressed is a visual reminder that a table is a place for gathering for meals and little else. Too often, many people inadvertently leave miscellaneous items on an undressed dining table, which can quickly become cluttered and lower a home’s visual appeal.
Be ready for surprise house guests and have fun showing off your dining table with colorful, fun, exciting placemats on top of your table. Select placemats that match and accent your home’s decor, celebrate the holiday season, or welcome the changing of the seasons. If you leave your table set all the time, you won’t have to rush to get it ready for guests when it’s time to eat.
Read more: Should Your Dining Table Always Be Set?
What Is The Best Material For Placemats?
The best material for placemats should not stain easily, be easy to clean, and enjoy a long life of use on the table. Look for placemats that are durable, have high style points, and fit your aesthetic sensibilities.
Many people opt for placemats that are linen, corkboard, or vinyl. Cotton or linen is one of the most desirable materials for placemats because of their ability to handle wear and tear, washability, and stain resistance. They look good for formal and casual dining.
Homes with children are best suited for vinyl or plastic placemats that can handle frequent spills, crumbs, resist stains, and still maintain appearances.
Corkboard placemats are suitable for anyone looking for protection from hot dishes, durability, and can tolerate spills. Cotton and linen are lovely for special occasions, but a polyester blend may fend off developing stains and wrinkles over time.
How Do You Style Placemats?
Usually, people choose rectangular placemats for a rectangular table, oval placemats for a circular or oblong table, and square placemats for a square table. You can go against the grain for a bold look, but be mindful of proportion and visual balance between your placemats and the shape of your table.
For the most part, styling placemats requires choosing complementing colors, textures, patterns, or embellishments between the placemats and tablecloth or table runner.
If you are showing off your table and foregoing a tablecloth but displaying placemats, the mats will be the visual star of the table. Select placemats in solid colors, bold patterns, and in a size that neither overwhelms or underwhelms the table and space for a plate, drinkware and cutlery.
What Can I Use Instead Of A Placemat?
If you desire to create a unique look for your table without using a placemat, there are many attractive alternatives. Instead of a placemat for a special occasion such as a baby shower, surprise party, or holiday, make a visual statement with the following alternatives. Remember, placemats are used to designate seating and heighten the attractiveness of a table.
- A layer of strategically placed confetti
- A rope
- Oversized doilies
- Recycled fabric
- Newspaper sheet
- Shopping bags
- An old chalkboard
Let your imagination be your guide and find creative ways to transform everyday items into a fascinating, eye-catching alternative placemat.
We hope after reading this article that you have a better understanding of pairing placemats with tablecloths. Whether you have a formal or informal dining affair, tablecloths and placemats can be used together to create a beautiful, memorable table setting.
Placemats offer a practical and visually appealing layer of protection for a table and serve as decor. Choose placemats that complement your tablecloth, create visual balance, and make a harmonious, desirable table.
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