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In every home, each room provides a quite unique experience, not only for those who are living in the house but also, for those who visit the house. We all know that areas like the living room create opportunities for engagement and entertainment. As for the bedroom, it offers the privacy that the space entails. Even though those to spaces are important and has great value but the kitchen is one of those space where the meals are prepared with care and love for the family. From there you go to the dining room where the meals and family spend time together. The most important furniture piece is a table and on top of the table placemats

It can be confusing at first what is placemats. It is a covering or pad designating an individual place setting, unline the tablecloth that covers the entire surface. Placemats are made for different purposes: to protect, decorate, entertain, or advertise. 

The primary function of placemats is to protect the dinner table from food stains, watermarks, or heat damage. Placemats are also used as a decoration, especially if placemats have some print or decorations around the perimeter. 

While looking for the placemats there are quite a few to choose from. Different shapes of placemats, different materials, everything to fit your personal taste. On the market, you can find more than enough shape types or placemats, but these shapes are the most popular ones: round, square, floral. All those shapes are really good but most people prefer squares, as it is easier to set up the table using this shape placemat.


Of course, the material of the placemats is important too, because it can help create a mood on the table. So here are a few:

  • Natural fabric: it is very easy to maintain, has a soft texture. The best choice for natural material is cotton or linen fabric. They resist heat really well. But if you have just between the two, we recommend linen, as it is easier to maintain, just make sure to spot-clean your linen placemats to prevent prone stains. 
  • Plastics: this is the cheapest option out on the market. It does not have any special feel to it, but people tend to choose it because it does not require extra steps while cleaning. You wash in the sink or wipe it down with a damp cloth. 

In general, placemats from natural materials, like linen are more beautiful and elegant. It can give both a casual look and a formal look. So, people often tend to choose linen placemats over synthetic ones. This article will tell you the benefits of linen placemats and how to style them with other table linens.

Why linen is the best material for table linen?

There is quite of confusion about what is table linen. Most people don’t know what consists of this category. Actually, table linen is a piece of cloth that you put on your table. Those pieces can be table cloths, table napkins, placemats, table skirting. 

Table cloths. This is used to cover the table. Usually, they can be ornamental coverings that provide some sort of protection from scratches and stains. But there is another purpose for tablecloths that they are designed to be spread on a dining table before laying out tableware and food. The most popular material for tablecloths is cotton or linen. 

Table napkins. This is a small piece of table linen and the purpose of them everyone knows, is to wipe the mouth and cover the lap in order to protect clothing. They usually come in different colors and sizes but in different material choices. You can easily find linen, cotton, or silk napkins. 

Table skirting or table runner. Usually, you see this kind of table linen in high-end restaurants. But you can use it at home, it is a way to jazz up the table and add style to a room. It protects the table from spills that can cause staining or damage. 

Placemats. We described them earlier but it is a covering or pad that is designed to be put under individual place settings, unline tablecloths. 


So, these are the pieces that consist of the table linen category. We are sure, you can find more pieces to add, but these are the most popular ones. On the other hand, before you choose anything for table decoration, you need to take a look at the material the table linen comes in. 

For starters, table linen can be made from, cotton or linen. In recent years linen as a material for table linen became more popular than cotton. Why is that? Here are some of the reasons: 

  • Easy to maintain. Linen is one of those materials that does not require excessive care. It is a natural material, so, you need to take care but you can do it without any professional help. Linen is not afraid of stains or any spills because it is very easy to spot clean them. If you want a natural way to spot clean your linen use warm water, dishwashing soap, and vinegar mixture, it will clean the stain and then wash it according to the instructions. 
  • Eco-Friendly - linen materials are all-natural and made out of flaxseed. That is why linen materials are the most environmentally friendly. Significantly of this thing, the table linen will last longer than other material table linens. Linen material is biodegradable. 
  • Durability - table linens made out of linen material are one of the most durable things you can find on the market, and with proper care, they can last for years.
  • Hypoallergenic - linen is recommended by healthcare professionals because of being naturally hypoallergenic. For example, if you have susceptible skin, linen napkins are the best for you because you can use them comfortably without any issues. 

How to use linen placemats and linen tablecloths?

Linen placemats or linen tablecloths when to use alone and when to use together. This is never-ending discussion and confusion when to use one of the other. These things can be bothersome, especially if you have some guests coming over for dinner. 

If you want everything to look flawless we have a few suggestions on how to choose and mix both of them together. There are a lot of experts that teach how to prepare a dining table. Well, we can say, that after intense research, there is no hard and fast rule that states that placemats cannot or should be used with a tablecloth. Of course, you can use it each fabric alone, for example:

If you use placemats alone, use them for casual dining. People prefer placemats for everyday use. The large variety of placemats and design, also, material, has given people more choice to select according to the mood and occasion. If you want to learn how to properly set a table for a casual meal using a placemat, watch our video:

If you use a tablecloth alone, use it for a formal dining setting. It is a known fact that some people prefer using a tablecloth for everyday dining too but it can be difficult to manage them and them every day if it gets stained, so better use it for a formal dining setting. Also, if you set the table correctly it will give the complete look and will make the setting look luxurious. 

So, how to use placemats and a tablecloth together. If you use them together then it will add layering to the table and create a visual appeal. So, to use them together you need to consider three things: color, design, and material. 

Color. Use natural tones, light colors, or white tablecloths. We suggest staying away from vibrant bold colors. As for the placemat choose a contrasting color that will give sophisticated look. 

Design. You can use a plain tablecloth or that has a very subtle design on it, it will soften the ambiance of the dining room. Also, the same rule applies while choosing the placemats to match. 

Material. Although there is quite a market for placemats and tablecloths don’t go with plastic one it can become distasteful. We recommend choosing crisp linen tablecloths and placemats. It is the perfect choice for formal dining settings and casual dining settings. 

4 ways to mix & match linen placemats and napkins

Table setting can be art, just like you design your home interior. So how to have a truly inspired table design? Try to mix and match colors or designs to create a unique look that will be truly unforgettable. Pair linen placemats with different linen napkins in color or style, it will lead to a gorgeous richness and elegance to any special occasion - even if it is for formal dining or casual dining. Here are a few examples of how to mix and match colors and styles of linen placemats and napkins:

  • If you go for a color palette that has muted shades, we suggest you choose linen placemats and napkins that have the same elements of the same muted colors. For example: if you have muted blue linen placemats, it is best if you match them with the same color napkin. It ties together the whole look of the table setting. 
  • If you go for pastel colors or awakening nature colors, it will create calmness and bring light to the table. Of course, try to match linen placemats with the same color palette of napkins. 
  • If you want contrast try to mix and match white and grey colored linen placemats and napkins. It is a great combination as it will give more depth to the table setting. So, for example, if you have a white linen placemat then match it with a grey napkin or the other way around. Also, with this, you can go and try one color scheme - white linen placemats and white napkins, or grey linen placemats and grey napkins.
  • While color is important, do not forget the style of placemats and napkins. There are quite a few to choose from, for examples linen placemats with fringes, or linen napkins with fringes. Fringes in general give a playful look. So, if you want a more playful look then try to mix the linen placemats with fringes with linen napkins that are without fringes. Or you can change up a bit and use linen placemats without the fringes with linen napkins with fringes

placemat and napkin

Those are just the suggestions on how to mix and match linen placemats and napkins. You can always try to mix and match other colors, like muted colors with pastels, the possibilities are endless here. Also, there is one more thing that you need to pay attention to is how to fold linen napkins. The possibilities are endless, so take a look at this blog on how to fold a napkin for the Thanksgiving dinner table. 

How to keep linen table mats stain-free?

Dinners are the most memorable and special thing to any person, it is a way to have everyone you love for an elegant dinner party. So, the table setting is one way to create this elegant look. Linen table mats are not just decorative, it will protect your table from spills and scratches, also, if you are using linen napkins they will prevent you from staining your clothes. 

With that being said it is natural that linen placemats and other table linen can get stained. But the big question is how to keep it stain-free. Actually, caring for linen table mats can intimidate anyone or stress out on how to get the stain out, but it is really easy.  A few ways on how to care for linen placemats:

  • Spot cleaning your linen placemats. Why do you need this? Well, if you do not want to have visible stains on your placemats you need to make sure you spot-clean and pre-treat any deep stains. To placemats in particular - cleaning wine stains or oil stains out before wash will ensure you will have clean linen table mats for the next time. You can prewash to help remove the stains or check our guide to remove any stain from linen.
  • Washing your linen placemats. The linen becomes softer and more absorbent after every wash, so you do not need to worry about linen being a harsh material to feel. We recommend washing your linen table mats in lukewarm, about 104 ℉ (40 ℃), and preferably soft water. Also, do not forget to use a gentle machine cycle and mild detergent, preferably liquid as it is easier to wash out from the fabric, to protect the fibers. 
  • Drying your linen table mats. You can use a dryer for linen fabric, just make sure you stick to low temperature and remove linen when it is 90-95% dry. If you have the opportunity to air dry linen placemats, it would be better if you do that. It will also, help with wrinkles if you air dry them. 

red wine stain removalSummary

When choosing linen placemats, you need to remember one thing - the material of table linen matters. You need to select a durable material that can stand a lot of things, like constant washing. 

Styling your dining table with only linen placemats is not always the only choice. There is no denying that linen placemats can be a way to umpf the dining experience and finish the look you are going for. If you want to see or get inspired to decorate your table with other linen pieces, you can find more options in Table category.





What is the best material for a placemat?

The best material for placemats is linen. In general, linen is really durable and eco-friendly material. That means, that linen placemats will last you for a really long time and survive through every wash, and will become softer overtime. 

When to use a placemat?

You can use placemats for a formal dining setting, you can match it with linen tablecloths. Or you can perfectly use it for a casual dining setting without a tablecloth. 

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