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The humble placemat may seem like a placeholder for more important decorative items, like, for example, your new East Fork dishes. But as is often the case with decorating—and with life—it’s the detailed foundation that lays the groundwork for a beautiful finished product. Not only do the best placemats serve a functional purpose (because yes, you should be protecting your tabletops from your dinnerware and drinkware), they can also help instantly elevate an otherwise everyday meal. “Besides behind gorgeous, fun, and cohesive to your table setting, placemats also help to create a hygienic and cleanable eating surface,” San Francisco-based interior designer Jonathan Rachman tells PureWow. The right placemat can set the mood of the event you’re hosting, even if it’s Tuesday night dinner with the family, which is why Rachman recommends thinking carefully about how you set your table. Here, we’ve rounded up some of our (and Rachman’s) favorite placemats for any occasion.

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Verishop

1. Casafina Cork Place Mats

Best cork placemat

These Portuguese-made cork placemats come in a set of four, and with their sturdy construction, do an excellent job of protecting your table from scratches, spills, and other food-related messes. Plus, cork is one of the “trendy materials that can be cleaned,” Rachman helpfully notes.

BUY IT ($43 for 4)

Nordstrom

2. Chilewich Kaleidoscope Round Placemat

Best black and white placemat

“I don’t follow trends; I always prefer the timeless classic which is always in the now,” Rachman says when it comes to choosing placemats. And for some folks, there’s nothing more timeless or classic than a good black and white design. This Kaleidoscope placemat from Chilewich features a beautiful geometric pattern with textural black and white medallions that will dress up any tablescape—even if your dish set is in classic white.

BUY IT ($11)

Nordstrom

3. Marimekko Pieni Unikko Cotton Placemat

Best floral design

“Placemats must always be fun and chic,” Rachman states, and that’s precisely how we would describe Marimekko’s fresh Pieni Unikko print cotton placemat. Coated in acrylic to make them stain-resistant, these placemats are easy to wipe clean and offer a bold, fun pop of color to any setting. Trust us, even your kids will love these.

BUY IT ($26)

Saks Fifth Avenue

4. Michael Aram Brass Beaded Edge Placemats

Best beaded option

Our expert prefers linen over plastic, since they’re old-school—and can be tossed in the washing machine the second your meal is over. Yes, even this beaded linen option from the Michael Aram Table Linens Collection, which adds an elevated touch to the traditional fabric. Since these aren’t dainty or meant to be reserved for special occasions, you’ll be surprised how much use you get out of them.

BUY IT ($60 for 2)

Saks Fifth Avenue

5. Kim Seybert Pebble Placemat

Best Pebbled material

But for those slightly more formal times, opt for the Pebble Placemat from Kim Seybert. The stingray leather surface is beautifully textured but it’s surprisingly hardy. In fact, this pebbled material is 25 times more durable than your average cowhide leather.

BUY IT ($35)

Anthropologie

6. Terrain Water-Resistant Linen Placemat

Best water-resistant linen

While you may think that the only chance you have of keeping linen (Rachman’s preferred material for placemats) clean is by throwing them in the laundry, these water-resistant linen placemats are here to prove you wrong. The French woven fabric is coated with acrylic, which means they’ll stand up to any spills, red wine or otherwise and can be simply wiped clean.

BUY IT ($32)

Anthropologie

7. Blue Pheasant Zoey Placemat

Best raffia placemats

“There are two way to approach color and pattern with placemats, just like everything else on your table,” Rachman says. “Do you want them to be the center of attention, or to blend in?” This set of four placemats somehow fills both of those roles, thanks to its muted color palette, but intriguing natural raffia texture.

BUY IT ($128 for 4)

Wayfair

8. Birch Lane Dowden Recycled Teak Placemat

Best sustainable placemat

Wayfair customers love these recycled teak placemats that are made from repurposed wood that would otherwise be burned. Teak is naturally durable and only becomes more beautiful with time, making it an ideal material for a showstopping placemat, especially for your outdoor table.

BUY IT ($42 for 2)

Wayfair

9. Orren Ellis Zapata Double Frame Kitchen Placemat Set

Best budget option

Customers love the price-sensitive nature of this set of six vinyl placemats, which are remarkably easy to care for. This machine-washable set can even withstand extra messy eaters (like your six-year-old) and can often make it through a few meals before they really need to be washed.

BUY IT ($23 for 6)

Joss and Main

10. Noa Tonal Tweed Placemat Set

Best tweed placemat

With a rating of over 4.5 out of 5 stars, this set of water-resistant polyester placemats is a perennial favorite. Great for everyday use (or low-key entertaining), these easy-to-care-for placemats get points for their tweedy texture and not-too-big size. Plus, they come in three colors: Lime, soft grey and a funky blue/green combo.

BUY IT ($22 for 6)

West Elm

11. West Elm Bark Textured Jacquard Placemats

Best textured placemat

The rippled pattern on these jacquard placemats make them look oh-so-fancy. The metallic threads give this set of two placemats a slight sheen, and as Rachman notes, this is a great example of placemat that can help set the mood for your next event. Go ahead, plan your table around these.

BUY IT ($25; $20 for 2)

West Elm

12. West Elm Cotton Canvas Placemats

Best cotton placemat

Available in a wide range of colors that will work with any dining room décor scheme, these cotton canvas placemats are the type of classics that Rachman references as an easy, go-to favorite. Throw them in the washing machine when they’ve gotten a bit too much love.

BUY IT ($20 for 2)

CB2

13. CB2 Faux Ivory Leather Placemat

Best faux leather

This pebbled placemat from CB2 has a metallic finish that makes them look even more elegant than they already are, and they're a customer favorite. “They look and feel just like leather, they're thin so plates and chargers lay flat, and the ivory color looks SO good on my cherry wood table,” reads one review. Others laud these placemats for their versatility: “I have this on the marble bathroom counter to put my things on for padding,” another happy customer reports.

Buy It ($10)

Graf Lantz

14. Graf Lantz Oval Placemat in Felt

Best felt placemat

Graf Lantz makes beautiful felt products for the entire home, and while you may not think of felt as a natural choice for a dinner accessory, you may want to reconsider. Naturally water-resistant, stain-resistant, heat protective, and insulating, these merino wool placemats come in stunning jewel tones and instantly lend a sense of sophistication to your meal. As one happy customer notes, “These placemats are perfect—love the oval shape and quality.”

BUY IT ($39)

CB2

15. CB2 Boa Ivory Reversible Placemat

Best reversible

For a natural shade on one side and sleek ivory on the other, this placemat marries the best of both worlds. “I go back to the occasion and your table decor and theme, if any, as my guide for picking placemats,” Rachman says. But with this single placemat, you'll be armed and ready for several different occasions all at once.

BUY IT ($4)

Sia Parker

16. Sia Parker Luxe Designer Placemats

Best vegan leather placemat

Made from vegan leather that’s easy to clean, these beautiful placemats come in unique shapes and stunning colors. The leather material looks effortlessly elegant, and we’re particularly fond of the emerald color for any season.

BUY IT ($40; $12)

Mochi Things

17. Mochi Things On the Table Brunch Placemat

Most Unexpected Shape

Another faux leather option, these come in a wide range of soft contemporary colors that immediately dress up your table. The clean, sharp modern lines give them the timelessly elegant look that Rachman recommends for your decorating needs. Plus, they’ll look great peeking out under your morning coffee…should you want to snap a pic for your ‘Gram.

BUY IT ($22)

Crate & Barrel

18. Chilewich Cove Coral Orange Easy-Care Placemat

Best indoor/outdoor placemat

These placemats give off serious beachtime vibes and are part of Crate & Barrel’s new spring collection. Because of its antimicrobial construction, this placemat avoids both mold and stains, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor settings.

BUY IT ($8)

Crate & Barrel

19. Crate & Barrel Corlie Palm Round Placemat

Best woven seagrass

Crate & Barrel’s springtime collection also comes with a wide range of seagrass placemats, which weaves natural fibers with beautiful hues to create a cheerful palette. This round style has us counting down the days until winter is finally over and we can break out our sunniest décor.

BUY IT ($7)

Hudson Grace

20. Hudson Grace Square Placemat

Best square shape

“For my day-to-day, my go-to is Hudson and Grace square placemats because you can use them indoors and outdoors,” Rachman says of these beauties. “They’re practical but still bold and fun.”

BUY IT ($22)

D’Ascoli

21. d’Ascoli Bedford Placemat

Best designer placemat

“For sublime patterns and colors, I love anything from d’Ascoli,” Rachman tells us. “Besides the fact that they are simply gorgeous, the founder Peter d’Ascoli is the purveyor to those who have discerning taste and are in the know.” Hmm, we’d like to join that gang…

BUY IT ($160)

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