The 12 best placemats - instantly elevate every meal you're ever going to have

The 12 best placemats are a shorthand for cleverly curated style, adding an elevation to the everyday that just makes life feel better

best placemats in white, teal and red
(Image credit: Anthropologie, Wayfair, H&M)

Placemats not only protect wood, marble and other table surfaces from hot plates, they provide a styling opportunity too. 

Whether you like a simple or a sophisticated tablescape, placemats allow you to layer colors and textures–and to ultimately flatter the food you're serving.   

If you've invested in one of the best dinnerware sets, you'll want to frame your plates and bowls with the best placemats. So check out our round-up from the best home decor stores and find your favorites. 

Best scalloped placemats

Best round placemats

Best rustic placemats

Best smart placemats

What are the best quality placemats?

Placemats you can wash, brush or wipe clean will last and look better for longer. So consider the materials when you are choosing placemats for your table. Natural fibres tend to age better than synthetics, so look for linen or cotton placemats that can be popped in the wash.

'Natural fibres such as 100% French flax linen are more absorbent, heat resistant and easier to wash than synthetic materials, soaking up any spills and protecting your table,' says Bed Threads founder, Genevieve Rosen-Biller.

'Moreover, linen's natural antibacterial properties actively repel dirt and bacteria, maintaining a pristine dining environment. Linen surpasses other fabrics with its exceptional durability and impressive tensile strength, making it approximately 30% thicker and stronger than cotton or wool. 

'Unlike machine-woven cotton, which succumbs to wear and tear, linen only gets better with use and requires minimal care – no ironing or dry cleaning necessary.'

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.