Is It Okay to Put Placemats on A Tablecloth?

Table placemats are an understated yet stylish decor piece perfect for large and small gatherings. Looking to elevate your dining experience? Placemats are an ideal way to add detail and style to your tablescape.

Matching them with the right table linens and decor is essential. Many design enthusiasts often ask: can you use placemats with a tablecloth? In this blog, we discuss using tablecloths with placemats and some top styling tips to help you.

outdoor rustic decor

Understanding the Purpose of Placemats

Placemats are primarily used to protect table surfaces from stains, scratches, and spills. They are purposely put under dinnerware to cover the area where spills often occur from dining. These simple yet practical decor pieces also make it easier to clean up leftovers and spills. Simply clean them up from your tables and wipe away any stains.

Placemats are not only functional, but they’re also a perfect way to add a touch of color and detail to your tablescape. They’re powerful design pieces once you know how to use them on your dining table set-up.

Traditional Table Setting Etiquette

thanksgiving dinner table

When styling your dining tables, the traditional table setting etiquette typically places placemats directly on the dining table surface. This is to create a clean and formal dining table setting. Usually, this meant that tablecloths were no longer used along with placemats. 

So should you use placemats with a tablecloth? The answer depends on what approach you want with your event. Are you going for a traditional table setting or are you more open to modern approaches? It’s up to you to decide how you want your event to look like.

Modern Trends and Flexibility

More modern practices have given way to the use of both placemats and tablecloths. Event decorators have gone out to experiment with combinations of tablecloth designs topped with matching or complementary placemats.

If you’re going for a more modern approach to decorating, it’s perfectly fine to use placemats with tablecloths. Just make sure that your fabric, color, and design options blend well together to create a cohesive look.

How to Use Placemats on Tablecloths

Make sure to create a clean and polished look even as you layer your placemats with tablecloths. Here are some of our guidelines to help you create a stunning look for your tablescape.

1. Placement

An important consideration for a table setting is learning the right placement. For formal table settings, placemats are usually positioned with a one-inch space from the table edge. This gives tables a more balanced and polished appearance.

Correct positioning also allows you to hold space and balance for your tablecloth backdrop. Consistent spacing and alignment are important details to make sure you get a clean look even when layering tablecloths and placemats.

2. Match your Materials

When using placemats with tablecloths, make sure your fabric and material match or complement each other. This is an important detail to remember to make sure your design pieces work well to create a cohesive look.

When using polyester tablecloths, it's best to use placemats that are made out of solid materials like vinyl or silicone. If you’re going for a more natural and bohemian look, you can also opt for materials like cotton, leather, bamboo, burlap, or raffia placemats. Make sure the texture and colors of your tablecloths and placemats complement each other.

Braided Raffia Straw 15" Placemats (4pc/set)
2 pc/set Boho Raffia Leaf Placemat
4 pc/set Fringed Edge Woven 15" Placemats

3. Table Setting Maintenance

You can choose to leave your placemats on your dining table throughout your event depending on the level of formality of your party. For formal events, you may choose to remove the placemats after use to give guests a clean and uncluttered tablescape.

For more formal occasions, you can opt to leave your placemats on the table to keep your original set-up. This depends on your preference and the formality of your party. 

4. Color Combination

When using both tablecloths and placemats, consider the colors match or complement each other well.

You can opt to combine contrasting colors for a striking look. Opt for neutral colors like white tablecloths or ivory tablecloths. Then pair these with a dark color like navy blue or deep colors like emerald green placemats for a bold look. If you’re going for a bohemian chic look, opt for off-white tablecloths with dark brown placemats.

Polyester 120" Round Tablecloth - White
Economy Polyester Tablecloth 120" Round - Ivory

For a more casual chic look, you can’t go wrong with pastels and muted hues. Pair some dusty rose tablecloths with white placemats. You can also opt for dusty blue tablecloths for a more subdued look.

Polyester 108" Round Tablecloth - Dusty Rose/Mauve
Polyester 108" Round Tablecloth - Dusty Blue

Decorating a formal party? Go bold with some gold glitter sequin tablecloths. Pair these with some neutral colors like white, ivory, or cream placemats.

5. Layering and Depth

Add some layers to your tablescape by exploring design pieces to complement your placemats. Add some gold charger plates to elevate your decor. Charger plates are a great way to add color and detail to your tablescape.

Top this off with some matching table napkins. You may choose to get the same color and design as your tablecloth or placemat to tie together your whole look.

Reef Acrylic Plastic Charger Plate - Silver
Polyester Napkin 20"x20" - White

Dine in Style with Modern Placemats and Tablecloths

Decorating your tablescape with placemats layered on top of tablecloths is a great way to add detail and depth to a tablescape. Although it’s not a traditional practice, it’s a great way to break off from the usual table-setting practices.

We’ve run through some of our quick guidelines when layering placemats and tablecloths to give you a polished look. We’ve also gone through some top design tips to elevate your look even further.

Get your tablecloths and placemats in bulk and decorate away. Get creative with multiple design combinations and impress your guests with a tablescape to remember for years to come.

Our Products

Polyester 120" Round Tablecloth - Burgundy
Braided Raffia Straw 15" Placemats (4pc/set)
Reef Acrylic Plastic Charger Plate - Gold

120" Round Tablecloths

Table Placemats

Charger Plates


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