Placemats add a dash of color to an everyday dinner and elevate your formal table-scape to new heights of elegance. If you’re making or buying a set of mats, you probably have many questions about how to find the perfect shape and style for you. For example, what is the standard placemat size?
The most commonly sold placemat sizes are 12 by 18-inch rectangle and a 15-inch circle. Placemats come in many shapes and styles to provide decoration to a table setting and protection for the table. Most designs allow enough space for an entire place setting to fit on top of the mat.
If you’re interested in upping your table-setting game, keep reading! You’ll find out how to pick a style that suits you and how to sew a simple rectangular placemat.
- What is the Standard Placemat Size?
- Common Placemat Styles and Sizes
- Placemat Size Chart
- What Size Placemats for Rectangular Table?
- What Size Placemats for Round Table?
- What Size Placemats for Oval Table?
- Quilted Placemat Sizes
- How to Make a Simple Placemat
- How to Choose a Placemat Style
- Where to Buy Placemats
What is the Standard Placemat Size?
The standard size of placemat is 12 inches wide by 18 inches long or 30 by 45 centimeters. This large rectangle comfortably fits a typical place setting. Some people prefer 12 inches by 16-inch mats for smaller tables.
The average size of a placemat today is pretty large, usually at least 12 by 14 inches, to accommodate the shape of modern dishes.
That said, they come in many different sizes and shapes. Let’s take a look at some alternative styles.
Common Placemat Styles and Sizes
Rectangles and circles are the most common shapes of placemats sold today, but you can find any geometric design if you like a different shape! You probably want to start by selecting a shape for your placemats before you make any other decision.
RectangleRectangles work well because they cover all of the surface area beneath your place setting.
This protects the table from any spilled food or scuffs. It also provides a nice backdrop for your dishes.
The most common size for rectangular placemats is 12 inches wide x 18 inches long.
SquareWhile less common than rectangles, squares can suit smaller eating surfaces.
They often have a modern aesthetic, with a sort of minimalistic, sharp-edged appeal.
You will usually find these placemats sold as 13” squares.
RoundOne of the most popular shapes, round mats usually come as either 12” or 15” in diameter. A larger circle allows you to arrange a whole place setting on the mat–cup, flatware, plate, and all! A small circle has a charm all its own, though, as you can see when you read about small placemats below!
Typically, you will see circle mats sold in 15” circles.
OvalOval mats fit well on round dining table.
They also offer a softer, smoother style the works well for a cozy tablescape.
Ovals usually come quite large, about 13” x 19” with rounded edges.
Cut CornersEssentially a square or rectangle with the corners cut off, this design looks quite elegant and still gives you excellent coverage beneath your dishes!
Shaped like a flattened cupcake wrapper, these modern mats have an arched top and tapered sides. If you like a sleek, contemporary look, check these out!
Quilted mats have a long history in the dining room. They provide extra insulation to protect your table from hot food because they usually have a layer of batting inside. They also look pretty, often incorporating stitched patterns on top of the fabric.
Some people set stylish tables using small mats. You can find small mats in any shape, but circles are the most popular. Rather than holding an entire set, these smaller mats often highlight just the plate.
This may not work for every kind of meal, but it is effective. Think of this style working like the velvet in a jewelry box. The small mat provides a bold background for the dinner plate, just like the velvet in a jewelry box highlights the piece of jewelry. This creates a stunning visual appeal that focuses the eye on the food you serve.
Oversize mats can provide a unique stylistic flair by blocking off an entire section of the table for each diner. However, they do limit the number of people you can sit at your table.
Placemat Size Chart
These standard sizes and shapes will give you an idea of the most popular shapes and measurements available today.
|Shape||Size in inches||Size in Centimeters|
|Rectangle||12 X 18||30 X 45|
|Oval||13 X 19, rounded||33 X 48|
|Square||13 X 13||33 X 33|
What Size Placemats for Rectangular Table?
Rectangular tables fit any style of the mat with ease. Rectangular or square mats will mirror the sides of the table in pleasing symmetry, but the contrast of a round mat will also look nice!
The size of your table will determine how big your mats should be. If you have a large rectangular table, standard 12” by 18” mats will work well.
What Size Placemats for Round Table?
Oval mats look very nice on round dining tables. The rounded sides match the table, but the oval provides more space for dishes than a circle.
Circular mats usually come as either small 12” circles or larger 15” circles. Again, the size of the mat needs to fit nicely on the surface area of the table.
What Size Placemats for Oval Table?
Round tables usually look best with rounded placemats. Circles and ovals will both look nice.
Remember that smaller circles typically only hold a plate, not the whole set. You may want to choose larger oval mats if they fit on the table.
Quilted Placemat Sizes
The average quilted mat comes in a 12” x 18” or 13” 19” rectangle. You can find quilted mats in other shapes as well. However, they are usually meant to fit a whole set, so they tend to be large.
How to Make a Simple Placemat
Sewing your own mats gives you a chance to select exactly the colors, textures, and shapes you like best! Plus, even beginner sewers will find this project easy since it involves simple skills. If you plan to make rectangular mats, you will mostly sew in straight lines!
How Many Yards of Fabric Do I Need to Make 4 Placemats?
The amount of fabric you need to make four mats depends on the size of mat you intend to make. If you plan to make four standard 12” by 18” rectangles, you will need approximately two and a quarter yards of fabric (or four and a half for double-sided mats).
You can calculate the amount of fabric you will need pretty easily. First, add an extra inch to the length or diameter of your desired size. You need a 1/2″ of fabric for the seam allowance.
Second, multiply the longest side of the shape by the number of mats you want. Pro tip here: no matter what shape you want, measure it as a rectangle.
For example, if you plan to sew a 15″ circle, measure it here as a 16″ square! (Remember that you have to add an inch for seam allowance). This makes calculating much easier and ensures you purchase enough fabric.
If you want to make four 15″ mats, 4 X 16 = 64.
Next, multiply that length by two because you need a top and bottom layer of your mat. Going back to the 15″ example, 64 X 2 = 128.
Finally, figure out how many yards of fabric you need! You typically purchase fabric in yards, not inches. One yard equals three square feet or 36 inches.
So, for the 15″ example, you need to divide 128 by 36, which gives you a total of 3.5 yards of fabric!
One quick note here: sometimes fabric comes in differing widths, not just 36”. If you purchase a yard of fabric that is 45” wide, you won’t have to buy as many yards.
Let’s go through a quick step-by-step guide for sewing a simple rectangular mat. For this project, you need fabric, matching thread, scissors, a ruler, chalk, and a sewing machine.
You can find patterns for far more intricate mats that use batting to make a quilted mat, or fancy edges using scallops or even satiny quilting binding. You can also make neat, fairly simple one-sided mats using rolled hems or mitered corners.
Depending on your level of skill, any of those techniques might provide the style you like best. However, this pattern gives you the absolute simplest kind of mat you can make, using very basic sewing skills.
Step 1: Pre-Work
Wash and iron your fabric before you start sewing. This prevents the fabric from shrinking later. You also don’t want to sew over wrinkles and make them permanent!
Step 2: Cut Out
Sewing scissors work best, but any sharp scissors will do just fine. Measure and cut out eight 13” X 19” rectangles. You can pin a paper pattern to your fabric or use a ruler and a piece of chalk to draw the rectangle to make sure you cut straight lines.
Step 3: Pin
Pair up your fabric rectangles so that you have four fabric sandwiches, with the outside or right, side of the fabric on the inside of each sandwich. Make sure all of the edges match up exactly. Then pin the fabric together using sewing pins.
Step 4: Sew
Now sew a 1/2″ seam around the rectangle. Stop sewing when you have about five inches left on the final side of the rectangle. You will need this gap in a minute.
Step 5: Right Side Out
Clip each of the four corners close to your stitches. Then, using the 5″ gap you left, reach inside and turn the mat right side out. Use your fingers or a blunt knitting needle to push the corners out neatly.
At this point, be sure to iron the mat to get nice, crisp edges on every side.
Step 6: Topstitch
Last step! Remember that 5″ gap? You don’t want to leave a messy hole in your mat!
Use your fingers to push the open edges inside so that the hole looks like it is sewed shut, and then pin it in place.
Now set up your sewing machine with the needle very close to the edge of the mat, and sew around the outer edge. This gives you a nice border and also seals up that hole!
How to Choose a Placemat Style
Whether you prefer to make or buy your mats, you need to consider your decorating aesthetic, the measurements of your table, and the level of formality you prefer.
First, let’s take a quick time-out to deal with some terminology.
You probably know that a placemat is a mat that lies beneath a place setting on an eating surface such as a table. These can rest either on the surface of the table or on top of a tablecloth, which is a much larger cloth designed to cover the whole eating surface. Finally, some people also use chargers (large, decorative plates that rest beneath the real plate) as part of a formal set.
All three of these items can be used alone or in combination, something to keep in mind as you select your style.
What kind of decorating style do you embrace in the rest of your home? If you love the weathered, homey appeal of farmhouse style, you probably want mats that add a bit of texture to the table, perhaps in a checked or plaid design. If you like bohemian elegance, you may prefer something satiny or metallic to set off your bright and colorful dishes.
The key is to consider the look you want to create with your whole table and use the mats to harmonize with that look.
Of course, no matter what color and texture you like, you need to make sure the mats will fit on your table! Most etiquette guides suggest that placemats should never lie closer than four inches to each other. If you have a smallish table or plan to host lots of people at once, you may want to consider smaller mats.
If you have a round or oval table, you will probably find that round or oval placemats fit better than squares or rectangles.
You should also make sure that your dishes fit on the mats you select. You can do this easily by either sketching out the dimensions of the mat on a piece of wrapping paper or printing a template like this. Then arrange your dishes on the piece of paper to make sure you like how they fit on the shape and size of the mat you picked!
Finally, take a moment to think about the kind of meals you plan to serve on top of these mats. Do you want a plain, easy-to-clean buffer to use every day as a table protector? Or do you plan to pack these mats away and pull them out only on special occasions, such as for a formal Thanksgiving tablescape?
Emily Post dictates that the highest level of formality requires white linen for tablecloths, placemats, and napkins. While it is true that simple colors and textures will not overcrowd a formal table already loaded with all those forks and wine glasses, use your best judgment here! Just keep the intended use of the mats in mind as you select the style you like best.
Where to Buy Placemats
One of the cool things about buying placemats is that you can find them pretty much everywhere, from your local dollar store to economy options like Target and Bed Bath & Beyond to high-end brands like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Any store or brand that sells home goods almost certainly offers a variety of mats to choose from. This fact gives you some idea of how popular they remain today!
Now that you have a better idea of what shape, color, and texture you like, you can shop to your heart’s content to find a set of place mats that works for you. Here are a couple of options to give you a small idea of the variety of styles available.
DII Buffalo Check Collection Placemat SetThis set of six grey and white checkered placemmats strikes the perfect muted, comfortable note to match your farmhouse style. You can also choose to purchase the set in ten different checked color patterns, from a bold red-and-black buffalo plaid to a cottage-charm pink and white.
While the mat size is limited to a pretty standard thirteen by nineteen-inch rectangle, you can also purchase matching table runners, napkins, and table cloths.
You can throw these 100% cotton mats in your washer machine for easy care. The mats come pre-treated with a wrinkle-resistant coating, but you can safely give them light ironing as well.
SHACOS Round Braided PlacematsThis set of braided place mats comes in seventeen different color options, from beige to a deep navy or bold mustard! You can also select a set size of four, six, or eight to suit your needs. The round shape will provide the perfect backdrop to draw the eye to the dinner plate or the bowl.
The real charm of these fifteen-inch round mats lies in their texture. Their braided design will provide a rough, slightly shiny backdrop to your place settings.
These placemats are made of cotton and polypropylene, so they will wipe clean easily and work well indoors and outdoors.
Placemats give you a fun way to add color and texture to your dining table. Choosing the right shape, style, and size will help you create a look that is uniquely you and allow you to highlight the fun meals you serve!
Hopefully, you feel more confident about selecting the right style and buying or making your mats after reading this article.
What kind of placemat is your favorite? Leave a comment below to let us know!