Table Setting Guide

Placemats create a broken line, and can give a table setting a spotty look. They may, however, be used for simpler meals.

  • Placemats are recommended for a seated meal of not more than ten people.
  • To provide elbow room, allow a minimum of 4 inches between placemats.

placemat alignment

The alignment of placemats with the edge of the table varies according to the way the table is finished.

  • Placemats are laid on a bevel-edged table flush with the bevel.
  • On a straight-edged table, placemats are laid about an inch up from the edge.

placemat sizes

Placemats are made in assorted sizes and shapes.

  • Large rectangular placemats approximately 12 inches wide by 18 inches long or 14 inches wide by 20 inches long hold an entire place setting and are the most popular size.
  • Small placemats approximately 12 inches in diameter in square, oval, or round shapes hold only a dinner plate; the napkin, flatware, and stemware are laid on the table.
    • Small placemats extend space at a crowded table, work as hot pads, and emphasize the beauty of the table top.


Therefore fabric placemats are not insulated with underpads, unless they are made of sheer fabrics, such as organdy or handkerchief linen.