How to choose the best placemats for each occasion
Fecha5 September, 2017
Tablecloths: basic ingredient for a meal with style
A business meeting, a meal with friends, a wedding, a family day in the fresh air… Just as we wear something according to the occasion, it is logical to dress the table in accordance with the event we are about to celebrate.
Tablecloths play the leading role for the decoration of the table. They are the base where we are going to place the other elements (cutlery, crockery, napkins…) and determine the aesthetics and tone of the meal.
In grandma’s house, the check tablecloth with that coffee stain from that faraway day can arouse our nostalgia, but most of the time we must take great care of the tablecloths we choose and ensure they are in good condition.
Our subconscious understands this. Psychoanalysts confirm that if in our dreams we see tables with beautiful tablecloths full of meat dishes, this is a symbol of prosperity: whereas the untidy, stained and creased tablecloths may be a prelude of problems or complications.
If it depends on us, we don’t take the risk, do we?
Placemats: the new tendency?
Although some people think that placemats are a product of modern life (quick meals, often alone, maybe in front of the television …), but the fact is that placemats date back to the Roman era. It seems that the Romans liked to show off the beauty of their tables so they didn’t cover them completely but used small tablecloths, designed for individual use and which were used as napkins.
Placemats, on the condition that they are of quality fabric, are currently used for both informal and more elegant meals. There is a great variety of patterns, allowing for a detailed and customised table decoration, and are the most functional.
5 advantages of placemats
Unlike traditional tablecloths, larger in size, placemats are the latest tendency for creative and practical hosts. Some of their virtues are:
- They are versatile and stand out on all types of tables. You don’t have to worry about the size of the tablecloth; you don’t have to have a set for the big dining room table and others for the coffee table facing the sofa…
- They offer more options in the table decoration. You can alternate colours of placemats, combining with the napkins, changing the way they are placed on the table… They allow you to create all types of atmospheres.
- Make it easier to lay and clear away the table.
- They adapt to the number of diners there are at each meal.
- 5. They are more practical to wash and iron, and occupy less space. In a moment, you can wash only those you need.
Choosing the best placemats: according to the occasion
Long gone are the times when there was just one large tablecloth at home, white or cream, that had to last forever and for dressing all the meals that organised. As we said, the market currently offers us a wide range of placemats, of different colours and patterns, with which we can match to create the atmosphere most befitting the type of meal we have prepared.
A formal meal
If we are thinking of organising a work supper, or a more sophisticated meal with friends and family, we should not rule out the possibility of using placemats with a more formal design: they could even be more elegant than the traditional ones and will lighten the table and, as a consequence, the gathering.
Tips for a formal table with placemats
- Depending on the degree of formality, you will have to prioritise plain colour placemats, or with a discrete edging, rather than the patterned ones.
- When choosing the shade of the placemats you should take into account the time of the year: in winter dark colours such as Bordeaux or chocolate are warm and welcoming, whereas in summer it is best to choose brighter and livelier colours, such as orange or pistachio.
- To further dress the table, we can make use of the double placemat: superimposing one cotton napkin over another. In this case we should take special care in the colour combination of the placemats and with the other elements of the table (cotton napkins, crockery, decorative elements such as centrepieces…).
An informal meal
It doesn’t matter if we are talking about an improvised meal with friends, or a celebration designed to enjoy the company in a relaxed and warm setting. There are increasingly more informal meals with ingredients for snacks, fun and carefully presented. In these situations, there is nothing better than dressing the table with colourful and bold patterned placemats.
A meal with children
Children are keen to have their own space and that is why they love eating at a table with placemats. Choose fun-coloured placemats and combine them with cotton napkins with drawings of animals, of cheerful and fun colours…
A Christmas meal: are placemats also suitable?
Perhaps it is a little difficult to convince the older members of the family to put away that large tablecloth, so special and delicate, that only comes out once a year, but the fact is that placemats can dress the Christmas table perfectly. In this case the dominant colours are going to be the greens, reds and golds, in designs that recall the Christmas tree, romantic snowflakes or more abstract patterns with elegant splashes or the more traditional checks that are becoming popular again. Remember the possibility of combining superimposed placemats and, above all, make sure the Christmas decoration of the table is there: candles, Christmas centrepieces, cotton napkins folded into the shape of a tree…