|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2010)|
A placemat or table mat is a protective table pad usually made of paper, plastic or cloth for restaurants and households. Asian-style placemats may feature thin slats of bamboo or colourful beads. The term is derived from the mat being put at a person's "place" (chair) at a table.
Their primary function is to protect the dinner table from water marks, food stains or heat damage. They also serve as decoration, especially placemats made from lace or silk. In restaurants they can be used to advertise menu items, specials, local businesses and/or games for children.
Higher end placemats, made from vinyl or leather, are used by hotels and organizations for meetings as they provide a writing surface, and give an area on which to lean comfortably and to place objects on the table with minimal noise during meetings.
Contemporary opinion on the usefulness of placemats is mixed. Cloth placemats are commonly considered to be unnecessary and require excessive upkeep - compared to the surface of a table which can be easily cleaned, a stained placemat must be run through the washer and drier before it can be used again. Moreover, paper and plastic placemats have drawn criticism on environmental and aesthetic grounds.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Placemats.|
- Beverage coaster
- The Dinner Party – an artwork depicting unique dinner place settings for a group of notable women from history.
- USHistory.org – Weaving a Placemat
|This article about furniture or furnishing is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|