Placemat Dimensions

pmd2photo courtesy of Pete Souza http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Whitehouseplate.jpgPlacemats have typically come in the standard dimensions of 12 to 14 inches by 16 inches to 20 inches. Since dining place settings are now becoming larger and come in different shapes, here are some suggestions for determining the correct sized placemat to accommodate your dining table and place settings. If possible, consider sewing your own placemats or having custom placemats made to fit your dishes and table perfectly.

1) Using large pieces of paper, create identical templates to mock up your placemat size. Create one template per person you wish to seat at your table. You may want to create the templates a little larger than you expect and use a paper cutter to trim all of the paper templates at the same time if a reduction is needed.

2) Set out one paper placemat template per place setting on top of your dining table. Make sure there is a minimum of 4 inches space between all of the placemats. Be especially mindful of how the placemats align on the ends of your table. Trim all of the paper placemat templates to the correct width to accommodate your guests and the table size.

3) Set out a place setting with a dinner plate (including a charger if you wish), silverware, a napkin, and a drinking glass to see how the placemat template accommodates all of your dinnerware. Make sure your drinking glass is not teetering off the edge of the placemat and your silverware is not hidden under the rim of your dinner plate or charger. You may wish to have a separate coaster for your drinking glasses that is not part of the placemat. There should be approximately the same amount of placemat showing on the top and bottom and the left and right when the plate, charger, and silverware are set on top of the placemat.

4) Once you have determined the size of your paper template that works best for your table and place settings, you can now purchase or make placemats in that dimension. If your placemats are too small to accommodate your dinnerware after step 2, you may want to consider using a smaller dimension between the placemats, using smaller dinnerware, having fewer guests at your dinner table, or using a tablecloth instead of placemats. If sewing your own placemats, consider making them reversible with one fabric on one side and a different fabric on the other side.  You can have an everyday print on one side and perhaps a holiday print on the other side.  Consider making or buying one or two extra placemats in case one gets stained or damaged.

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