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Table Runners vs. Placemats: Should You Use Both?

Tried table runners or placemats? Discover whether you can combine the two for an instant dining room décor makeover or if you're better off with one.
Photo of Marie-Claire de Villiers
By Marie-Claire de Villiers
Nevena Radulović - Editor for Beija Flor
Reviewed by Nevena Radulović

Updated January 9, 2023.

Both table runners and placemats provide color, interest, and a sense of occasion to your dining room table, making your guests feel welcome and spoiled. But can these two items be combined for an even better effect?

The Table Runners vs. Placemats Debate: Why Use Any?

Even using a table runner or placemat alone will update your dining room look and provide more atmosphere than a plain table or a single tablecloth. Even if you match your napkins to your tablecloth for a more formal feel, tablecloths don't offer the sense of form and decoration that table runners do, nor the individual attention to each guest that placemats do.

Why Use a Table Runner

A table runner can unify centerpieces and add texture and warmth. According to your needs, you can choose various colors and textures—for instance, easy-to-clean vinyl table runners can be life-saving for big family dinners when everyone serves themselves from big bowls. Table runners can also be used across rather than lengthwise, somewhat "uniting" people sitting across from each other.

» Create the dinner table of your dreams with our wide variety of table runners

Why Use Placemats

Placemats fulfill a range of functions—you can use them to keep the table clean from spilled food, give guests the sense that they're important to you, add decoration to a neutral space, or create a special occasion or holiday theme for your dining room table in one quick, easy move.

» Bring your vision to life with our tasteful but practical placemats

How to Use Table Runners With Placemats

Table runners and placemats can be used together to create a truly captivating or striking look. Instead of matching them, try combining two complementary colors, matching either with a centerpiece, using a similar theme, or even a mismatched but united theme (mismatched florals, contemporary, or traditional).

Use Table Runners With Placemats for a Stylish Dining Room

If you're looking to combine table runners and placements for your dining room décor, browse our collections of designer placemats and table runners for a spark of inspiration.

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