How to Measure Tables for Placemats


Placemats not only protect your table from crumbs and spills, but they lend more color and a decorative touch to your dining area. Placemats usually come in two standard sizes: 18 inches by 12 inches or 16 inches by 14 inches. Making placemats is a relatively simple process, but you'll need to know that the placemats will fit your table and the size of your dishes. Determining the size of placemats for a table doesn't require special tools, but you might need someone to help you stretch a tape measure from one side of a table to the other.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Dishes
  • Measure the length or diameter of your table.

  • Divide the length of your table in inches by 36 to determine how many people can fit on one side of the table and how many placemats you will need. For example, if a table is 6 feet long -- or 72 inches -- you could comfortably fit two people on each side of the table. Add two more people to this number, for those sitting at the ends of the table, to determine that at least six people can fit comfortably at a 6-foot long table. If your guests and placemats are on the small size, you might be able to fit up to 10 people at a 6-foot long table, according to some party rental equipment companies.

  • Space plates about 2 feet apart from each other on the table to allow ample elbowroom for diners.

  • Test the size for your placemats by cutting out pieces of paper to 18 inches by 12 inches or 16 inches by 14 inches. Place the cut pieces of paper 1 inch from the edges of the table at each place setting.

  • Set dishes on the mock placemats to review the proportion of the placemat to the dishes. For example, overly large dinnerware on a large table will look better with large placemats. Conversely, smaller dishes on a smaller table will look better with smaller placemats. Add or take away the number of placemats on the table until you are sure your will have enough elbowroom while still seating the most guests as possible.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult a chart for determining how many people will fit comfortably around round tables. For example, 36-inch round tables will comfortably fit two to four people; 72-inch round tables will comfortably seat eight to 10 people.
  • Consider using wedge-shaped placemats, or placemats with mitered edges, on round tables. Large rectangular placemats might overlap on smaller round tables. Oval placemats are the same basic size as rectangular placemats, except they have rounded edges.
  • When making placemats, add an extra inch to the total size to account for a 1/2-inch hem around the placemat. For example, if you want a finished placemat to measure 16 inches by 14 inches, cut out fabric measuring 17 inches by 15 inches instead.

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