Should You Use Tablecloths and Placemats On A Daily Basis?

Bowls full of boiling broth and food can be hot enough to ruin the finish on your table.

To protect it, you might add a tablecloth or several placemats.

Placemats in particular can be used to show the diners where to sit. However, both serve as barriers between spills and the table.

Should You Use Tablecloths And Placemats Daily?

It depends as there’s no rule for it. You probably don’t need to because it would be monotonous (and you have numerous options, more on them later). Also, while these items help protect tables from spills, you will quickly realize that they are near ineffective (especially placemats) against large spills, creating the need to match them with different dishes.

Seven Reasons Why YOU SHOULDN’T Utilize Tablecloths And Placemats On A Daily Basis

Let’s begin with reasons why you may not use them daily:

1. Not All Foods Pose A Threat To Your Table

For breakfast consisting of, say, bacon, some bread, and tea, you probably don’t need tablecloths or placements or both.

That’s because such foods are seldom hot enough to ruin the finish.

Furthermore, it’s a little easier to wipe off the tiny bits of bread and tea than pools of boiling soup normally seen on the dinner table.

So, the less hot or lightweight your food is, the less likely you will need to protect the surface of the table.

2. Often, Tablecloths And Placemats Go With Occasions

Not every day is Christmas. Items meant for thanksgiving can only be used on that occasion, once in a year.

While events like weddings, parties, and anniversaries almost always feature tables with these placements, they span mere hours.

Once the event wraps up, the theme-specific items will have to be removed so that they don’t look out of place.

3. Unless You Care About Elegance And Beauty, They’re Unnecessary

If you want your table and room to look a certain way every time you gather for a meal, then go ahead and use these items daily.

But that’s not how most people gather for meals.

Unless you are hosting several guests or holding a party, you probably won’t pay a lot of attention to the beauty of the room.

4. Kids And Tablecloths Don’t Mix

Another reason why you shouldn’t use tablecloths, and even placemats, daily, is the presence of kids at home.

These items coexist better with adults who wouldn’t pull them off erratically for no good reason.

With kids, regular use of these items can mean regular cleaning – extra cleaning, actually.

5. Too Many Alternatives

Why put a tablecloth or placemat on the table every single day of your life when you can settle for so many other better alternatives?

To break the monotony, here are some of the alternatives you might go for:

  • Wrapping papers
  • Curtains
  • Kraft papers
  • Table runners
  • Fitted sheets
  • Rustic wooden board
  • Scarf
  • Rugs
  • Blankets
  • Burlaps

Rustic wooden boards, for instance, are a great choice whether you want to cover a small part or the whole table.

They also come in more than one color and are sturdier than most other options.

Better yet, you can go for one with the same color as your table.

If you are looking for an easily disposable alternative to your tablecloth/placemats, choose wrapping paper.

Not only are they dirt cheap, but can also be disposed of immediately after an informal party or rolled in size and stored somewhere.

Note that by “blankets” we mean the picnic-type blanket.

Also, you are free to switch tablecloths with placemats and vice versa–there’s no way you’d use both at the same time, daily.

6. Can Depend On The Type Of Table

What type of table do you have at home?

Plastic tables should be covered most of the time because they are less appealing without a tablecloth on them.

However, beautiful wooden tables don’t really need to be accompanied by these add-ons during every meal.

This might sound counterintuitive (we mentioned earlier how these items improve the appearance of the table), but if the table features a beautiful finish, you’d rather leave it bare just to admire it than cover it with a tablecloth.

7. Your Table Is Multi-Purpose And You Want Maximum Flexibility

Do you plan to use the same table for drawing, ironing, dining, and lots of other activities daily?

In that case, it would be bothersome to set it and remove the add-ons now and then.

So you’d do away with tablecloths and placemats to get the flexibility you deserve.

It Can Be A “Yes” In These Situations

You may use tablecloths and or tablemats daily in these situations:

1. If It’s A Festive Season

Thanksgiving preparations can start about a week to the date.

The Christmas festive season lasts several weeks.

These are probably the longest and biggest holidays for most people in North America.

Rather than set up the table afresh every day, you will want the tablespace to remain the same, complete with a relevant tablecloth or tablemats.

Another reason is that you are more likely to dine in large groups of people during these holidays than at any other time of the year.

That’s when you need to protect your table most because the tables will be used more often by many people.

2. If You Want To Insulate Your Table So Bad

Table noise isn’t normally much of an issue.

However, you may have realized that rooms are quieter with insulated tables than without.

So, not only do tablecloths prevent spills, but deliver insulating properties as well.

Having them in place every mealtime is the best way to cut the noise from your clanking silverware and glasses.

3. If You Want To Boost The Lifespan Of The Table, Cheaply

We mentioned several alternatives to tablecloths and placemats but most of them come with exorbitant price tags.

Yet tables like those made from glass or plastic must be protected from scratches and heat at all times.

In such a situation, it would be prudent to accompany every meal with placemats or tablecloths.

4. You Want The Table Space To Have A Personality, Everyday

As mentioned at the start, the two items are a must-have for furnishing or boosting the look of your tablespace.

The appearance of the table can in turn influence the look of the rest of the room.

So, if you want the room to always have a personality or color, and wouldn’t compromise on it, go ahead and accompany all your meals with these items.

5. If You Can Switch Between Different Types

There are so many types of placemats out there. If you can buy a bunch and assign one for each day of the week or occasion, then well and good.

For example, you can go for plastic placemats, wood placemats, cork, jute, cotton, velvet, etc. and that’s before you choose based on size and texture.

Tablecloths come in different colors and styles as well – buy several and use each on certain occasions.


To summarize everything, whether or not you should use placemats and tablecloths daily depends on an array of factors including how you feel about it.

The decision can be reached on a case-by-case basis as there’s no universal rule for it.