Could placemats have started with a cave woman using slabs of stone for her cavemen and cavekids? It makes sense that creating private place settings could discourage the family from clubbing each other over morsels of food. Well, whatever their origins, modern place mats are now mood makers, used in home decorating, and the true chameleons of the dining experience!
So, The VIRGINIA SHOPPER is conducting a study on what’s out there and how some folks are now decorating with placemats (hopefully minus clubs and the slabs of stone!).
A Matter of Choice – How Do You Use Placemats to Decorate Your Table? Please leave the VIRGINIA SHOPPER your comments on this o.k.?
“Placemats are today’s first choice for versatility in dining decor, and you’ll find them in the classiest homes!” ~The Virginia Shopper
Those unappreciated ugly old plastic mats in Gran’s attic have definitely “come a long way baby” because today’s versions are in stunning patterns, fine fabrics and sophisticated colors. They commemorate every season, suit any occasion, taste, hobby, or need. There are kitchen mats, collectables, mats with political messages, cartoons and comic strip heroes, exquisite representations of The Hunt, horses, and the elegance of the chase. And, there are round, rectangular, straw and wheat grass table mats; floral, stripe, paisley, leaf, map and beach themes – all in every color of the rainbow.
There are even place mats made slightly wider than others to easily accommodate silverware! A-HA! Now my fork will quit slipping off the edge!
Table Decorating Made Easy
My friend, Carol, is now hooked on a collection based on original designs from Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. The Naseau Vine in a beautiful black and white tracery pattern, was inspired by a lady’s 18th century French gown! Imagine? The original gown was made of hand-painted silk. Carol says the effect of candlelight, silver and crystal on that black and white design was dazzling and had her guests ooohing and aaahing. The mats are laminated, cork backed, and washable for easy care and long wear. And yep, you can still “swipe ‘em”clean! When she uses them she says she’s always surprised at how her table changes personality.
Then there are the gorgeous Furber Fruit placemats. They are also in the Colonial Williamsburg collection and are based on 18th century paintings by an English nurseryman. The VIRGINIA SHOPPER’S friends have used this pattern to add an exotic, informal flavor to table décor and love it that the history behind the mats helps to start friendly conversation.
For her birthday, I gave my Aunt Molly a set of Magnolia placemats with a dramatic pattern. The set includes matching coasters. She loves them! Taken from an important watercolor painting of a magnolia done by George Ebret in 1737, these lovely, vibrantly designed placemats and coasters are an easy way to make a big decorating statement. The vivid colors showcase a stunning magnolia – “the flower of the south”.
How do people decorate with placemats nowadays? Let me count the ways. There are as many ideas as there are patterns and some are so gorgeous I have even seen them framed to use as wall décor. The VIRGINIA SHOPPER is still collecting ideas and will share them with you at a later date. Meantime, think about using summer themed mats for outdoor entertaining or the vast array of available holiday inspired backgrounds and colors for special times. And don’t forget the everyday mood makers that make a difference to the family.
CONCLUSION: There is still a time and place to set the table with a crisp tablecloth, sterling silver cutlery and exquisite crystal. But placemats allow us to change our minds with our moods. So, it doesn’t matter if thousands of years ago, cave ladies started the trend with stone slabs for easy meals. The very first “once-upon-a-time” placemat has evolved into the ultimate tool in modern table decorating.
The VIRGINIA SHOPPER’S RECOMMENDATION: Placemats have lasted and lasted through the ages and have earned first place award for versatility, creative use, and easy care decorating. Plan to share your next meal caveman style with a modern twist!
‘TIL WE MEET AGAIN . . . THE VIRGINIA SHOPPER