My Mom’s Place Mat Tip May Be the Best Thing to Happen to Your Bedroom Decor

published May 26, 2024
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Credit: Erin Derby

Years ago, I thought the lace table runner and place mats that my mother had put in our guest room — runner on the dresser top and two matching mats on the small nightstands — were old-fashioned and fussy. After all, this was the same space where she had filled an empty corner with an antique wooden washstand, complete with a pitcher and basin, which seemed strange to me since there was a bathroom with a shower just across the hall. 

Fast-forward a few decades, though, and I’ve come to understand that, unlike that washstand, those table linens really earned their keep as furniture protectors from the stains and scratches things like water carafes, glasses, nail polish, charging cords, and the like can create at the bedside. Just looking at my own banged-up vintage nightstand could tell you that.

But I never expected to see my mother’s simple but practical idea on decorative display at the spring/summer 2024 preview for Matouk linens, one of the most luxe textile brands around. There, Matouk’s team had styled one of the brand’s circular Scallop Edge Placemats, which are sold in a set of four, atop a bedside table under a lamp. And you know what? With its fun contrast border and linen construction, this design detail looks supercute and modern in this context. It made me think: Maybe the best place for a dining room placement is actually in your bedroom on a nightstand.

Credit: Danielle Blundell

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying you should do away with using place mats on kitchen or dining tables. I’m just advocating bringing back the idea of using table linens as protectors in rooms where you maybe don’t do a ton of eating but enjoy the occasional drink. Think of a bedside place mat as a giant coaster alternative and a decorative opportunity to have some fun with color, texture, and even pattern. 

The round Matouk design looks especially chic on that drum style table, as shown here, but I could see using a circular mat on a square table, too. And don’t forget oval, rectangular, and square place mats exist as well, if you really want to consider all your options. You don’t have to go expensive, either. Plenty of place mats cost under $10.

Design should be fun, and little creative repurposes like this are among the best decorating ideas when you want to play around in a space that’s almost completely decorated. I know this trick isn’t for everyone — minimalists, you can keep your tiny coasters! — but I think my mom was onto something. I know I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for place mats that suit my nightstands. Because why not?

Buy: Matouk Scallop Edge Circle Placemats, Set of 4, $117

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: My Mom’s Place Mat Tip May Be the Best Thing to Happen to Your Bedroom Decor