• 1 The new pressed vinyl collection from Chilewich is really beautiful. We like these delicate crochet designs better than some of their previous, more utilitarian mats. These crochet mats are only $7 apiece at Burke Decor.
• 2 These fun and flashy round placemats are made from recycled potato chip bags. The bags are wrapped inside-out around dried grasses and then woven into the mats. Evidently the company that distributes these buys them directly from Nepalese villagers, and then uses the profits to fund humanitarian aid projects in the villages. Set of 6 for $120 from BTC Elements.
• 3 This basic PVC weave from CB2 is a good plain option for breaking out at breakfast or snack time. Several colors available for $2.95 apiece.
• 4 Velocity Art and Design carries an amazing selection of placemats, many of which are designed for practical everyday use. We love all of the designs from Modern-Twist, especially this "Birds 'n' Trees" pattern. Their mats are made from non-toxic silicone, and they're $17.
• 5 If you like the natural rattan look, this "Swimmingly" placemat from Anthropologie is a charming choice. $16 each.
• 6 Okay, so perhaps this is not the most affordable or practical choice, but it sure is purty. The Crosses Leather Placemat from Simplemente Bianco would be elegant with dishes of any style, and could be dressed up or down. $35 apiece from Shop Horne.
• 7 Birch veneer is trendy, but with good reason... it's a versatile look, and its smooth sheen would be a pretty complement to your dishes. These mats from NotNeutral have a cork backing and a lightweight plywood core under the birch veneer top. They're on sale right now from Velocity Art and Design, $28 for a set of four.
• 8 If you like the retro kitchen look, it might be fun to try vintage vinyl placemats from ebay. Just do a search with those words—"vintage vinyl placemats"—and you'll find a wealth of choices, like these woodland oval cuties, $10 for a set of 5.