Mary Berry's secret to an effortless and stylish table setting - it makes so much sense

The queen of cakes knows how to host a dinner party, and there is one type of placemat she'll always choose

Mary in her kitchen standing in front of her countertop
(Image credit: Future PLC / Carolyn Barber)

One of the best outcomes of lockdown has to be the re-emergence of home entertaining. If you're looking to host the perfect dinner party, you're going to need some versatile placemats to complement your dining room ideas, and we've got a tip from the cooking queen herself, Mary Berry, on the best table mats to choose from. 

When it comes to placemats, the feature Mary Berry always pays close attention to is the shape. Forget oblong or oval, Mary Berry recommends opting for a round mat. 

'I find that a round mat is much easier to lay on a round table, or any table,' she told Ideal Home when we spoke to her for our Home Truths magazine feature. 

Mary in her kitchen standing in front of her countertop

(Image credit: Mary Berry at Home collection)

Mary talks from experience as she was gifted oblong placemats when she was first married. 'I wanted round ones,' she confesses. 'Round ones are much easier they take up less room in the drawer.'

As soon as Mary shared her table mat preference the Ideal Home team was struck by how right she was. After a quick poll we quickly realised nearly all of us owned round placemats and agreed that they were much easier to work with when creating an effortless table setting. 

Personally, I am a fan of a round woven placemat and have John Lewis round jute placemats at home. Not only are they versatile for whether I'm squeezing two guests or six onto a table, but I also like how they add an extra shape and dimension to my rectangular dinner table. 

a table set with white plates, glasses and springs of eucalyptus

(Image credit: Mary Berry at Home collection)

When it comes to her round placemats, Mary Berry uses quilted ones from her own Mary Berry Signature collection. 'They're quilted which means it cuts down on ironing,' she says. 'At the end of the week, I just look for which ones need washing, and they wash like a dream.'

'They're nice and thick, so if you put a hot plate on them you don't have to put another mat underneath,' she adds.  

If you've been convinced to embrace circular placemats here are three of our timeless favourites that will elevate any dinner table.

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.