Sunday, April 22, 2012

Out of the Box Uses for Placemats

Ann Sacks has some of the most beautiful tile out there in my opinion... and much of it can serve as a fantastic inspiration for out of the box thinking of using placemats & paint for a cheaper alternative. This particular one has got to be one of my absolute favorites!

For well over a year (maybe two!), I've been eyeing bamboo tile placemats readily available in large numbers at discount stores like Ross, T.J. Maxx, Homegoods, Marshalls, etc. and my mind just goes crazy with ideas! After Googling "bamboo tile placemats" it would appear that I am not the only one who sees huge potential for these things other than their intended use. The difference appears to be that I don't really want to disassemble them like others do. I like the fact that they are already in great shapes and patterns. My ideas are to use them like they are... just not necessarily on a table. And I've not just been eyeing bamboo tile mats, either. A great example is the one below that references the gorgeous Ann Sacks tile above.

The same dahlia shape as the Ann Sacks tile that can be used as a stencil, mould, or literal tile!
via Crate & Barrel

One of my favorites from my personal collection, except mine are a light natural bamboo color.
via West Elm

What I want to try is to use thin-set to literally tile with these and (depending on the tile pattern) insert some tile mosaic pieces (or anything!) for a pop of color or contrast, then grout and seal really well. You could also use them to "stamp" joint compound/cement mixture and then have a relief pattern to do with  as you like: leave plain for texture, paint or fill in with a contrasting element! These are just some inspiration pics to show you where I'm headed here:

Taishan Ivory Mosaic contemporary kitchen tile
White Onyx Mini Brick Tumbled modern kitchen tile
Noe Valley remodel modern kitchen
KitchenLab  kitchen
Cherry Hills Remodel modern kitchen
Unfortunately, due to such tight time restraints lately, I simply can't experiment with all the ideas that I get, but what I can do is share them with you and let you all do it for me! So, if you try one of my ideas, do me a favor: Send pictures of the finished product and I'll pick through to post some of my favorites. When time allows, this is one idea I plan to put to use in my own home and post after pics or even a tutorial of!

Back to the placemats. There are several different styles and colors out there. My round daisy tiled bamboo mats were actually bought for a totally different reason than for setting a table. They have such a great organic and rhythmic shape! The initial plan was to make wall art out of them, but the perfect spot hasn't presented itself yet and I haven't been able to bring myself to paint them like I'd originally planned. When placed on my dark stained dinning table, I was surprised to find I might just use them for what they were intended for! Miracles never cease:)

Doing a google search turned out lots of options and led me to expand beyond just bamboo tile. My mind just started reeling with possibilities with all of the following:

An example of some color and size options out there.
vis Skybluepink

Hello, organic penny tiles!
via West Elm

I'm not in love with the grid layout, but the color and size mean you could take this one apart to use the tiles individually.

Love this pattern. Would you believe it is at Walmart?! It looks like a West Elm product.

The ones that really catch my eye are the ones that don't  need to be disassembled like this one.
via Amazon

Another version of the daisy pattern via Crate & Barrel.

A nice brick pattern.

This one really caught my eye because it reminds me of an expensive travertine mosaic tile.
via Mrs. Lin's Kitchen

More size and color options with a bead detailing between.


Then I started looking at other types and colors of place mats or table runners, I found these beauties. My mind immediately sees a stencil, mould, stamp or wall art! What I'm looking at is form and size. Imagine adding color or using them en-mass :

This reminds me of the Dutch art that has been popular in recent years in all forms. Wouldn't be a great stencil on an accent wall?
via Crate & Barrel

These are cork and the seller on Etsy has all shapes and sizes.
via Etsy

This is a place mat and coaster set. I particularly like the coasters and immediately see 4" square tiles!

Hello wall stencil!

Another great stencil option.

The awesome thing about place mats is that most are approximately 12"x 24" so if you use them as a mosaic tile sheet, you get double the square footage (mosaic sheets are normally sold by the square foot)  at an already ridiculously low price (if you shop the discount stores and internet).

Last but not least, here is an example of using placemats as art. All these by Finn Style need is a frame!


Hang in a grid pattern behind a sofa or console and you have a fantastic modern piece of art:)

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