If you're thinking of adding a palette of cool colors to your kitchen, consider a set of blue willow placemats. This widely recognizable pattern adds an interesting and artistic vibe to any home.
About the Blue Willow Pattern
The willow pattern at its most basic can be found in any number of colors, although blue is by far the most common. No two are exactly alike, but all of them feature a design borne of Asian inspiration; traditionally, the blue willow pattern includes a tea house, a willow tree, a fence, two flying birds, and three people walking over a bridge.
Dating back hundreds of years, the pattern has long been favored by designers for the distinctive touch it brings to china. It is most commonly seen on elegant dishes, platters and bowls, to name but a few. It isn't merely relegated to fancy occasions, though; on the contrary, the blue willow pattern is commonly found in dining areas all over the world at any time of day. Reasonably priced dinnerware sets depicting this timeless design are widely available.
Details of Blue Willow Placemats
Placemats decorated with the blue willow pattern are quite popular among enthusiasts of the design. These placemats are available at a variety of price points, and can be found everywhere from antique stores and eBay to department stores and specialty home stores. It can take some searching to find them, though. The placemats vary in everything from pattern to material, so it is a good idea to inspect the item thoroughly to ensure that it will work well in your dining space.
A high-quality placemat is heat resistant and has a laminated surface to protect it from everyday wear and tear. This is especially important if you plan to use the placemat for its functional purpose to protect your table.
Since blue willow is such an eye-catching pattern, though, many people choose to use it only for decorative purposes. If this is your preference, you might find that a vintage placemat (usually something found in an antique store or at an auction) is your best bet. These essentially serve as display pieces, and can look quite elegant even if placed inside a glass cabinet.
Decorating with Blue Willow
A set of decorative placemats can make a big difference in the appearance of your dining space. For example, if the area is relatively neutral in color, a vibrant placemat will shake things up without overpowering the rest of the room. Similarly, a low-key placemat can soften a heavily decorated area.
Blue willow placemats fall somewhere in between these two decorating options. Although the pattern is quite rich and enigmatic, it is not overtly colorful or overwhelming. In fact, many collectors choose to display their blue willow pieces for their calming, almost serene effect on a room. The shade of blue is quite versatile, too, so its presence is welcome in any dining area, whether the table is made of oak, cherry or any other type of material.
Despite its versatility, the blue willow pattern does appear frequently in kitchens that favor country or Southern inspiration for its décor. The look is warm and inviting, and as such may not fit in as well in a modern kitchen. Experimenting with different types of blue willow placemats might make it possible, though.
Where to Purchase
Since they are so classic, blue willow items are generally easy to find at any time of the year. Placemats are less common than other items, like plates and tablecloths, but with a bit of shopping, you can also find these. A few shopping places to visit:
- Dransfield & Ross: This company specializes in bedding, tabletop and related accessories, and is one of the few high-end designers that carries a placemat adorned with a blue willow pattern. Called the "Willow Ware Placemat", this striking round piece measures 16 inches in diameter and is available at a variety of stores. Check the company's locator for details.
- eBay: For the most immediate and vast selection of placemats, search here. This veritable treasure box of virtually everything is a gold mine for blue willow collectors. A search for placemats yields several sets, as well as combination kits that include matching coasters. Check back often for new merchandise.
- Etsy: The online home to handmade and vintage goods is another great place to shop for all kinds of blue willow décor for your kitchen and dining room. Check back often for classic placemats in excellent condition.
Complete Your Look
Whether you're new to the blue willow pattern or just want to add to your collection, a placemat might be just what you need to complete the look of your home dining space. It's a worthwhile investment that will last a lifetime, so shop carefully and take good care of your purchase.